Arusha, March 13TH (FH) - A Tutsi victim of sexual violence during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Thursday testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda that one of the three accused in the socalled "media trial", Hassan Ngeze, had welcomed her in his house in Gisenyi and later helped her seek asylum in former Zaire. Ngeze, a former owner and editor of "Kangura" newpaper, is jointly tried with former politician and board member of extremist radio station, RadioTélévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, and a director of the same station and former university professor, Ferdinand Nahimana.

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All three have pleaded not guilty to genocide and inciting the killing of ethnic Tutsis through the media. The witness, dubbed "RM114" to protect her identity, told the court of her ordeals on the journey from Kigali to isenyi. She revealed that she had been gangraped in Gitarama after seeing her two brothers chopped to death and thrown into a pit. "RM 114" said that she was rescued by a "good Samaritan" who took her with her three children to Gisenyi and put them under Ngeze's protection. The witness continued that she had received kindness from the accused, who fed her and her family and brought her medical aid for her injuries sustained during her gangrape. "Only the almighty God can reward Ngeze for his kindness", answered the witness in reply to the prosecutor's question as to whether she was not beholden to Ngeze for having saved her life. "RM 114", the third defence witness of the day also told the court that at Ngeze's instigation, she was moved from house to house for her safety, before finally being smuggled across the border into the former Zaire disguised as a Muslim woman. The court also heard the testimonies of three other protected witnesses for the defence, RM112, RM113 and RM118. All three concurred on evidence that had been given by previous defence witnesses that Hassan Ngeze had been arrested many times for helping Tutsis flee and that as a result his house was attacked and bombed. They also testified that one Modeste Tabaro had not been killed by Ngeze as alleged, but by two soldiers only named as Regis and Jeff. Witness "RM 112" a former Rwandan government soldier, added that he had personally helped Ngeze smuggle Tutsis across the border in oil drums. The trial continues on Friday and over the weekend to make up for lost time. It will be the first time that the tribunal sits on a Saturday and Sunday. Trial Chamber One has not been sitting for the last nine days due to the absence of Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka who has been ill and "is recovering from urgent surgery", Judge Pillay announced at the beginning of the session. The presiding judge, Navanethem Pillay from South Africa conducted the hearing assisted by Erik Møse of Norway. KN/FH(ME'0313e)