Arusha, May 5, 2003 (FH) - The media trial resumed on Monday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), with an expert defence witness saying that western countries supported Habyarimana's coup d'état in 1973. Dr.

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Helmut Strizek, a political scientist and expert on both Rwanda and Burundi, told the tribunal that the then president, Gregoire Kayibanda, was losing control of the country to extremist groups. He added that events in neighbouring Burundi had caused many Hutu refugees to spill into Rwanda, raising tensions within some of these groups. “There were people who felt that they should do something to avenge the Burundi Hutus fleeing from the genocide in their country”, he revealed. The witness continued that Habyarimana was a more welcome replacement for Kayibanda. “Many people in the west were happy to see a general ready to restore order” said Strizek, adding that until 1986, Habyarimana was considered within diplomatic circles as a model African president who had development of his country at heart. Strizek lived in Rwanda during those years and gave a detailed account of the political developments that helped shape Rwanda. He told the tribunal that Habyarimana sincerely wanted to solve the problems of refugees but was impaired by the overpopulation. “Poverty was glaring everywhere and that there was a shortage of land. ” The witness said. “Sometimes we would wonder how people survived”. Earlier, the prosecutor, Simone Monasebian, tried in vain to question the expertise of the witness in a bid to disqualify his testimony but she was thwarted when the president of Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, ruled that Strizek be accorded expert witness status. Helmut Strizek is appearing on behalf of Ferdinand Nahimana, a former senior government official and at the same time foundermember of the “hate” station Radio télévision libre de mille collines (RTLM. Nahimana is jointly accused with Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editorinchief of “Kangura” newspaper, and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, a board member and senior official the Extremist party, Coalition for the defence of democracy (CDR). All have pleaded not guilty to charges that they used the media to incite and promote ethnic hatred that culminated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The trial continues on Tuesday with the current witness continuing with his testimony. Judge Pillay is assisted by Erik Møse of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri LankaKN/CE/FH(0505e)