Arusha, April 23, 2001 (FH) - Extremist former Rwandan radio station Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) had power over life and death during the 1994 genocide, a former state prosecutor told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday. "Being mentioned on radio RTLM was a death sentence," said François-Xavier Nsanzuwera, the former state prosecutor for Kigali City and Kigali Rural prefecture.

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"There are even some people who bribed the journalists so their names would not be broadcast. "Nsanzuwera is testifying in the trial of three defendants accused of having used the media in Rwanda to incite the 1994 genocide in which an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. The three are: Ferdinand Nahimana, a former history professor who became co-founder and director of RTLM; Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, ex-director of political affairs at Rwanda’s foreign ministry and RTLM board member; and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the newspaper Kangura. The three are charged with several counts of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. They have all pleaded not guilty. Nsanzuwera outlined several cases of killings which he said were a result of instructions broadcast on RTLM. Nsanzuwera told the court that RTLM presenter Kantano Habimana had falsely accused the then Attorney-General Alphonse-Marie Nkubito of having been involved in a plot to assassinate the president, Juvénal Habyarimana. "When Kantano was summoned to the prosecutor's office," Nsanzuwera told the court, "he said he had simply read a telegram given to him by Nahimana. He told me that if I wanted the original, I should ask Nahimana. ""When I told the Attorney-General about Kantano's response," the witness continued, "he warned me not to follow it up, as Nahimana's involvement meant the Akazu (a group of relatives and close allies to the then president Habyarimana) was behind it. He told me we would be killed if we pursued it. "Asked to compare radio RTLM to radio Muhabura, a radio station run by the RPF (former Tutsi guerrilla movement, now in power in Kigali), Nsanzuwera said that "both radios did propaganda for their masters, the difference is that RTLM also preached ethnic hatred". Nsanzuwera is the seventeenth prosecution witness in this case. His testimony continues on Tuesday. The Media Trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/JC/FH (ME0423e)