Arusha, September 4, 2001 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday ordered the prosecution to produce criminal records of detainee witnesses that have testified or intend to testify in the so-called Media Trial. This 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. Presiding Judge Navanethem Pillay requested prosecution to disclose to defence plea agreements, dates of any convictions and sentencing of custodial witnesses. The ruling follows a defence request on Monday that the prosecution disclose confession statements made by detainee witness 'LAG' to the Rwandan judiciary. Witness LAG, named as such to protect his identity, is serving an 11-year jail term in Rwanda where he pleaded guilty to genocide in 1999. Prosecutor Charity Kagwe of Kenya had said the prosecution did not possess the statements and was not obliged to locate them. LAG testified mainly against the accused Ngeze. The witness told the court that in 1994, after the burial of assassinated former president of CDR (a Hutu extremist party) Martin Bucyana, Ngeze had warned that: " Now our president has just died, but if Habyarimana were to die, we would not tolerate the Tutsis anymore. " The subsequent death of former president Juvénal Habyarimana in a plane crash on April 6th, 1994, sparked the genocide. LAG said Ngeze made the remarks amidst an angry crowd of CDR militia mourners at the Bucyana's home. LAG, a former militiaman and member of PL-Power (a Hutu-extremist wing of PL party) told the court that after Ngeze's remarks and several other meetings made by extremist Hutu political leaders, he (LAG) and other militiamen went to seek and kill Tutsis. Ngeze's defence counsel John Floyd of the US suggested that the person LAG had identified as Ngeze during Bucyana's funeral could in fact have been one of Ngeze's brothers. However, the witness told the court he knew Ngeze well enough not to make such a mistake. Witness LAG completed his testimony on Tuesday. The court went on to hear the 29th prosecution witness, dubbed AHI to protect his identity. AHI, 40, is a genocide convict on death row in Rwanda. He is a former member of Impuzamigambi (a militia of the CDR party). This case is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of judges Pillay, Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/JC/PHD/FH (ME0905e)