Arusha, February, 20, 2002 (FH) - Defence lawyer for genocide suspect Ferdinand Nahimana suggested on Wednesday that a high profile prosecution witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is a criminal testifying in exchange for not being pursued by the prosecution. Witness 'X', named as such to protect his identity, is testifying via video conference from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague in the Netherlands.

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He has refused to testify from the ICTR in Arusha citing security reasons. Witness 'X' is a former senior political figure in Rwanda. He has admitted that his name appears on Rwanda's 'Category One' list of the most wanted genocide suspects. Witness 'X' will, after his testimony, be granted a new identity and resettled in a new country under the ICTR witness protection programme. X is testifying in the so-called 'media trial'. This 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, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. Witness 'X' conceded under cross-examination that he had, before accepting to testify at the ICTR, requested and received a written assurance from the ICTR Chief Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, that he was not being investigated by the ICTR. "You were willing to say what the Office of the Prosecutor wanted you to say against other Rwandans to ensure that you were not accused of the crime of genocide", asked Co-counsel for Nahimana, Diana Ellis of the United Kingdom. "I told them that I had heard of investigations being carried out about me", X told the court. "I requested to be informed if I was being investigated just for the sake of the credibility of my testimony", he said. "If you want me to testify, you must show me that you trust me. I didn't take any part in the genocide ", he added. X also testified that he had been an informer for the ICTR prosecution since 1996. He admitted a defence suggestion that he had to date received some US $30,000 for his services to the Prosecutor. "The fee of US $30,000 was the amount for which you are willing to betray those you had worked with. This was your 30 pieces of silver", suggested Ellis. X denied that money was the motive for his testimony. X continues to answer questions from the defence. He started his testimony on Monday. 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-0220e)