Arusha, November 20, 2001 (FH) - Former Kangura newspaper editor and genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze on Tuesday asked judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for permission to cross-question a convict who is testifying against him. Ngeze asked that he be able to put some 60 questions to Omar Serushago, who has been testifying against him since last Thursday.

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Serushago was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1999, after pleading guilty to genocide before the ICTR. Ngeze is on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity, along with two other people linked to media which incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The Trial Chamber said it would examine his request after Serushago had been cross-examined by all the defence teams. Serushago was on Tuesday cross-examined by Ngeze's American lawyer John Floyd. During the trial, Ngeze has several times asked, and sometimes been granted permission, to cross-question witnesses himself. He says he does not trust his ICTR-assigned lawyers. Serushago accused Ngeze of having collaborated with him in massacres of Tutsis in the northwest Rwandan prefecture of Gisenyi. The witness, an ex-militia leader in Gisenyi, was convicted for 37 murders carried out by himself or his subordinates during the genocide. Ngeze is on trial with Ferdinand Nahimana, a founder and alleged former director of "hate radio" RTLM; and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, an ex-politician and RTLM board member. Serushago also told the court that Ngeze had collaborated with Barayagwiza to spread the extremist Hutu ideology that led to genocide. In cross-examination, lawyer Floyd argued that there could not have been any link between Barayagwiza and Ngeze, as the first was a top civil servant and the second was a person with little education. Witness Serushago answered: "Ngeze is not educated. But there is a kind of innate intelligence. (…) You know, there are countries that have generals but which are led by corporals. "AT/JC/PHD/FH (ME1120E)