Arusha, May 13, 2002 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) allowed a Rwandan Historian, Dr. Marcel Kabanda, to testify as an expert prosecution witness, when the trial of three people accused of using the media to fan the 1994 Rwanda genocide resumed.

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The media trial groups three suspects accused of having used the media to incite killings during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The three are: former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) Ferdinand Nahimana; former editor of "Kangura" newspaper Hassan Ngeze; and former politician and RTLM board member Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. The trial was adjourned on March 28th, during the testimony of another expert witness, Dr. Mathias Ruzindana. The Trial Chamber hearing this case is also hearing alternately, the trial of former Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana and his son medic Gerard Ntakirutimana. Dr. Ruzindana is yet to complete his testimony and is expected to return to conclude his evidence. Dr. Kabanda is the 44th prosecution witness. All three defence teams objected to him being admitted as an expert witness. When the prosecution asked the trial chamber to admit Dr. Kabanda as an expert on the print media in Rwanda, the defence objected, arguing that he is neither an editor nor has he ever studied the history of the press in depth. In response to questions put to him regarding his status as an expert, Dr. Kabanda stated that he has experience in history and in research, adding that he has done a lot of research work in addition to his doctorate thesis. Currently he is a consultant for UNESCO, dealing with documentary research. Dr. Kabanda also informed the court that he and three others authored a book titled Rwanda Les Media du Genocide (Rwanda The Media of Genocide). Ngeze's lawyer, American John Floyd, maintained that Dr. Kabanda was not an expert but was among "a clique" (of researchers) that had pre-decided issues and "you all support each other. "Nahimana's lawyer, Jean Marie Biju-Duval of France, asked how objective Dr. Kabanda would be since he has among a number of plaintiffs in a genocide case currently pending in a French court. The lawyer also wanted to know if Dr Kabanda had previous works published to give weight to his status as an expert. While delivering its decision to admit Dr. Kabanda as an expert witness, the Chamber said it was a unanimous decision that Dr. Marcel Kabanda be admitted as an expert on the print media in Rwanda. However, the Chamber said it has noted the defence's questions regarding the quality and content of Dr. Kabanda's research and the report he had submitted to the court. "We've also heard the oral evidence of Dr Kabanda supplemented by his CV," said presiding Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa. Judge Pillay added that the Chamber also asked itself the same question raised by the defence namely: how can an historian describe himself as a print media expert. The Chamber stated that the area of study in question could be viewed from a multi-disciplinary approach. 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. SW/FH (ME-0513e)