Arusha, October 23rd, 2000 (FH) - The defence counsel for the former editor of extremist Rwandan newspaper Kangura on Monday complained that International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) translations of Kangura articles were incomplete and unfair to his client. The suspect, Hassan Ngeze, remained outside the courtroom to protest this perceived unfairness, as the first day of his trial came to a close.

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Ngeze is being tried with two other suspects linked to so-called hate-media which incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The other suspects on trial are Ferdinand Nahimana, who was director of the radio station Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, who was political advisor to the former government and a founder member of RTLM. Barayagwiza said he was boycotting the whole trial because it would not be fair. Ngeze's lawyer, John Floyd of the United States, complained that ICTR translations from Kangura into English and French violated "the principle of completeness", and asked the court to revisit the issue. He said it would be unfair for these translations to be used as prosecution evidence because "there are sentences missing, there are paragraphs taken out", and passages appearing out of context. "I have a client who doesn't want to come in here because he feels it is so fundamentally unfair," Floyd continued. "At the very least they should do the whole article, rather than a sentence here, a sentence there. " He said he did not understand that the burden on the Tribunal Registry was any excuse. "Even the Office of the Prosecutor is not objecting to what I'm asking for," Ngeze's counsel said. However, Deputy Prosecutor Bernard Muna told the court he was "at a loss" to know what Floyd meant by this statement, and that "we have taken the bits [of Kangura] we think most relevant". It was not necessary, Muna continued, "to translate the beer ads". "We are not saying everything in Kangura including the beer ads is incitement," he told the court. "We've translated the passages we think are most incriminating. Evidently it would be luxury to get all of the Kangura issues translated, but I don't think the Tribunal has the resources. " Muna also pointed out that Ngeze speaks Kinyarwanda, the source language, and French, so could point out to the court if things had been mistranslated or taken out of context. Presiding judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa said the court had already ruled on the issue, following a motion from Floyd, but that the lawyer should "come and see me regarding the translation of the whole article, so that we can have a meeting with the Registry on the costs of covering it. "Should Barayagwiza be represented?Barayagwiza's Canadian counsel Carmelle Marchessault told the court that her client had reaffirmed his decision to boycott the trial and ask his lawyers to do the same. The defence said Barayagwiza's decision was "permanent and irrevocable". Judge Pillay then asked how they saw their role, if they also were supposed to stay away from the trial. Marchessault replied that her duty was "to follow my client's instructions", while co-counsel David Danielson of the United States gave a similar answer. Pillay pointed out that the lawyers were being paid by the ICTR, and that if they were not in court, the lawyers might risk incurring sanctions. Marchessault replied that, under the ICTR Statute, a detainee nevertheless had a right to a lawyer from the point he or she entered Tribunal custody, and reiterated that her professional obligation was to follow Barayagwiza's instructions. Asked for his opinion, Ngeze's lawyer said that different legal systems had adopted different positions on this issue, and that whatever position the court took would "set a precedent". He also said that if Barayagwiza and his defence team went ahead with the boycott, this could put the other detainees in a difficult position. Pillay said the court felt it "needed more time" to study the documents submitted by Barayagwiza in defence of his decision. These include a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan plus a 67-page document dated October 5th and entitled "International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Impossible Justice. The accused argues that the ICTR is manipulated by the current Rwandan government and that it will not give him a fair trial. He refers to the Appeals Court decision of last November which ordered his release on the grounds that his rights had been repeatedly violated during his initial detention and his transfer to Arusha. That caused the Kigali government to suspend cooperation with the Tribunal. The Appeals Court subsequently revised its decision after the Prosecutor presented "new facts". "I lost any lingering hope I had for a fair trial when two of the three judges (Pillay and Mose) in my case travelled to Rwanda last month to visit Kagame [Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda]. " Barayagwiza said he was therefore "unwilling to participate in the trial in any way". Ngeze, Barayagwiza and Nahimana are charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. Barayagwiza also faces two charges of seriously violating the Geneva Conventions on war crimes. Prosecution witnesses are expected to begin testifying in the trial on Tuesday. JC/FH (ME%1023g)