Arusha, September 17, 2002 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday denied request by three genocide suspects in the so-called media trial to be acquitted on all charges, reports the Independent news agency Hirondelle. The court however granted acquittal onsome counts.

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The three will now remain in custody pending the completion of a full trial. The media trial groups three former Rwandan media personalities accused of using the media to incite and fuel the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They are: founder member of 'hate-radio', Radio-télévision Libre des Mille collines (RTLM) and alleged de facto leader of the radio, Ferdinand Nahimana, former editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Kangura", Hassan Ngeze and founder member of hard-line Hutu party, Coalition pour la defense de la République (CDR) and member of the board at RTLM, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. Nahimana and Barayagwiza were each acquitted of the count of murder as a crime against humanity. The later was also acquitted of the counts of outrages upon personal dignity and pillage as war crimes. Six counts were retained against Nahimana and Barayagwiza whereas Ngeze did not get acquitted on any count of the seven counts he faces. The motions for acquittal were filed before the defence started its case. The statute of the tribunal provides for a possibility of acquitting suspects if, "at the end of the case for the prosecution, the Trial Chamber finds the evidence insufficient to sustain conviction". Acquittal on individual counts may also be done. The prosecution closed its case in July. The trial then adjourned and resumed on Monday. Reading out the decision of the chamber, presiding judge Navanethem Pillay of Trial Chamber One noted that the prosecution had not objected to dropping any of the counts on which Barayagwiza and Nahimana were acquitted. The prosecutor conceded that no evidence had been adduced regarding those counts. Nahimana's defence team is scheduled to begin its case tomorrow. The trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of Judges Pillay of South Africa (Presiding), Erik Møse of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/FH(ME-0917e)