Rwandan singer sentenced to 15 years for role in genocide

December 2nd, 2008 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi/Arusha, Dec 2 (DPA) One of Rwanda’s most famous singers has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for inciting the 1994 genocide, the international criminal court for the genocide in Rwanda (ICTR) said Tuesday.Simon Bikindi was convicted for making a speech in June 1994 in which he urged Hutus to kill the Tutsi minority.

“The chamber found Simon Bikindi guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide for his calls to exterminate Tutsi at the end of June 1994 on the Kivumu-Kayove road,” the ICTR said in a statement on its website.

The ICTR also said that three of Bikindi’s songs were used in 1994 to “promote contempt for and hatred of the Tutsi population, and to incite people to attack and kill Tutsi.”

However, it said that the songs were written prior to 1994 and it could not be proven that Bikindi played any role in the dissemination of the songs during the genocide.

The assassination of Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana May 6, 1994, sparked the genocide of up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Bikindi, who was arrested seven years ago in the Netherlands, was a famous singer, composer and leader of the Irindiro ballet troupe in 1994.

The ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, which was set up to try the most high-profile cases, has convicted 29 people since 1997.

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