Arusha, May 20 , 2002(FH) - Genocide suspect Ferdinand Nahimana was a senior member of an organisation responsible for the killings and torture of ethnic Tutsis in Rwanda before the 1994 genocide, Alison des Forges told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday. Des Forges of the US is a senior advisor to human rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch.

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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. Des Forges told the court that an organisation called Comité de Salut Public (Committee of Public Salvation) had been responsible for killings of Tutsis and spreading anti-Tutsi propaganda. She said the organisation had been formed in 1973. Des Forges presented to the court a Committee of Public Salvation (CPS) document listing Nahimana as one of "The thinking heads of the organisation". Nahimana was director on the Rwandan Office of information (ORINFOR), he is also a founder and alleged former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). He 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". 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. Earlier on Monday, Nahimana's co-counsel, Diana Ellis objected to the admission of Des Forges as an expert witnesses saying, among other arguments that " she has no learning, no knowledge and no expertise outside of any other individual who can read about these matters. " Prosecutor Charity Kagwi of Kenya responded that Des Forges had done "extensive scientific and technical research on the 1994 genocide. "Des Forges will continue her testimony on Tuesday before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judges Pillay of South Africa (Presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/FH (ME-0520e)