Global Policy Forum

Genocide Suspect Claimed Power Over Life


Hirondelle News Agency
June 15, 2001

Genocide suspect Hassan Ngeze claimed he had power over life and death during the 1994 genocide, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday.

"Do you know that the power of God has ended and it's now the Interahamwe (militia of the then-president's party) and Impuzamugambi (militia of the hardline Hutu CDR party) who are working," protected witness AGX quoted Ngeze as having said in April 1994. According to the witness, Ngeze added: "We now have the power over life and death."

AGX said he overheard these words as he was hiding in the house of a friend, who was also a friend of Ngeze's. According to the witness, Ngeze had come to inquire whether there were any Tutsis hiding in the house, so that they could be killed. The owner of the house denied hiding anybody there, AGX told the court.

Ngeze was formerly owner and editor of the "Kangura" newspaper in Rwanda. He is on trial with two other suspects linked to "hate media" that incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. The other accused are Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and Jean- Bosco Barayagwiza, a former politician and RTLM board member.

AGX earlier told the court that Ngeze had participated in manning roadblocks in Gisenyi region, northwest Rwanda, to intercept and kill fleeing Tutsis during the genocide.

Ngeze's lawyer John Floyd of the US put to the witness on Thursday that he (AGX) was standing too far from the said roadblocks to recognize a person there. Floyd challenged the witness to admit that he had not seen Ngeze at the roadblock.

However, AGX insisted he knew Hassan Ngeze too well to fail to recognize him from the place where he was hiding. The witness said he was about 30 metres from the roadblock on the first occasion and 60 metres from the roadblock on the second occasion.

Floyd later put to the witness that Ngeze could have, if ever he was at the roadblocks, been doing his work as an investigative journalist.

AGX said that if Ngeze had been investigating at the roadblocks, he would at least have published an article about Interahamwe and CDR killing innocent people. "Then we could have known that he was at the roadblocks to gather information," he told Floyd.

Witness AGX is the 22nd prosecution witness in this trial. He is a 45-five year old Tutsi man from Ngeze's home region of Gisenyi. The witness told the court that he lost his wife, son, father, mother and brother during the genocide.

Barayagwiza's co-counsel Alfred Pognon of Benin and Nahimana's co-counsel Diana Ellis of Britain also cross-examined witness AGX. Ellis will complete her cross-examination when court resumes on Monday.

The case is being heard by 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.

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