Arusha, November 8th, 2000 (FH) - A witness on Wednesday accused the former director of Rwandan hate-radio RTLM of personally inciting massacres of Tutsis, in testimony to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The third prosecution witness, dubbed AEN to protect his identity, said that Ferdinand Nahimana had done so during meetings in Ruhengeri prefecture, northwest Rwanda, on March 29th and April 12th, 1994, and that massacres had subsequently occurred in the areas concerned.

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But Nahimana's British co-counsel Diana Ellis accused the witness of lying. The defence intends to present an alibi argument, including for the April 12th date. Witness AEN said he was a Hutu member of the pro-Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) who would attend meetings at the time "to know what decisions were made". He would then pass on the information to Tutsis and the RPF, he said. AEN's testimony continued Thursday in the joint trial of Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, who was a politician and founder of the RTLM radio, and former Kangura newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze. Barayagwiza defence situation still unclearBarayagwiza has been boycotting the trial since it started on October 23rd and has instructed his lawyers, Carmelle Marchessault of Canada and David Danielson of the US, to do the same. However, the court denied the lawyers' requests to leave the courtroom and then to withdraw from the case. Danielson has said he "simply cannot go forward and offer a defence against his [Barayagwiza's] explicit instructions", while Marchessault is awaiting instructions from her Bar. But in a statement Wednesday, Barayagwiza said that "whatever Madame Carmelle Marchessault's final decision is, I do not intend to be represented in this trial which I consider a parody of justice, as the ICTR is neither independent nor impartial". Barayagwiza claims that the Tribunal is manipulated by the current regime in Kigali. The ICTR Appeals Court last November ordered him released on the grounds that his rights had been repeatedly violated during his initial detention in Cameroon and his transfer to the ICTR prison in Arusha, Tanzania. Rwanda reacted by suspending cooperation with the Tribunal. The Appeals Court revised its decision in March this year, after the Prosecutor presented "new facts". If the suspect's lawyers resign, the ICTR has suggested that it may appoint other counsel in the interests of justice. Barayagwiza says that "any counsel designated 'in the interests of justice' should first of all seek my immediate release, if he really thinks he is working for justice". In a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) dated November 7th, Barayagwiza asked to be recognized as a political prisoner. The ICRC has not yet responded. AT/JC/PHD/FH (ME%1108E)