Arusha, March 4, 2003 (FH) - The socalled "Media trial" at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was called off Tuesday at the last minute due to the absence of one judge. On Monday, the "Media trial" had been conducted by only two judges, Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding) and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka.

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The third judge of Trial Chamber one, Eric Møse of Norway, had to travel and could not be present. Neither was he available Tuesday. This time around it was judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana who could not be not present, as confirmed by the Chamber. As stipulated in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence governing the ICTR, two judges can conduct trials in the absence of a colleague for a period not exceeding five working days. Otherwise the presiding judge will have to wait until the bench is complete to reconvene the trial. In this trial, three former media personalities are accused of using the media to incite the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of the stateowned media house and an alleged key member of RadioTélévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), another RTLM boardmember JeanBosco Barayagwiza, and Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editor of "Kangura" newspaper. The trial had adjourned Monday after listening to three witnesses in defence of Ngeze Hassan. The last witness of the day, dubbed "RM116" to protect her identity, was the 14th defence witness for Ngeze. Ferdinand Nahimana wound up his defence on January 16, 2003 after he called eleven witnesses. Barayagwiza continues to boycott court proceedings, saying that the court is unduly influenced by the government of Rwanda. All three have pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. KN/CE/FH(ME'0403e)