Arusha, March 12, 2001(FH) The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday granted a defence request to have identity protection measures lifted for a prosecution witness. The defence team for former "hate radio" director Ferdinand Nahimana argued that the twelfth prosecution witness in the so-called Media Trial should not be protected because he is a public figure in Rwanda.

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Adrien Rangira is a serving member of parliament for the Union Démocratique du Peuple Rwandais party. He was formerly a journalist with the magazines "Kanguka" and "Le Flambeau". The court recently turned down a similar defence request that protection be lifted for Witness AGR, the seventh prosecution witness in the trial. Nahimana’s defence team also pointed out that the court had granted witness protection measures in 1997, whereas Rangira had not made his written statement to ICTR investigators until afterwards, and that the measures were supposed to be put in place on an individual basis. Protected witnesses are referred to only by combinations of letters assigned to them, and are screened from the public so only those in court can see them. This trial groups three suspects accused of having used the media in Rwanda to fuel the 1994 genocide. The three are: Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a founder of the CDR party and of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM); Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the Kangura newspaper; and Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of RTLM. The three are charged with several counts of genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. They have pleaded not guilty. The case is being heard by Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. JC/PHD/FH (ME0312E)