Arusha, February 28, 2002 (FH) - Genocide suspect and founder of "hate-radio" RTLM, Ferdinand Nahimana, was also its director, contrary to denials by his defence, a convicted Italo-Belgian ex-presenter at RTLM George Ruggiu told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday. Nahimana is a founder of defunct "hate-radio", Radio-Television libre des Mille Collines (RTLM).

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The prosecution holds that he was the director of the Radio. The defence says that Nahimana was among the founders and shareholders of RTLM but was never director of the radio. "I was employed by Ferdinand Nahimana on December 31st, 1993", Ruggiu told the court. "He signed my letter of engagement as director of RTLM", he added. Nahimana is being tried alongside two other suspects in what has been named the 'media trial'. The three are accused of having used the media to fuel the 1994genocide. The two other accused are former editor of newspaper "Kangura", Hassan Ngeze and former director of political affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and member of the board at RTLM, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. The three are charged with several counts of genocide, genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. Ruggiu was a journalist at RTLM during the genocide. He was originally due to be tried with Nahimana, Barayagwiza and Ngeze. However, he was taken out ofthe case after he pleaded guilty to inciting genocide and to persecution as a crime against humanity. The ICTR sentenced him to 12 years' imprisonment on June1st, 2000. Ruggiu testified that Nahimana had remained a driving force behind RTLM even after a person named Focus Habimana had taken over day to day management of the radio in January, 1994. "Nahimana handled our salary problems", said Ruggiu. Ruggiu also said that he and other journalists had on several occasions gone to consult Nahimana on editorial issues even after he had stepped down from the day to day management. Ruggiu also testified that Barayagwiza had been one of the decision makers at the radio station. He said Barayagwiza, like Nahimana, had been a member of thethree-member management committee of RTLM. Ruggiu testified that the editorial policy of RTLM was one "favourable to MRND (the then ruling party), anti-RPF (Tutsi-led rebel movement) and anti-Tutsi"The ex-RTLM presenter further testified that RTLM had broadcast lists of Tutsis and Hutu opposition members denouncing them as RPF collaborators and calling for people to look out for them. "Most of these people were killed as a result of these broadcasts", said Ruggiu. Ruggiu continues his testimony on Thursday. 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/JA/FH(ME-0227f)