Arusha, November 19, 2001 (FH) - An International Criminal Tribunal forRwanda (ICTR) genocide convict on Monday denied having fabricated evidenceagainst former Kangura newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze, as suggested byNgeze's lawyer. Omar Serushago maintained that he had collaborated with Ngeze incommitting crimes, despite not having mentioned Ngeze in key statements tothe ICTR prosecution.

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Serushago is the 32nd prosecution witness in the so-called "Mediatrial" of Ngeze and two other accused. He told the court he hadcollaborated with Ngeze in the commission of crimes in Gisenyi, northwestRwanda, during the 1994 genocide. The witness was a militia leader in Gisenyi during the genocide. In 1999, the ICTR sentenced him to 15 years in prison after he pleadedguilty to genocide. He was found guilty of 37 murders committed by himselfor his subordinates. Ngeze's American lawyer John Floyd tried to discredit thewitness's testimony, saying that Serushago had not mentioned his client'sname either in a 1998 statement to ICTR investigators, or in his 1999 pleaagreement with the prosecution. The convict said he had previously listed only members of theInterahamwe militia and the CDR political party that he said had committedcrimes with him. Serushago said it had not been a question of listing everyperson he collaborated with, and that Ngeze was nevertheless among them. Serushago told the court that Ngeze was a CDR leader in Gisenyi and that hecollaborated with Interahamwe who spearheaded the massacres of Tutsis in 1994. Floyd complained that the witness was not answering his questionsclearly, but was rather trying to advance his own cause. Serushago was recruited as an informer for the ICTR Prosecutorbefore himself being arrested. He contributed to the arrests of severalRwandan genocide suspects in West Africa and in Kenya, including Ngeze. Ngeze is on trial with Ferdinand Nahimana, a founder and allegedformer director of "hate radio" RTLM; and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a formeradvisor to the Rwandan foreign ministry and RTLM board member. Barayagwizahas been boycotting the trial since it started in October 2000, claimingthat it will not be fair because the ICTR is manipulated by the currentpro-Tutsi government in Kigali. The case is before the ICTR's Trial Chamber One, composed ofjudges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norwayand Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. AT/JC/DO/FH (ME1119E)