Arusha, June, 18, 2001 (FH) - Genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze on Monday reiterated his request to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that his assigned lawyers be dismissed and that he be allowed to pay for new ones. "You are free to do so," presiding judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa told Ngeze.

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"You are free to call the counsels you want. Then you will regularize other matters when they get here," she added. Ngeze says he has lost confidence in his current lawyers John Floyd of the US and René Martel of Canada. The court turned down his earlier request that he be assigned new lawyers by the ICTR. In April he responded that he was renouncing his indigent status and wanted to pay for new lawyers with the help of "friends". Ngeze said he wanted André Gagnier of Canada and Ngata Kamau of Kenya as his new counsel. Judge Pillay told the accused that the ICTR Registry had written to these lawyers, but that Gagnier had refused and Kamau had not replied. In a letter to Judge Pillay dated June 17th, Ngeze claimed that his current lawyers "are doing tourism in Tanzania at the expense of the United Nations and on the back of Hassan Ngeze". He claimed he was in a unique situation "with the OTP (Office of the Prosecutor), the Kigali government and (my) so-called lawyers all three against (me)" and that the judges should take this into account at the end of the trial. Ngeze's request came as his lawyer John Floyd sought to know when his motion for an evidentiary hearing would be heard. The motion was filed after a January 10th raid on Ngeze's prison cell, in which he claimed vital defence documents were stolen. The raid was in connection with the discovery that Ngeze was running a website. Judge Pillay asked Floyd whether he had agreement from his client to argue the motion. Ngeze then told the court that he did not want to be represented by Floyd any more, and that he had not agreed that Floyd should argue the motion. The court therefore dismissed Floyd's motion for an evidentiary hearing, saying that Ngeze was still free to file a new motion at a later date if he wished. Ngeze is former editor of the newspaper Kangura and is on trial with two other suspects linked to "hate media" that incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The other accused are Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and RTLM board member. 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. GG/JC/PHD/FH (ME0618E)