Arusha, March 27, 2002 (FH) - The defence of genocide suspect and founder member of RTLM, Ferdinard Nahimana told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday that 'Hate radio' RTLM did not incite Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide but rather called on all Rwandans to unite and fight Tutsi-led RPF rebels. Defence lawyer for Nahimana, Diana Ellis of the UK also told the court that what the prosecution refers to as hard-line anti-Tutsi propaganda broadcasts on RTLM before and during the genocide was legitimate "war-time" language aimed exclusively at the RPF.

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Ellis was cross-examining prosecution witness Mathias Ruzindana. Social-linguistics expert Ruzindana is testifying as an expert witness in the so-called media trial. The case groups three people linked to media which incited Hutus against Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They are Nahimana, a founder and alleged former director of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM); 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. Ruzindana said last week that RTLM broadcasts contained anti-Tutsi messages associating all Tutsis with the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels. Ruzindana said that some of the words in the broadcasts were coded. He noted that Gukora (meaning to work) meant to kill, Inyenzi (meaning cockroach and used to refer to Tutsi rebels in the early 60s) referred to the RPF rebels and Tutsis in general. Ellis cited an RTLM broadcast in 1994 in which a journalist defines the Inyenzi as being the RPF rebels and not the entire Tutsi population. "This clearly indicates that mention of Inyenzi did not refer to the entire Tutsi population. Not so?" asked Ellis. "RTLM broadcasts should be looked at in context. Let us consider all broadcasts and not a mere extract", responded Ruzindana. Ruzindana then cited a broadcast a few days after the one mentioned by Ellis, by the same journalist, saying that the war in Rwanda was between Hutus and Tutsis. Ellis further said that Ruzindana, by virtual of being an employee of the tribunal, had "lost the independence of an academician" required of expert witness. Ruzindana is an employee of the ICTR language section. Ruzindana's testimony continues on Thursday 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-0327e)