Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Rwanda: "hate media" trial drawing to a close

Today, prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda finished their closing arguments in the trial of three men accused of enabling/urging on the Rwandan Genocide through radio, TV, and newspapers -- hence, the "hate media" trial. The defence is expect to begin its summation on Wednesday.

The three men are:
[Ferdinand] Nahimana, a former history professor and government propaganda chief, helped found Radio-Television Libre Mille Collines in 1993.

This provided a megaphone for the Hutu extremists who carried out the massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus who sided with the Tutsis.

[Jean Bosco] Barayagwiza, the former director of political affairs at the Rwandan foreign ministry, helped found an extremist anti-Tutsi political party, and was a board member of Radio Mille Collines.

Hassan Ngeze was the editor of a newspaper called Kangura, whose violent tracts against the Tutsis were aired or discussed on the radio.

... A Belgian journalist, George Omar Ruggiu, who worked for Radio Mille Collines, pleaded guilty to inciting killings and received a 12-year prison sentence in June 2000.
Radio in particular played a huge role during the Rwandan Genocide. People got the order to start the killing through radio broadcasts. The broadcasters told people where to go, which high profile people to target, and where people were said to be hiding and what cars they were driving. And before the actual bloodletting began, the hate mongers used TV, radio, and newspapers to stoke the hatred.

The three men are charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and complicity in genocide.

The prosecution alleged that Barayagwiza and Nahimana especially were very powerful within the Rwandan administration which orchestrated the Genocide.
The prosecutor talked of one incident where a government prosecutor had told his subordinate not to pursue RTLM after learning that Nahimana was involved in the radio station.
Note, if you need to book interviews... the names of the lawyers defending the three men are listed in the above article. They hail from France, UK, and Canada.