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Arusha, January 18th 2007 (FH) –The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ended Thursday the hearing of the three former media bosses Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza and Hassan Ngeze, convicted by a trial chamber. The hearing opened last Tuesday. Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, both academics, belonged to the Steering Committee of the Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and Hassan Ngeze was the self-taught director/chief editor of the Hutu radical paper, Kangura. In December 2003, Nahimana and Ngeze were sentenced to life imprisonment, Barayagwiza to 35 years in prison. All three had notably been declared guilty of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide through their media. As he took the floor before the end of the trial, Nahimana, a former history professor at the National University of Rwanda (NUR), told the court about the role he had played in the creation of the RTLM. « I have contributed, with other men, to create the RTLM in order to promote freedom of speech in a modern democracy », he said. He maintained that the shows had been totally devoid of malevolence up until the eve of April 6 1994. He admitted that some shows aired after that day « contain calls to hate and extermination ». He emphasized the fact, however, that he had never been the director of the radio. Before he started defending his own paper, Nahimana’s co-defendant, Hassan Ngeze, asked the court to reject the recent report of the anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière which connects the sitting President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, to the assassination of his predecessor Juvénal Habyarimana. « This tribunal and the international community should give President Paul Kagame a chance and reject Judge Bruguière’s accusation », he said before adding that the sitting president « has defeated the evil of 1994 and put an end to the genocide ». Eventually, after he expressed his doubts on the equity and independence of the ICTR, Barayagwiza started discoursing on History. « I still believe that History will have the last word (…) Of course History is written by the mighty » but History « one day finds and sets straight the deceptions of the mighty », he concluded. Earlier in the day, the counsels for the prosecution followed one another to highlight again the « conspiracy » in preparation of the genocide between the three appellants on one hand, and between the RTLM and Kangura on the other. The day of the judgment in appeal, probably in May, will be announced at an ulterior date. MG/ER/PB © Hirondelle News Agency