Arusha, January 29, 2003 (FH) - For the first time in the socalled ‘media trial' at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), two witnesses on Wednesday began and ended their testimony without crossexamination. Prosecutor Simone Monasebian of the US, citing ‘professional' reasons, declined to crossexamine defence witnesses, ‘BAZ 33' and ‘BAZ 10'.

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“The testimony is repetitive. The same thing has been said by nine or so other witnesses before”, Monasebian said after the testimony of BAZ 33. BAZ 33, like several witnesses before her, testified that genocide suspect and former journalist Hassan Ngeze had hidden persecuted ethnic Tutsis during the genocide. In her brief testimony that lasted about ten minutes, BAZ also said that Ngeze was “a man loved by everyone in our town. ” BAZ is a former resident of Gisenyi, Ngeze's hometown. Monasebian asked the court to caution the defence for “wasting tribunal resources” bringing in witnesses from abroad to testify on matters mentioned many times before by other defence witnesses. “Besides”, she said, “Hiding one or two Tutsis is no mitigation for one's guilt” in the genocide. Defence counsel, Réne Martel of Canada said that the defence was bringing the witnesses because, despite “all the evidence”, the prosecution had failed to “admit that Ngeze is an innocent man”. Previously, there have been a few cases where witnesses were not crossexamined. The party opting not to crossexamine did so because it did not contest the facts in the testimony of the witness. Ngeze was the owner and editor of alleged extremist newspaper, Kangura. He is jointly on trial with two other former media personalities in what has been called the 'media trial'. They are founder member of RadioTélévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), Ferdinand Nahimana and politician and RTLM board member, JeanBosco Barayagwiza. The three are mainly accused of using the media in Rwanda to fuel antiTutsi sentiments and killings. Prior to witnesses BAZ 33 and BAZ 10, BAZ 2 also told the court that Ngeze never discriminated against Tutsis. “In fact, he sheltered wanted Tutsis during the genocide, he said. Asked by the prosecution why his testimony was inconsistent with a statement he had earlier given to a member of the defence team, BAZ 2 said that he had “no trust in the man. ” “I didn't tell them the truth since I wasn't sure for whom they were working”, he said. Cooperation and efficiencyEight defence witnesses have been heard since Monday. Acting presiding judge, Erik Mose of Norway commended both parties for their "efficiency and cooperation. "The chamber adjourned after the defence ran out of witnesses saying that they hadn't anticipated that so many witnesses would be heard in such a period. Court will resume on Thursday to hold a status conference in closed session. The trial will then adjourn until March. Ngeze's defence team has listed 55 witnesses for its defence. Twentyfive of them are due to testify in the session that begins in March. The team had previously said it would call 106 witnesses. The trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Mose and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. Pillay is currently away from the bench on official business. GG/CE/FH (ME'0129e)