Arusha, November 27, 2002 (FH)- The defence in the trial of four former military officers on Wednesday challenged the credibility of a prosecution witness before the International Criminal Tribunal whom they accused of using written notes to testify. Witness "ZF" who is a protected witness began his testimony on Tuesday afternoon and is the second prosecution witness in the "Military Trial" which groups Théoneste Bagosora, former advisor at the Rwandan defence ministry (chef de cabinet), and three others, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and General Gratien Kabiligi.

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The witness was reading to the court a list of names of government officials who were members of a network of influential persons dubbed “zero network” when Defence attorneys Jean Degli of Togo/France and Kennedy Ogetto for Kabiligi and Nsengiyumva respectively brought to the attention of the chamber that the witness was reading notes. When the president of the chamber asked him whether he had the notes he denied. Degli said the witness was dishonest to the chamber because he did not tell the truth. " It questions the credibility of the witness," Degli said. He made an application on behalf of the whole defence team to have the list of names disclosed to the defence team which the chamber allowed. The prosecutor Barbara Mulvaney of United States admitted that the witness had some notes and that the prosecution had suggested to him that he could consult them. The witness told the court that the zero network comprised senior military officers ministers, and some civilians who were supporters of the MRND party. He said Bagosora, Nsengiyumva, Kabiligi and Ntabakuze were members of the zero network. According to the prosecution, the influence of Akazu, a group of powerful families and individuals from Ruhengeri, Gisenyi and Byomba, exceeded formal structures of the State and civil society to incorporate death squads and the zero network. Witness "ZF" said death squads, which were small groups of trained people in charge of executing decisions of members of other networks, existed. Another network was the dragons or Abakuzi which was supposedly tracking down or eliminating opponents to the regime. The witness continues with his testimony on Thursday before Trial Chamber Three composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis, (presiding) Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia and Andresia Vaz of Senegal. PJ/CE/FH (ML-1127e)