Arusha, May 9, 2003 (FH) - An expert witness in the media trial on Thursday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he was not sure whether “Kangura” magazine really incited the population to acts of genocide. Dr.

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Helmut Strizek, a German political scientist, was called in to give evidence by Ferdinand Nahimana's defence team. “I have my doubts, but I can not dwell on the matter, only the tribunal is competent to make the conclusion”, the witness said on the fourth and last day of his appearance. Nahimana, believed to be the power behind the creation of Radio télévision libre de mille collines (RTLM), is jointly accused together with former boardmember of the steering committee of the radio station, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, and the former owner and editorinchief of Kangura, Hassan Ngeze. All three have pleaded not guilty of using their respective media to incite and promote ethnic hatred that led to the genocide of Tutsi's during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Strizek was answering a question by one of Hassan Ngeze's defence counsel, the Canadian René Martel, as to whether a “tiny publication like Kangura” could have been one of the major factors that triggered the genocide, to which the expert witness made known his scepticism. In an expert witness report presented by Nahimana's defence team, Strizek puts forth elements that, according to him, were the major factors that led to the genocide. Top on the list was the attack by the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) in October 1990, the much overdue democratisation process in the country, the conduct of political parties of the time, and the disastrous economic conditions. Also singled out was the radicalisation of the political climate, RPF's obstinacy with the support of some powerful states in pushing for a military solution, and the shooting down of president Habyarimana's plane on April 6, 1994. Ngeze's defence argument is that Kangura, a fortnightly publication with a circulation of less than 2000 copies, could only have had a very limited impact on the Rwandan population, the majority of who were illiterate. The prosecution alleges that Kangura was used by Hutu extremists to propagate an antiTutsi ideology. Strizek studied political science in Germany and France, and has conducted research on both Rwanda and Burundi. The prosecution maintains that the expert witness's testimony is “biased”. The witness ended his testimony on Thursday evening in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR that is conducting the “media” hearings. The chamber is composed of Navenathem Pillay of South Africa (presiding) the Norwegian, Erik Mose and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana from Sri Lanka. KN/AT/FH(ME'0509e)