Arusha, January 13, 2003 (FH) - The genocide trial of three former Rwandan media personalities at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) resumed on Monday. The trial had adjourned on December 12th for the endofyear recess.

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The media trial is composed of former politician and RTLM founder member, Ferdinand Nahimana, owner and editor of Kangura newspaper, Hassan Ngeze and former political advisor in the ministry of information, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. The trial resumed with the tenth defence witness. The protected witness denied prosecution allegations that Nahimana had been a Hutu extremist and a regionalist. He said that he had known him from his youth. "He was a simple person, humble, courteous and he showed proof of great intelligence", said the witness. The witness also denied prosecution allegations that Nahimana was a member of Akazu, a clandestine organisation allegedly composed of members close to the president. The organisation has been accused of masterminding assassinations of opponents of the then government. "Never. Not to my knowledge", the witness responded when asked whether Nahimana had been a member of the organisation. Furthermore, the witness testified that Nahimana had not been a founder member of Interahamwe militia. The militia, attached to the then ruling party, is widely accused of playing a major role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. 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. Judge Gunawardana was not present for Monday's hearing. GG/CE/FH (ME'0113e)