Arusha, March 19, 2001(FH) - Former newspaper editor and genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze ordered the assassination of a Tutsi in Gisenyi, northern Rwanda, in 1994, a prosecution witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday. Ngeze, the former director and editor of "Kangura" newspaper, is on trial with two other suspects linked to "hate media" in Rwanda.

1 min 10Approximate reading time

They are Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and RTLM board member. The thirteenth prosecution witness, a Hutu man dubbed "AAY" to protect his identity, said Ngeze had ordered the murder of a Tutsi named Modeste Tabaro on April 21st, 1994 in Gisenyi town. Tabaro, he told the court, was a member of the opposition Liberal Party, which was Tutsi-dominated. AAY said Tabaro was killed by Ngeze’s bodyguard, a man named Kananura who was also a communal policeman. "I think that Kananura fired on Ngeze’s orders," AAY told the court. He said Tabaro had asked Ngeze that if his death was inevitable he should be shot rather than hacked with a machete. The witness also added that Ngeze was wearing a military uniform. He said the accused could have saved Tabaro if he had wanted to. During cross-examination, Ngeze’s US lawyer John Floyd revealed that the witness had been sentenced for counterfeiting activities. AAY admitted to having been convicted of this and jailed in Ruhengeri for "three years and two months". Floyd had previously suggested that the witness’s testimony was based on hearsay and was not true. The Media Trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. AAY’s testimony continues Tuesday with further questions from the prosecution and defence. AT/JC/FH (ME_0319E)