Arusha, March 11, 2002 (FH) - Defence lawyer for genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday that hundreds of audio recordings of "hate-radio" RTLM broadcasts produced by the prosecution were "bogus", and had mainly originated from a suspicious source, reports the independent news agency Hirondelle. American lawyer John Floyd was cross-examining ex-prosecution investigator Kaiser Rizvi on the authenticity of about 220 audio tape cassettes tendered by the prosecution as evidence.

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Rizvi, currently working at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), was in charge of locating and keeping the cassettes at the time he worked for the ICTR. Rizvi has since Friday been testifying on the chain of custody of the cassettes. Rizvi is the 41st prosecution 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 Ferdinand 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. "There are many stops and starts. Can you tell the court why you think these tapes were not tampered with", Floyd asked the witness. "I wouldn't know. I don't understand Kinyarwanda (the Rwandan language of most of the recordings)", answered Rizvi. He however said that he believed there was no reason why the tapes could have been tampered with. Floyd also said that he believed most of the cassettes, even those obtained from individuals, had originated from the Tutsi-led RPF party archives. Floyd has repeatedly stated that the RPF is biased against the Hutu defendants at the ICTR. "You get groups of tapes from various sources but we end up with no duplicates of the same broadcast from different sources. Doesn't this suggest there could be a controlling force somewhere supplying the tapes?" asked Floyd. The lawyer then said that the "controlling force" was the RPF. He suggested that tapes obtained from other Rwandan government organs could have originated from the RPF. Rizvi said that the he had no reason to believe that other sources of the cassettes were linked to the RPF. Rizvi testified has said that most of the cassettes had been recorded from the US State Department in Washington, the RPF secretariat archives, the Rwandan Office of Information (ORINFOR) and the Rwandan Ministry of Information. Other cassettes were obtained from individuals who, according to Rizvi, directly recorded RTLM broadcasts. Floyd further argued that someone at the ICTR "who is pro-Tutsi or anti-defendants or an expert hired by the OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) could have edited the tapes". Rizvi responded that he found no possibility of that happening. Rizvi will continue to answer questions from Floyd on Tuesday. The trial is being heard by 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/JA/FH (ME-0311e)