Arusha, November 25th, 2000 (FH) – Former Rwandan politician and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza has objected to certain phrases used in a Hirondelle feature article of November 22nd, and says he has "not been associated with any_`genocide` anywhere". In a message to Hirondelle demanding right of reply, Barayagwiza objects first to the statement that he was "advisor to the interim government that presided over the genocide".

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He says he is "not aware of any judgement which declared that the interim government has presided over any `genocide" and that such allegations should not be published as the truth "as far as the Prosecutor has not proven them before an independent and impartial tribunal". Barayagwiza was a founder member of the hardline Hutu CDR party and on the steering committee of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), which has been widely accused of inciting the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He is boycotting his joint trial with two other genocide suspects linked to so-called hate media in Rwanda, saying that the ICTR is neither independent nor impartial. He says he is willing to be tried by any court that meets these criteria. He has also ordered his lawyers to boycott his trial. In his message to Hirondelle, Barayagwiza also says it is not correct to write that he was a policy advisor to the Rwandan interim government, "as I have never been advisor to any government in Rwanda". "Since 1977, I occupied different posts of low rank, as a professional staff, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," he writes. "I then was appointed as Director (general) of political affairs from 1982 to 1987 and from 1990 to 1994 in the same Ministry". The detainee also takes issue with Hirondelle’s statement that he was an "alleged master manipulator" and requests more information about "the substance, the origin and the author of those allegations". Presenting the case at the start of the media trial on October 23rd, ICTR Deputy Prosecutor Bernard Muna of Cameroon described Barayagwiza as a "master manipulator of the truth" and someone who had helped "put a gloss" for the international community on what was really happening during the Rwandan genocide. In November 1999, the ICTR Appeals Court ordered Barayagwiza’s release on the grounds that his rights were continually violated during initial detention and transfer to Arusha, but the Court reversed its decision after the Rwandan government suspended its cooperation with the Tribunal and the Prosecutor presented "new facts". Barayagwiza also complains that two of his judges met in Kigali in August with the current Rwandan president, Paul Kagame. JC/PHD/FH (ME%1125e)