Arusha, February, 13, 2001 (FH) - Protected witness AAM, testifying beforethe International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday denieddefence allegations that he gave incriminating testimony against threegenocide suspects because he was biased against Hutus. Witness AAM is the sixth prosecution witness in the so-called Media Trial.

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This trial groups three suspects accused of having used the media in Rwandato fuel the 1994 genocide. The three are; Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a founderof the CDR party and of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM);Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the Kangura newspaper; and FerdinandNahimana, former director of RTLM. The three are charged with severalcounts of genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, complicity ingenocide and crimes against humanity. They have pleaded not guilty. Witness AAM appeared in court for the second day to answer questions fromlawyers of Ngeze and Nahimana. The witness, a 42-year-old Tusti told thecourt that he had fled Rwanda to former Zaire in 1973 due to persecution ofTutsis by the then regime. He said he returned to Rwanda in 1980. AAM saidhe and his family endured a lot of suffering during this period. Ngeze’s lawyer, John Floyd of the US, told the court that witness AAM hadfrom this mistreatment of the Tutsis developed a bias against Hutus. Floydsaid this had influenced AAM to come and testify against Ngeze. "Are yougoing to tell this court that you saw your mother cry, your friends die andyour childhood taken away […] and you are not biased against Hutus?" Floyddemanded from the witness. The witness denied this and said his family had close ties with Hutus andhad even made blood covenants (Rwandan ceremony where close friends drinkeach other’s blood as a symbol of eternal friendship) with various Hutufriends. He further told the court that three of his brothers hadmarried Hutu women and his three sisters had married Hutus. On Monday, AAM told the court that he had seen Ngeze participate in lootingof property belonging to Tutsis, and heard him calling at the same time forthe extermination of the Tutsis. He also said Ngeze had gathered Hutuyouths and taken them for military training. AAM said that Barayagwiza had participated in many meetings of the CDRparty, including a rally where he warned Tutsis not to complain that theywere being persecuted. Barayagwiza, according to AAM, told the Tutsis that"any complaint would lead to your extermination and I should remind youthat we have the capacity to do it". Cross-examination of witness AAM will resume on Thursday after a one-dayadjournment to allow Barayagwiza’s new court-appointed lawyer, GiacomoBarletta Caldarera of Italy time to acquaint himself with the case. The case is being heard by Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed ofJudges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norwayand Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardena of Sri Lanka. GG/JC/FH (ME_0213e)