Arusha, January 14, 2002 (FH) - A prosecutor in the socalled media trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday asked the court to sanction a defence counsel for "violation" of tribunal rules. Simon Monasebian of the US argued that, by contacting a protected prosecution witness that had refused testify for the prosecution, defence lawyer Rene Martel of Canada was in contempt of court.

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Martel denied the accusations saying that the witness had waived a court protection order by contacting the defence. "She came to us", said Martel. "We never went looking for her", he added. He said that the witness had told the defence that the prosecution had tried to talk her into lying. "She told us she is ready to come and tell the truth", said Martel. Presiding judge, Navanethem Pillay of South Africa said that the court would make a ruling on the matter on Wednesday or Thursday. Pillay however reiterated the courts protection order on the witness "until such a time when the court decides otherwise" and barred the defence from contacting her again. Martel is cocounsel for genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze. Ngeze was editor and owner of Kangura newspaper. He is accused of using the paper to incite ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis in the 1994 genocide. The 'mediatrial' is also composed of former politician and Radiotélévision libre des Milles collines ( RTLM) founder member, Ferdinand Nahimana and former political advisor in the ministry of foreign affairs, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. Ngeze's lead counsel, John Floyd of the US strongly denied the accusations against Martel and demanded for an apology from the prosecutor. Furthermore, the court will decide on whether the defence breached tribunal rules by late disclosure of summaries of witness testimonies. The defence says that they couldn't get hold of the Witness and Victims Support Section for witness travel schedules so as to produce relevant summaries in time. An official of the Witness and Victims Protection Section told the court that the defence had delayed to deliver lists of witnesses it intended to bring to testify. "Paying witnesses to testify"Meanwhile, prosecutor Monasebian said that defence counsel for Ngeze had reported that their client had requested them (defence lawyers) to pay money to witnesses; due to testify for the defence. Ngeze denied the allegations. He has also not yet been granted time to present to court a "very important motion". Ngeze has been in conflict with his defence team for almost two years. He has asked and been denied permission to dismiss them. The team is paid for by the tribunal under its legal aid system for indigent suspects. The trial will continue tomorow with the testimony of protected witness 'RM 14'. The witness is one of the two whose testimony summaries the prosecutor received late. The case is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of Judges Pillay, Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. GG/CE/FH (ME'0114e)