Arusha, April 9, 2003 (FH) - A former journalist with the Radio télévision libre des Mille collines, Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that she told lies to both investigators of the ICTR and the Rwandan government in order to save her skin. Bemeriki made the revelations on the second day of her testimony during crossexamination by the prosecution.

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The witness was brought to Arusha from a Rwandan prison where she is being held on genocide charges to testify as a defence witness for Ferdinand Nahimana, one of the three people on trial to incite and propagate the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The others in the joint trial in what is known as the media case are; Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editorinchef of “Kangura” newspaper, and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, board member of RTLM. All have pleaded not guilty. The witness had earlier been told by the president of Trial Chamber One, Navanethem Pillay, to be careful in her testimony as not to incriminate herself when she goes on trial in Rwanda. She had earlier been shortlisted as a prosecution witness but was later dropped. Another reason Bemeriki gave was that she made the false statements after being arrested in the Congo by Rwandan agents, “I was angry and driven by the spirit of vengeance for having been abandoned by my colleagues in Goma”. She added that the prosecution had promised her to intercede with the Rwanda government on her behalf. “Had I not been stranded in Goma I would be here in Arusha and not in a Rwandan prison”, she declared, though she denied that being transferred to the ICTR had been the original deal with the prosecution. She then went on to deny all her earlier statements and told the court that she was in the process of preparing a document that rectifies the “lies”. Bemeriki also denied a statement she had earlier made to the prosecution, among them that Nahimana had not pulled strings in order for her to get a job with “Interahamwe” magazine owned by the ruling party, MRND. She also denied having been an acquaintance of long date of the accused. Explaining the workings of RTLM, the witness said that all administrative decisions were taken care of by the director, Mr: Phocas Habimana. The prosecution has maintained that Nahimana was the defacto head of RTLM. The trial continues in Trial Chamber One composed of Navanethem Pillay of SouthAfrica (presiding) Erik Møse of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. KN/FH(ME'0409e)