Arusha, March 26, 2001(FH) – The trial of three genocide suspects linkedto "hate media" in Rwanda was on Monday adjourned to April 4th before theInternational Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The adjournment cameafter the testimony in chief of a fifteenth prosecution witness, Paris-basedRwandan historian José Kagabo, who will be cross-examined when the trialresumes.

1 min 42Approximate reading time

The trial groups Hassan Ngeze, former editor of newspaper Kangura,Ferdinand Nahimana, ex-director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines(RTLM), and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and board member ofRTLM. The charges against them include genocide, incitement to genocide andcrimes against humanity. Kagabo is testifying against Nahimana who was himself a historian, aprofessor at the national university of Rwanda and director of state-ownedmedia organisation ORINFOR before the creation of RTLM. ORINFOR was (andstill is) in charge of managing all state-owned media including RadioRwanda. Kagabo told the court that as director of ORINFOR, Nahimana "had the rankof a minister. He participated in cabinet meetings. He could speak for thegovernment. He had the power of censorship". Asked why Nahimana was dismissed from ORINFOR, Kagabo said that he had beenaccused, in particular, of "having authorized the broadcast of a communiquéfrom the military committee in 1991 and a communiqué which incited theBugesera massacres [of Tutsis in 1992]". The witness said Nahimana wasconsidered as "an inciter of hatred on the airwaves of national radio. People managed to get him removed because of that". Kagabo said Nahimana had joined the "extremist camp" from the age of 23,when he was still a student, and that he had joined "the groups of armedextremists, the comité de salut public [national salvation committee]" inButare, southern Rwanda, in 1973. The national salvation committee, according to witnesses at the time, drewup lists of Tutsis who were then removed from positions in schools,universities and public sector employment. The witness described Nahimana as the "ideologue of extremism". He said theaccused had, in February 1993, "advocated and theorized on the idea of civildefence forces, which grew into the militia". Kagabo said Nahimana had accused him personally (the witness) of being an"enemy of the state" during a press conference in Paris, just after theOctober 1990 attack on Rwanda by the Tutsi guerrilla Rwandan Patriotic Front[RPF – now in power in Kigali]. During that press conference, Kagabo toldthe court, "Nahimana defended the official government position". The prosecution in this case is due to finish bringing its witnesses inJuly. Prosecutor William Egbe of Cameroon said that a further 25 witnesseswould testify. They include Italo-Belgian former RTLM presenter GeorgesRuggiu, who pleaded guilty to inciting genocide and was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment by the ICTR. Another former RTLM journalist, ValérieBemeriki, is in prison in Rwanda. Most of the other people associated withRTLM are now assumed to be dead. AT/JC/FH (ME_0326e)