Arusha, May 31, 2002 (FH) - The genocide trial of three former Rwandan media personalities at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was on Friday adjourned until July 1st, reports the independent news agency Hirondelle. The 'media trial' groups three people linked to media which incited ethnic Hutus against Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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They are Ferdinard 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, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. An estimated 1,000,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide according to an official survey by the Rwandan government. Trial Chamber One of the ICTR adjourned the media trial to hear the Opening of the trial of former minister of information Eliezer Niyitegeka. This trial will commence on June 17th. Chamber one adjourned mid-way through the cross-examination of expert prosecution witness Alison des Forges. Human rights activist, Des Forges of the US has been testifying before the ICTR for two weeks. She is the 45rd prosecution witness in this trial. Earlier on Friday, co-counsel for Nahimana, Diana Ellis of the UK, contested Des Forges testimony that the Rwandan government during the genocide had refused to act on international calls to abolish racist identity cards. Ellis said that the government had done its best in a situation of war to abolish the cards. She said there was to be a delivery of new identity cards from France at the time the genocide started. Des Forges denied any knowledge of that. The prosecution alleges that Nahimana was an ideologue of the government that presided over the genocide. They also claim that the ethnic identity cards were used to identify Tutsis during the genocide. Des Forges will continue her testimony when trial resumes in July. Three other prosecution witnesses, two of them experts, are scheduled to complete their testimony in July. Two expert witnesses, Doctors Marcel Kabanda and Mathias Ruzindana will return for cross-examination. Also to return is protected witness FS. The Media Trial, which started on October 23rd, 2000, 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. Dr Kabanda continues testimony on Tuesday morning. GG/FH (ME-0531e)