Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Rwanda: verdict in "hate media" trial due WED

According to the AFP, the verdict is due tomorrow. The "hate media" trial is the case of three men who stand accused of using the media to fuel the Rwandan genocide.

- Ferdinand Nahimana founded Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) which broadcast the call to kill

-Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza was on the board of RTLM and a director of public affairs in Rwanda's foreign ministry

- Hassan Ngeze ran a magazine called Kangura in which he published the "ten Hutu commandments" which called for the extermination of Tutsis.

And if you want even more information ... Internews has done a fabulous job of covering the story ... go to this search page and select "media trial" ... this will bring up a number of articles.

This isn't the first media trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Georges Ruggiu was an RTLM broacaster and was charged with direct and public incitement to commit genocide and Crimes against Humanity. On May 15, 2000, Ruggiu pled guilty to all charges. The following is an bit from the Ruggiu judgment (the judgment also inclues a brief bio of the guy and how he ended up in Rwanda).
(xi) The accused acknowledges that RTLM broadcasts reflected the political ideology and plans of extremist Hutus, particularly members of MRND and the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic ("CDR"). He admits that RTLM broadcasts incited young Rwandans, Interahamwe militiamen and soldiers to engage in armed conflict against the "enemy" and its accomplices and to kill and inflict serious bodily and mental harm on Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

(xiii) The accused admits that RTLM broadcasters, managerial and editorial staff bear full responsibility for the 1994 massacre of Tutsis and Hutu opposition party members.
Ruggiu was sentenced to 12 years in prison, partly due to his remorse ... he had initially denied all charges. Here is a stroy from June 1998 that demonstrates his attitude before his change of heart.
Ruggiu is the only white, non Rwandan to be charged before the ICTR. A recent convert to Islam, he appeared in court in Islamic-style clothing and a headscarf which he used to conceal his face from a photographer. ...

Ruggiu came into contact with Hutu students in Belgium in the early nineties, and according to an interview obtained in violation of ICTR rules and recently published in an Italian newspaper, he became "passionately interested in their cause". According to his indictment, Ruggiu broadcast virulent incitement to Hutus to kill Tutsis in 1994. According to other accounts he is supposed to have told them "What are you waiting for? The graves are empty. Take up your machetes and hack your enemies to pieces."

In the same interview, Ruggiu denied the genocide in Rwanda had been planned, calling it "collective madness". He also said "I defy anyone to produce a recording of me using the word 'kill'".