Arusha, September 6, 2001 (FH) - A defence lawyer in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda's so-called Media trial on Thursday suggested that a death row prosecution witness was testifying in exchange for his life. "You are really just a dead man walking," US lawyer John Floyd remarked to witness AHI in cross-examination.

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The witness is detained in Rwanda, after pleading guilty to genocide and being sentenced to death. He has appealed the sentence. Presiding judge Navanathem Pillay told Floyd he was "not in the streets of Detroit here" and told him to phrase a pertinent question. Floyd wanted to know if AHI believed he was going to die as a result of his death sentence. The witness replied that he had been convicted on the basis of accusations against him and that he believed in God, so he was not unduly saddened. "You know you're not gonna die," Floyd challenged the witness, "because you know you've cut a deal to come and testify here in exchange for saving your life. "This trial groups three genocide suspects accused of using the media to fuel the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They are: Ferdinand Nahimana, a founder of RTLM radio; Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and board member of RTLM; and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the "Kangura" newspaper. Floyd is representing Ngeze against his will. In his testimony in chief, AHI said he had been a member of the Impuzamigambi (a militia of hardline Hutu party CDR) in Gisenyi, northwest Rwanda, during the 1994 genocide. He said he had also worked for Ngeze as a newspaper vendor. AHI testified mainly against Ngeze, saying the accused had wielded power in Gisenyi, sown disunity between Hutus and Tutsis and personally participated in the murder of a Tutsi man, Modeste Tabaro. "Those with whom I committed the crimes," AHI told the court, "were Hassan Ngeze, Anatole Nsengiyumva (former military commander of Gisenyi region, detained at the ICTR), Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza" and others. Debate on self-incriminationPursuing his cross-examination, Floyd asked AHI how many people he had actually killed. This prompted Judge Pillay to intervene, inviting the Prosecutor to point to ICTR Rules on self-incrimination. Prosecutor Stephen Rapp pointed to Rule 90e, which states that: "A witness may refuse to make any statement which may tend to incriminate him. The Chamber may, however, compel the witness to answer the question. Testimony compelled in this way shall not be used as evidence in a subsequent prosecution against the witness for any offence other than perjury. ""We should not be involved in the process of compelling him (the witness) to incriminate himself and affecting his appeal," argued Rapp. He said the Rule allowed this only if the ICTR could provide immunity and that "the Tribunal is powerless to immunize him in Rwanda". Rapp said that the content of AHI's confessions should become clearer once prosecution had obtained documents from the Rwandan government, which, he said, "we have asked for today". Earlier this week, the court ordered the prosecution to produce criminal records of detainee witnesses that have testified or intend to testify. These include defence plea agreements, dates of any convictions and sentencing of detainee witnesses. Floyd stressed that AHI had confessed to genocide, meaning that he had not been tried, and that people who confess normally got lighter sentences. AHI, however, had been sentenced to death, he said. Ngeze's lawyer contended that the witness must be a "mass murderer" and that "the court should take that into consideration when evaluating him". JC/FH (ME0906e)