Arusha, May 6, 2003 (FH) - An expert witness in the media trial, Dr Helmut Strizek, on Tuesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that attacks by the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) was a major cause in the 1994 genocide. Dr.

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Strizek, a German political scientist who at one time worked in Rwanda, said that the presence of about one million internally displaced people around Kigali reinforced the feeling of hatred towards Tutsis. Most of the displaced people had run away from the fighting in the northern part of the country, through where the RPF, mostly composed of Tutsis, launched its attack. “One cannot discount this movement of people in lighting the spark” said the witness. “That is what I consider the foundation of the genocide. It is this hatred that exploded”. Strizek is appearing for Ferdinand Nahimana, a former government official and alleged brainchild of the extremist radio station, Radio télévision libre de mille collines (RTLM). Nahimana is jointly on trial with two other people: a former boardmember of RTLM, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, and Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editorinchief of ”Kangura” newspaper. All three have pleaded not guilty to charges that they used the media to incite the population against during the 1994 genocide. The expert witness dismissed allegations by the prosecution that the incarceration of thousands of Tutsis immediately after the RPF attack was a sign of racism of Habyarimana's government. “It is a historical fact that countries detained people they suspected to be a fifth column” said the witness, pointing out that even the USA detained Japanese nationals on US soil during World War II. Witness comes under fireThe credibility of the expert witness was questioned by the prosecutor Simone Monasebian during crossexamination. She pointed out that some of the sources the expert referred to were biased because of their political leanings. Among the sources the prosecutor pointed out was Shyirambere Jean Barahinyura, a former RPF member who later crossed the floor and became a founder member of the extremist party CDR. Barahinyura was also CDR' representative in Germany, where he resides. The prosecutor, who had the previous day questioned the credibility of the expert witness' testimony, found flaws in Strizek's testimony and his publications. She accused the witness of biased research and “using unverified rumours in an annex of what is supposedly scholarly work”. The trial continues on Wednesday in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR with the prosecution continuing with crossexamination. Chamber One is composed of judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, assisted by Erik Møse of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. KN/CE/FH(ME'0506e)