Arusha, June, 12, 2001 (FH) - Former journalist and genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze endangered the lives of many Tutsis by denouncing them in his newspaper "Kangura", a prosecution witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. The twenty-second prosecution witness in the so-called Media Trial, dubbed AGX to protect his identity, said that when Kangura denounced people as accomplices of the RPF (Tutsi rebel movement now in power in Rwanda), that was equivalent to a death sentence.

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This case groups three accused who allegedly used the media to fuel the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The three are former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) Ferdinand Nahimana, former politician and RTLM board member Jean Bosco Barayagwiza and former owner/editor of "Kangura" newspaper Hassan Ngeze. The three are charged with several counts of genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. AGX told the court that Ngeze had on several occasions publicly referred to him (the witness) as "Icyitso" (Kinyarwanda for accomplice). AGX said he was arrested and jailed for two months following Ngeze's denunciations. Witness AGX told the court on Monday that Ngeze had been a popular man in his home province of Gisenyi, northwest Rwanda. The witness also said that Ngeze would walk around town in the company of senior army officers including Anatole Nsengiyumva, the Gisenyi army commander, and a chief of staff called Laurent Serubuga. AGX also testified that Ngeze had in 1993 showed a video at a market place in Gisenyi of people killing other people which he (Ngeze) presented as Tutsis killing Hutus in neighboring Burundi. According to the witness, Ngeze gave simultaneous commentaries on the video, calling for Hutus in Rwanda to be wary of Tutsis lest a similar situation arise in Rwanda. AGX is a 45-year old Tutsi man from Ngeze's home town of Gisenyi. His cross-examination by Ngeze's defence began on Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday. 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/MBR/FH (ME0612e)