Arusha, January 15th, 2003 (FH) - The socalled 'media trial' at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was adjourned on Wednesday after a witness indicated that he was too exhausted from traveling to testify. The trial will resume on Thursday.

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The media trial groups three former media personalities accused of using the media to incite the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The three are founder member of RadioTélévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) Ferdinand Nahimana, former politician and RTLM board member JeanBosco Barayagwiza and owner and editor of Kangura newspaper, Hassan Ngeze. They have all pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. The witness, only identified as 'RM 14' to protect his identity is the first witness in defence of Ngeze. RM 14 had appeared in court and been sworn when cocounsel for Ngeze, Rene Martel of Canada, requested the court for an adjournment to allow the witness time to rest. Martel also said he needed time to prepare the witness. RM 14 then told court that he was too exhausted from a "long flight" to appear before court. RM 14 was previously contacted to testify for the prosecution. He declined and offered to testify for the defence. The defence says that he is going to testify, among others, on "how the prosecution, investigators and IBUKA (a genocide survivors' organisation) tried to manipulate him to lie". On Wednesday, Ngeze was denied a request to present to court his "very important motion". Presiding judge, Navanethem Pillay told him to put it in through his defence counsel. Ngeze has had problems with his defence team for almost two years. He has been denied permission to dismiss them. Ngeze's defence team is paid for by the tribunal under its legal aid service to indigent suspects. The case is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/CE/FH (ME'0115e)