Arusha, February 5, 2001(FH) The trial of three genocide suspects linked to so-called hate media resumed Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), with two of the accused boycotting the hearing. Judges said they needed more time to study two important defence motions, as they had been served with some of the papers only Monday morning.

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The trial continued with the testimony of a fourth prosecution witness. The case involves three men linked to media which allegedly incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They are: Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of radio station RTLM; Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and founder member of RTLM; and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of newspaper Kangura. The trial opened on October 23rd, but Barayagwiza has been boycotting it on grounds that the ICTR is a puppet of the “dicatatorial anti-Hutu regime in Kigali” and that the trial will not be fair. A second accused, Hassan Ngeze, also boycotted the courtroom on Monday. His lawyer has submitted a motion to have all charges against Ngeze dismissed on the grounds that his rights have been grossly violated. Barayagwiza maintains boycottIn a “press release” dated February 5th, Barayagwiza said that “the conditions of injustice which persist within the ICTR oblige me to maintain my decision not to support the current travesty of justice, and not to be present or to be represented at the so-called Media Trial. I maintain my decision to withdraw any mandate of representation to this trial from my Counsels. They must respect my instructions on this subject. ”Barayagwiza’s lawyers were expected to present a motion to the court Monday morning, asking to withdraw from the case. However, the judges said they needed more time, and hoped to return to the issue later in the day. Canadian lawyer Carmelle Marchessault argued that the issue must be dealt with urgently, as she no longer had a mandate to be in court. Presiding Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa told her to sit down, as she had been ordered. Barayagwiza’s American co-counsel David Danielson was not in court. He had already submitted a motion requesting the court’s leave to withdraw from the case. Also pending is Ngeze’s motion seeking to have all charges against him dismissed on grounds that his rights have been grossly violated. He refers to a search of his prison cell by UN security on January 10th, in which he claims vital documents were seized, copied or destroyed. The ICTR says this is not true. It says the search was ordered after learning that photos taken inside the UN prison had been posted on Ngeze’s website. Ngeze is also demanding that all 71 issues of Kangura be translated in their entirety into French and English. Kangura published mainly in the Rwandan language, kinyarwanda. The motion also says that the prosecution has not complied with a court order to return to Ngeze material seized from him when he was arrested in July 1997. “In many respects, this attorney is not blaming the OTP [Office of the Prosecutor] for failure to comply with the Court’s Order,” writes Ngeze’s lead counsel John Floyd. “The bureaucracy at the ICTR is the real culprit. The Office of the Registrar seems incapable of giving Mr. Ngeze the things he needs for his defense. The OTP is as much a victim. ”Floyd has said he will continue to represent Ngeze and “do my best”, despite his client’s boycott. Appearing in court for the first time was Ngeze’s new, bilingual co-counsel, René Martel of Canada. Floyd had also complained that the Registry had been blocking Martel’s appointment. Welcoming Mr. Martel, Judge Pillay said that “we are very happy you’ve managed to resolve that one issue. ”The trial continued with the testimony of prosecution witness WD, formerly a waiter at the Hotel des Mille Collines and Hotel des Diplomates in Kigali. WD said that the accused Barayagwiza and Nahimana used to come often to the Hotel des Mille Collines. He said he had overheard a conversation between them by the swimming pool in 1993 in which Nahimana had said that “If we kill Tutsis, the international community will make a fuss, but then it will die down, just as it did with Bugesera [ massacres of Tutsis in March 1992 ] and Kibuye. ” According to the witness, Barayagwiza replied that Rwanda belonged to the Hutu majority and not to the Tutsi minority. JC/FH (ME_0205e)