Arusha, May 23, 2002 (FH) - Alleged 'hate-radio' Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) ordered the killings of ethnic Tutsi refugees at Kaddafi Mosque in the Rwandan capital Kigali during the 1994 genocide, human rights activist Alison des Forges told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Thursday. Founder member and alleged former director of RTLM, Ferdinand Nahimana is on trial at the ICTR.

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He is charged with several counts of genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. An estimated One million ethnic Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu were killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. “RTLM identified Kaddafi mosque as a place where Tutsi had taken refugee and where they should be attacked”, Des Forges told the court. Des Forges said the killings at Kaddafi mosque early April, 1994 were among the first during the genocide. Des Forges said that about a month after the Kaddafi mosque killings, RTLM called on militias to go and kill other Tutsi that had taken refugee in the same mosque after the initial killings. “They were much like cows in a slaughter house”, Des Forges quoted an RTLM journalist as having described the refugees in a radio broadcast a few hours after passing by the mosque. “I don't know whether they have been slaughtered today or will be slaughtered tonight”, Des Forges further quoted the journalist as having said. Des Forges further told the court that she had interviewed a woman that had participated in the Kaddafi mosque killings. “The woman told me that it was the first time the state had directed her to kill”, said Des Forges. “It was my day to kill”, Des Forges quoted the woman as having said. Nahimana's defence denies that Nahimana was director of RTLM. They further say that from April 12th, 1994, Nahimana took refugee in Burundi (South of Rwanda) and would not have been involved with RTLM. The prosecution claims that Nahimana fled Burundi on April 12th, 1994 but returned to the southern parts of Rwanda a few days later and continued to influence RTLM broadcasts from there. In line with this argument, Des Forges told the quote of an interview allegedly given to Radio Rwanda by Nahimana towards the end of April 1994. “ Nahimana talked of how he was satisfied with both stations (Radio Rwanda and RTLM) in raising awareness of the majority population”, Des Forges quoted Nahimana as having said during the interview. She further quoted Nahimana as having also expressed satisfaction at “how the population has stood up and worked together with the army in view of halting the enemy. ” Des Forges and many other prosecution witnesses have said that the term “working” at the time was an euphemism meaning killing of Tutsis. The prosecution says that RTLM broadcasts changed from worse to worst after the April 6th, 1994 fatal crash of the plane carrying Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana. Des Forges is a senior advisor to human rights watchdog organisation, Human Rights Watch. She holds a PhD in African History from Yale University in the US. She has published several works on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda including the book, Leave none to tell the story. She is testifying as an expert witness. Nahimana is jointly on trial with two other suspects who allegedly used the media in Rwanda to fuel the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The other two are; Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and RTLM board member; and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of newspaper "Kangura". Des Forges will continue testifying on Monday. Prosecutors Charity Kagwi of Kenya and Simon Monasebian of the US have been questioning Des Forges. 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-0523e)