Arusha, February 27, 2001(FH) The cross-questioning of prosecution witnesses was one of the points discussed in Kigali between an International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) delegation and the Rwandan Justice Minister, Radio Rwanda reported on Tuesday. The outgoing Registrar of the ICTR, Dr.

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Agwu Okali of Nigeria, and his successor, Adama Dieng of Senegal, on Monday started a three-day visit to Kigali where they have been holding meetings, notably with Justice Jean de Dieu Mucyo. "In particular, we discussed the question of witnesses and their protection," Mucyo said in an interview on state-owned Radio Rwanda. "It would seem that there is unequal treatment of prosecution and defence witnesses. But in the last few days, there has also been a rather extraordinary incident. There has been a kind of harassment of witnesses by defence lawyers. "Last week, the seventh prosecution witness in the so-called Media Trial engaged in a heated exchange with a defence lawyer, where both men went as far as calling the other "stupid". The Tribunal ordered the witness not to speak to anyone about his testimony. "We were told that that is how witnesses need to be cross-questioned," said Mucyo, who was speaking in the Rwandan language Kinyarwanda. "If they treat people like that, we would like to know how we, for our part, are supposed to treat them. "On Tuesday, the American lawyer for former Kangura newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze took certain precautions before cross-questioning the eighth prosecution witness in the trial. He told the witness it was not his intention to insult or annoy, and asked him to please answer all the questions. Presiding judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa explained to the witness, at Floyd’s request, that it is the duty of a defence lawyer to put questions, and that these questions were of interest to the court. She asked the witness to answer as clearly and concisely as possible. The defence had accused the previous witness of dodging questions or not answering them properly. Ngeze is co-accused in the Media Trial with Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of "hate radio" RTLM, and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and RTLM board member. Rwandan Justice Minister Mucyo said he had also discussed with the ICTR delegation problems related to Tribunal recruitment of Rwandan personnel, detainees’ access to Internet websites and the issue of compensation for genocide victims. Mucyo said the Rwandan government would remain in contact with ICTR officials to try to resolve such problems. AT/JC/PHD/FH (ME_0227f)