Arusha, September 4, 2001 (FH) - A genocide convict on death row in Rwanda on Tuesday testified for the prosecution in the so-called Media trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The Media trial groups three suspects linked to the so-called "hate media" in Rwanda before and during the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda.

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They are: Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM); Jean-Bosco-Barayagwiza, former politician and RTLM board member; and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the newspaper Kangura. Witness AHI, named as such to protect his identity, told the court that he had been a member of the Impuzamigambi (a militia of extremist Hutu party CDR) during the 1994 genocide. He said he had also worked for Ngeze as a newspaper vendor. AHI told the court that Ngeze had been a "powerful and intelligent member of society who sowed disunity among the Tutsis and Hutus". The witness described Ngeze as having been "like a president of Gisenyi", the northwest Rwandan province from which he hails. AHI also said that Ngeze had personally participated in the murder of one Modeste Tabaro, a Tutsi man. He said he (the witness) had heard several gunshots that night, after which he walked towards Ngeze's house to find out what had happened. AHI said Tabaro had been shot and was lying down in the street when Ngeze put a gun to his chest and finished him off. AHI further told the court that during the genocide, Ngeze had given him (AHI) and other militiamen guns to use in searching for and killing Tutsis. The witness also said that Ngeze had supervised and participated in the manning of roadblocks around Gisenyi province to identify and kill Tutsis. "What I'm telling you," AHI told the court, "is what I saw with my own eyes or participated in. "Witness AHI is due to continue his testimony on Wednesday. The prosecution in this trial is represented by Steven Rapp and Simone Monasabien of the US, Alphonse Van of Ivory Coast and Charity Kagwe of Kenya. The case 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(ME0904f)