Arusha, May 17, 2002 (FH) - Genocide suspect and former editor of defunct Rwandan newspaper Kangura, Hassan Ngeze, never incited genocide but rather believed in freedom of press, peace, elections and democracy, his defence told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Friday. Ngeze is on trial for allegedly using his newspaper to incite ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis in the run-up to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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He is also accused of personally killing Tutsis and supervising killings. Prosecution expert witness, Dr. Marcel Kabanda challenged the defence position saying that opinions in Kangura were "dehumanising, lies and resulted into deaths or imprisonment of Tutsi minorities and opposition members". "This is criminal", said Kabanda. Ngeze's defence lawyer, John Floyd of the US further said that his client had been in jail or once been in Europe when about ten issues of Kangura were published. "He wasn't present or involved in the editions", Floyd asked Kabanda. "Yes, but whenever he (Ngeze) returned he never criticised what had been written in his paper as any editor would do", responded Kabanda. Kabanda is a Rwandan historian based in France. He is co-author of the book Rwanda: Les Media de Genocide (Rwanda: The Media of Genocide). Hassan Ngeze is jointly on trial with Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. Nahimana is a founder and alleged former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza is a former politician and RTLM board member. Kabanda has not completed cross-examination by the defence due to personal work commitments. He is scheduled to return at the end of May. The court will on Monday begin to listen to the testimony of another expert witness, Alison des Forges. She works for the New York based human rights watchdog, Human Rights watch. She is author of a book on the Rwandan genocide titled Leave none to tell the story. This 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-0517e)