Arusha, April 9, 2003 (FH) - A Rwandan social linguist Professor, François Bangamwabo told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday that he has no hatred against the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Professor Bangamwabo was responding to questions by the ICTR prosecutor Ifeoma Ojemini of Nigeria who wanted to know whether the Hutu Professor hated the former rebel group (now ruling Rwanda) as he was compiling a report he presented before the Tribunal, which according to the prosecution is proHutu.

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He has been testifying since Monday as an expert witness in the defense of genocide suspect, Juvenal Kajelijeli, former Mayor of Mukingo commune in Ruhengeri prefecture (North West Rwanda). Quoting several paragraphs from the report, the prosecution alleged that whenever the Professor analyses a number of deaths, casualties and displaced persons in the country he mentioned figures for the Hutus only, but not Tutsis. The prosecution also alleged that the professor did not make any comparison between the kind of extremism propagated by the Hutu media in his analyses which included, Kangura newspapers and Radio Television Libre de Mille collines (RTLM) and that of radio Muhabura owned then by the Tutsis. "Why didn't you find it necessary to make the comparison of the two media and enlighten the court? Don't you think it was necessary to do that ?," asked Ojemini. He responded by saying " No, my mission was not to study the media but rather its impact on the interethnic relations. " He further elaborated that both Hutu and Tutsi owned media fueled tension among Rwandans. He said he discussed more about Hutu media partly because they lacked attention by various groups including nongovernmental organizations and human rights activists unlike their Tutsi counterpart. The witness also denied several assertions made by the prosecution including the call over RTLM radio that Hutu should kill Tutsis at roadblocks, in the churches and other places they were purported to have hidden. Gihanga mythDuring his testimony on Tuesday among other things, Professor Bangamwabo told the trial chamber that the Rwandan myth popularly known as 'gihanga myth' sanctioned the Tutsi domination over Hutus and Twas. He said it was that myth, believed to have come from 'Imana' (God) which took the upper hand in the interethnic relations in Rwanda before, during and after colonial era. He said when the German and later the Belgians came to Rwanda in the 19th century, they adopted the traditional system which was in place at that time. "They continued to favour the Tutsis dominance over Hutus and Twas". Professor Bagamwabo further elaborated that the myth was taken as something normal in the Rwandan society in such a way that Hutus were continuously dominated and Tutsis favored. The witness concluded his testimony on Wednesday paving way for the accused to testify on his own defense on Thursday. The case is before Trial Chamber II composed of the Tanzania Judge William Sekule (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. NI/FH (KJ'0409e)