Arusha, July 9, 2002 (FH) - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) prosecutor, Simone Monasebien of the US told the court on Monday that the Rwandan ambassador to the UN, Anastase Gasana, was ready to come and testify in the genocide trial of three former media personalities. The revelation was made during cross-examination of prosecution expert witness, Alison Des Forges.

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Des Forges had cited a document purportedly written by Gasana. Diana Ellis, defence counsel for genocide suspect, Ferdinand Nahimana, objected to any reference to the document saying that Gasana was not at their disposal for cross-examination on the document. Monasebien then told the court that Gasana, who is not on the prosecutor's list of witnesses, had been contacted and was ready to testify. Gasana is one of the persons the prosecutor intended to add to the witness list last year but was denied by court. The court did not comment on the matter. Ellis told the court that Gasana was one of the founders of the Interahamwe (a militia attached to the then ruling party, MRND, active in the genocide). She said that he would shed light on the organisation and activities of the Interahamwe. Gasana was a member of the MRND but later defected to the opposition MDR party before the genocide. After the war, he worked as foreign minister before his appointment as Rwandan ambassador to the UN. The 'media trial' groups three suspects accused of using the media in Rwanda to incite ethnic Hutus against Tutsis in the 1994 genocide. They are Ferdinand Nahimana, a founder and alleged former director of Radio-télévision Libre des Mille collines (RTLM); Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and RTLM board member; and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of newspaper "Kangura". The three are charged with several counts of genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. An estimated one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu's were killed in the 1994 genocide according to an official census by the government of Rwanda. Alison Des Forges testified that RTLM broadcast heinous anti-Tutsi propaganda fuelling the genocide. Nahimana's defence characterised her as biased in her opinion and an apologist of crimes committed by the Tutsi-led, Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel movement. Alison Des Forges completed her testimony on Tuesday evening. The case is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (Presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/JA/DO/FH(ME-0709e)