Arusha, August 22, 2003 (FH)-The former owner and editor-in-chief of Kangura newspaper, Hassan Ngeze, was Thursday allowed to address the court during presentation of closing arguments in the "hate media" trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). In constant and permanent conflict with his lawyers, Ngeze has on numerous occasions, ever since the trial began in 2000, been allowed to cross-examine witnesses after his lawyers had been through.

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Hassan Ngezes defence team announced Thursday morning that the accused would have 45 minutes to give his point of view, and that the rest of the day would be reserved for closing arguments by the lawyers. Ngeze is represented by John Floyd from the USA and René Martel of Canada. He is accused of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide through his newspaper, as well crimes against humanity. He has pleaded not guilty. Ngeze declared that he had done everything possible to save the lives of many people during the genocide. The accused also said that he had given warning signs in order to prevent the massacres and he subsequently condemned the perpetrators. I condemned the authors of those massacres, and I even named them. Now I am being accused of conspiracy. Conspiracy with whom, he asked. Before Hassan Ngeze took the floor, John Floyd had said that the evidence produced by the prosecutor was "incoherent". He demanded that Ngeze "benefit from every indication of innocence". Ngeze is jointly accused with two founder-members of Radio-télévision libre des mille collines (RTLM), Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. The trial is taking place in 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. KN/AT/FH (ME'0822G)