ARUSHA 17 May 2002 (Internews) The testimony of Marcel Kabanda, an expert on Rwandan print media, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has been adjourned until 29 May to allow the witness to attend UNESCO meetings in Paris.
Kabanda has been testifying since 13 May against three people charged with using their respective media to incite the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The defense began their cross-examination of Kabanda today.
Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), stressed that Kambanda must return to Arusha before 29 May if his testimony is to be considered by the court.
“If you do not return and there is no possibility of cross- examination we may have to disregard your testimony in its entirety. The chamber would not like to see that happen because your evidence focuses on important matters on which this chamber has to make decisions,” Pillay observed.
Kabanda explained that he has to be in Paris for a board meeting at UNESCO and can only return on 28 May.
He is testifying as an expert witness in the trial of Ferdinand Nahimana, alleged director of Radio Television Libres Des Mille Collines (RTLM), Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, a co-founder of RTLM and Hassan Ngeze, former editor and owner of ‘Kangura’, an alleged Hutu extremist newspaper. All three have denied charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
John Floyd of the United States, lead counsel for Ngeze, and Jean-Marie Biju-Duval, counsel for Nahimana, earlier objected to the postponement arguing that Kabanda ought to be compelled to stay in Arusha to complete his testimony.
However, the court allowed Kabanda to leave but directed him to seek authorization from UNESCO to return to the ICTR before the scheduled time.
The trial is held before Trial Chamber I of the ICTR, comprising Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka De Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka.