Arusha, June 27, 2001 (FH) - A witness who suddenly changed his mind and refused to testify for the prosecution also refused to talk to the defence, the lawyer for genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. Would-be prosecution witness "AAW" on Monday refused to testify, despite having already arrived at the ICTR's seat of Arusha.

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According to the prosecutor, he changed his mind after praying on Sunday night and deciding, as a good Moslem, that "certain facts he had testified (in his statement to prosecution investigators) were incorrect and he does not wish to testify". "AAW did not wish to communicate with the defence," Ngeze's lawyer John Floyd of the US told the court. "He simply wanted to return to Europe. "Floyd asked the court to order prosecutors Stephen Rapp of the US and William Egbe of Cameroon to communicate any information that could reflect positively on his client (exculpatory information) which they may have got from the witness. Rapp said the information they had from the witness was not "probative or reliable". He said that the prosecutor had lost interest in the witness as soon as he indicated that he didn't agree with what was in his statement. The court asked Floyd to liaise with the prosecution and refer back to the court if he had more questions. Ngeze is co-accused with former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and RTLM board member. All three are accused of using the media to fuel the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They have all pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. New prosecution witnessMeanwhile, the 25th prosecution witness, identified only as "AEU", began testifying earlier on Tuesday. She told the court that Ngeze had been a racist who distributed cards of the extremist Hutu CDR party only to Hutus. As a test to confirm "Hutuness", the witness said Ngeze requested applicants to "insert two fingers in their nostril". Those that couldn't insert their two fingers in the nostril were considered Tutsis and enemies, she added. AEU, a Tutsi woman, also told the court that Ngeze was "a powerful and respected man among the Interahamwe (a militia attached to the then-ruling party) and CDR militia". He ordered killings and they were executed, the witness said. AEU told the court that she had personally been a victim of a militia attack. She spoke with a faint voice and told the court that she had been permanently disabled by the attacks. She said she was also partially blind. The court hearings were interrupted several times to allow her to take breaks. AEU finished her testimony in chief on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning Floyd began cross-examining her. The case is before 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. GG/JC/FH (ME0627e)