ARUSHA 15 May 2002 (Internews) An expert witness for the prosecution in the so-called “Media Trial” today told judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that compared with other newspapers published in Rwanda before the genocide, only ‘Kangura’ published stories and cartoons depicting ethnic Tutsi as “the enemy of the country.”
Marcel Kabanda, a Rwandan historian based in Paris, is testifying against Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editor of Kangura, and Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, both founder members of Radio Television Des Mille Collines (RTLM). All three have denied using their respective media to incite the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
The prosecution has alleged that Kangura and the RTLM incited ethnic Hutu to take up arms against ethnic Tutsi, leading to the April-June 1994 genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives.
Led by prosecutors Charity Kagwi of Kenya and Simone Monasebian of the United States, Kabanda read out selected excerpts of Kangura and gave his interpretation of several cartoons published in Kangura.
“Kangura identifies the external enemy as the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and the Tutsi living in Rwanda as the internal enemy of the country,” Kabanda testified when asked about an article published in the Kangura issue No 55 in January 1994. The title of the article is ‘Who Will Survive the March War?’. Kabanda explained that the newspaper was alluding to an imminent war in which the attackers would be RPF soldiers “housed at the CND building” in Kigali.
Monasebian questioned Kabanda on the impact stories published in eight Rwandan newspapers, including Kangura, had on Rwandans. The witness responded that Kangura publishes articles that advocated the persecution of ethnic Tutsi and sympathizers of the RPF.
Kabanda said that articles in Kangura at times endangered the lives of those mentioned, as they were characterized as sympathizers of the “Inyenzi Inkotanyi” (derogatory terms used to refer to Tutsi).
At the start of today’s proceedings, Ngeze sought the chamber’s permission to sit next to his counsel, John Floyd of the United States, saying that he has 45 questions he has prepared regarding Kabanda’s testimony and that his current sitting position denies him the opportunity to point out the questions to his lawyer. The judges said they would consider Ngeze’s request in due course. Ngeze sat in his usual position behind his counsel throughout today’s proceedings.
Ngeze, Nahimana and Barayagwiza have denied charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Jean Marie Biju-Duval of France and Diana Ellis of the United Kingdom represent Nahimana and Giacomo Caldarera of Italy and Alfred Pognon of Benin represents Barayagwiza.
Kabanda continues to testify 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.