Arusha, March 31, 2003 (FH) - Genocide suspect and former journalist Hassan Ngeze on Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he had saved about 1000 ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. Ngeze, owner and editor of defunct alleged extremist newspaper, Kangura, has since last week been testifying in his defence.

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“I helped 1000 Tutsis. I was arrested eight times for that”, said Ngeze in response to a question from a judge. The accused said that he had helped Tutsis get to various safe locations in different parts of the capital Kigali including the Hôtel des Mille collines, Sainte Famille church, different UN locations or helped them flee the country. Furthermore, Ngeze said that he had “trained” some six people to help transport persecuted Tutsis to Goma in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Some defence witnesses have testified that Ngeze sneaked them to Goma using oil barrels. “Many accused tell you that they didn't participate in the massacres, but none ever tells you that they saved people (…) I'm one of those people who saved Tutsis”, said Ngeze. “I will receive the recognition of history”, he added. Ngeze is jointly on trial with former university professor and founder member of “hateradio”, Radiotélévision libre des Mille collines (RTLM), Ferdinand Nahimana and former politician and also founder member of RTLM, JeanBosco Barayagwiza. The three are largely accused of using the media in Rwanda to fuel ethnic killings during the 1994 genocide. New allegations of witness intimidationAt the beginning of the hearing on Monday, Ngeze's cocounsel, Rene Martel of Canada demanded for an inquiry into what he said was the “intimidation” of three defence witnesses. On March 15th, the tribunal had ordered an investigation into allegations of witness intimidation concerning four witnesses. Martel told the court that he had been informed by email that three witnesses that are scheduled to testify in May “have been threatened with weapons” in their country of residence. “We are asking for an investigation, not one on paper but an investigation by professional police”, said the lawyer. Martel also denounced prosecutor Charity KagwiNdungu for allegedly paying frequent visits to genocide convict and former militia leader, Omar Serushago. The convict is an informer of the prosecutor. Kagwi denied the accusations and requested Martel to wait for conclusions of an investigation ordered by the chamber. This trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR comprised of judges Navanethem Pillay (presiding) of South Africa, Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. Ngeze continued his testimony on Tuesday. The court had ordered him to conclude by Monday (yesterday). On Monday evening, Martel told judges that “visibly”, Ngeze hadn't completed his testimony. He seconded Ngeze's motionto be granted three more days. “It is my trial, I should be given time”, said Ngeze. He underlined that “I haven't responded to the 47 prosecution witnesses, I haven't reached Kangura”, he underlined. The chamber granted him half a day. GG/AT/CE/FH(ME'0401e)