Arusha, April 21, 2010 (FH) - A founder of Radio Television Libre de Mille Collins (RTLM) Ferdinand Nahimana Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that Joseph Nzirorera, then Secretary General of MRND and his co-top party officials neither participated in the creation of the radio nor used it to present what is described as their ‘extremist ideologies'.

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 "None of the trio formed part of the group set up by 15 persons who created RTLM," Nahimana, who is also a genocide-convict currently serving 30-year-jail term in Mali, claimed before the ICTR chamber presided over by President Dennis Byron, referring to Nzirorera, former MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera.

He was giving evidence as the 34th defence witness for Nzirorera in a joint trial under which the MRND former chiefs are charged with crimes committed by members of their party. The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party then in power.

 Led by Nzirorera's co-defence counsel, Patrick Nimy Mayidika, the witness denied allegations that the RTLM was created to serve as a vehicle for the MRND leaders to present their extremist ideologies.

According to the statute of RTLM, he testified, its central ideology included, among others, to collect information and disseminate it with the view to educating the public.

But he acknowledged that the radio turned away from its principles after the death of President Habyarimana.

He testified that Nzirorera and his co-accused neither had any authority to close down the radio nor had any contacts with its journalists.

 The trial continues Thursday when the prosecution, led by Don Webster, will cross-examine the defence witness.


© Hirondelle News Agency