Arusha, February 18, 2002 (FH) - Genocide suspect and former director of the Rwandan national information office (ORINFOR), Ferdinand Nahimana, was involved in preparing a false 'death-list' aimed at inciting violence against ethnic Tutsis during the run-up to the 1994 genocide, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday. The witness dubbed 'X' to protect his identity is testifying via video conference from The Hague in the Netherlands.

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Witness X, a former Rwandan official living in exile, has refused to come to testify at the ICTR, citing security problems. He is the first witness at the ICTR to testify via video conference. The 'death list' contained names of Hutus allegedly targeted for assassination by the Tutsi-led Rwandaise Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel movement. It was presented on national radio as having been acquired from rebel sources. Witness X, like several other prosecution witnesses before him, said that the list, including several prominent Hutus, sparked off violence against Tutsis in various parts of the country. 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. "Two days before the document came out, a mutual friend of Nahimana's and I told me the document was to be published", witness X told the court. "Two days later, the document came out", he added. Witness X testified that he was very sure the list had not been drawn up by the RPF, as, for example, the name of the RPF itself had been misspelled. Witness X further told the court that individuals denounced as collaborators of the RPF in RTLM broadcasts were normally killed. Witness X continues to testify 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-0218f)