Arusha, August 23rd, 2001 (FH) - A prosecution witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) . on Thursday accused genocide suspect Ferdinand Nahimana of advocating regionalism and extremism in his writings.

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The 27th prosecution witness, a 65 year-old Rwandan known as "BU" to protect his identity, was responding to questions from the defence on the fourth day of his testimony in the so-called Media Trial. This case groups three suspects accused of having used the media to incite killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They are: former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) Ferdinand Nahimana; former editor of "Kangura" newspaper Hassan Ngeze; and former politician and RTLM board member Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. BU told the court that in a thesis written by Nahimana in 1986, he emerged as "regionalist, ethnist and exclusivist". But Nahimana's French defence counsel Jean-Marie Biju-Duval noted that aprosecution expert witness [ French professor Jean-Pierre Chrétien who was a jury member when Nahimana presented his thesis] was "full of praises" for the same thesis. Nahimana’s lawyer read out excerpts that called for cultural and national unity of the people of Rwanda and said that these contradicted the witness's claims. However, BU said he had gone through the thesis and pointed out pages and sections which he maintained promote regionalism. Prosecution had wanted to submit as evidence a diary kept by the witness, supposedly in 1994. However, on Tuesday they were forced to withdraw it after defence lawyers pointed our discrepancies between two versions of the diary. Defence told the court that copies available to them had additional insertions made well after 1994. The witness admitted he had made later additions. On Wednesday, head of the prosecution team Stephen Rapp (USA) apologized to the Chamber for the handling of the diary disclosure and the late disclosure of some other documents. "I believe we have erred and promise to do better,” he said. “It indicates some carelessness on the part of the prosecution for which I take full responsibility. "The trial resumed on Monday August 20th, after a judicial recess. BU’s testimony continues next Monday with cross-examination of the witness by defence counsels for Ngeze and Barayagwiza. This 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. SW/JC/MBR/FH (ME0823e)