Arusha, February, 18, 2002 (FH) - The so-called media trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) resumed on Monday with the testimony of a protected witness using a video conference link from the Netherlands. Witness 'X', named as such to protect his identity, is the first witness at the ICTR to testify via video conference.

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He is testifying from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague in the Netherlands. Trial Chamber One of the ICTR went into recess shortly after resuming, due to technical problems in receiving Witness 'X's voice. His answers were repeatedly cut short as he testified. Court resumed 30 minutes later with improved voice reception. Witness 'X', a former Rwandan official living in exile, has refused to come to testify at the ICTR, citing security problems. The media trial concerns allegations against three people that they used the media in Rwanda to fuel the genocide in 1994. They are Ferdinand Nahimana, the former director of the Rwandan national information office (ORINFOR), controlling state media. Nahimana was also a founder of defunct Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). The trial also includes the former editor of "Kangura" newspaper, Hassan Ngeze, and the former director of political affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and board member of RTLM, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. The three are charged with several counts of genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. Witness 'X' testified that Nahimana had links with a powerful informal organisation in Rwanda at the time of the genocide called 'Akazu' (little house). He said that the group, composed of persons close to the then President Juvenal Habyarimana, had a lot of influence in the highest political circles in Rwanda. Witness 'X' said that Nahimana's own appointment as director of ORINFOR had been influenced by Habyarimana's brother-in-law and member of Akazu, Protais Zigiranyirazo. Zigiranyirazo is currently detained at the ICTR awaiting trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. 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-0218e)