Arusha, July 4, 2002 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday denied genocide suspect and former newspaper chief Hassan Ngeze another motion to dismiss his defence team. Ngeze, who declared himself indigent at the time of his arrest, has been trying to change his ICTR-funded defence team for over a year.

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The ICTR pays defence fees for all detainees who declare themselves indigent. Ngeze claims that his lead counsel, John Floyd, of the US and Rene Martel, of Canada are incompetent and have isolated him in the preparation of his defence. "The chamber notes that he (Ngeze) has periodically worked with his counsel", said presiding judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa. "The motion (to dismiss counsel) is dismissed", she added. Floyd denied allegations that he had refused to consult his client. "We have done our best. Sometimes he has refused to receive us or to speak to us on the phone", he said, adding that, "Mr. Ngeze is very difficult and everyone knows. "Ngeze was also denied a motion to allow him to cross-examine prosecution expert witness and French historian, Jean-Pierre Chrétien. Ngeze first unsuccessfully applied to discontinue his defence team in April 2001. Floyd then asked the court to do a psychiatric test on Ngeze. The results of the test have been kept confidential. Ngeze later requested and was granted permission to bring a defence team of his own for which he would pay all costs. The team has never appeared in court. Ngeze is former editor of defunct Rwandan newspaper "Kangura". He is jointly on trial with three other former media personalities in the so-called media trial. The three are mainly charged with using the media in Rwanda to incite ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. The others are; Ferdinand Nahimana, a founder and alleged former director of RTLM and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) board member. The trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (Presiding), Erik Møse of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/JA/DO/FH(ME-0704e)