Arusha, May 28, 2002 (FH) - Genocide suspect and former newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze did not incite the 1994 genocide but rather participated in a “popular dialogue” involving many newspapers in Rwanda, defence counsel John Floyd told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. The prosecution alleges that Kangura published vitriolic articles inciting ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis in the run-up to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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An estimated 1,000,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 genocide according to an official census by the government of Rwanda. Floyd argued that it was normal “in all countries around the world” to have newspapers publishing different opinion. He further presented to court what he said were similar opinion to Kangura's published in other Rwandan newspapers. “Mr. Ngeze has been scapegoated(sic) for what was a popular dialogue”, said Floyd. Floyd was cross-examining expert prosecution witness and human rights activist Alison des Forges. Des Forges responded saying that Kangura had been “characterized by specific anti-Tutsi literature. ”Floyd also contested prosecution allegations that Ngeze conspired with co-accused Ferdinand Nahimana. Nahimana is former director of the Rwandan National Office of Information (ORINFOR). He is also a founder member and alleged former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). Citing various articles in Kangura ridiculing Nahimana, Floyd said “there was a long enmity” between Nahimana and Ngeze. “It is absurd to even think that these people could have been co-conspirators”, he said. Des Forges said that though she did not know about enmity between these two, “there are many cases of people with diametrically opposed opinion who none the less formed alliances at the time of the genocide. ”Ngeze and Nahimana are jointly on trial with Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. Barayagwiza is a former politician and RTLM board member. Des Forges will continue testifying on Wednesday. The trial 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/FH (ME-0528e)