Former Rwandan singer found guilty of inciting genocide 02 Dec 2008
The ICTR has convicted Simon Bikindi of direct and public incitement to commit genocide and sentenced the once famous singer and composer to 15 years in prison.

Simon Bikindi (click here for presentation of the case)In its Judgement of 2 December 2008, Trial Chamber III at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) handed down a sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment to Simon Bikindi, a well-known singer and composer in Rwanda in 1994. He was found guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

However, the Trial Chamber acquitted Bikindi on all five remaining counts, including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, murder and persecution as crimes against humanity.

Dissemination of pro-Hutu ideology

The Trial Chamber found that two of Bikindi’s songs were composed with the specific intention to disseminate pro-Hutu ideology and anti-Tutsi propaganda, thus encouraging ethnic hatred. The Chamber determined that three songs attributed to Bikindi were used in a campaign to promote hatred of the Tutsi population and that their broadcast on Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines in 1994 had an amplifying effect on the genocide.

In assessing the sentence to be handed down to Bikindi, the Trial Chamber noted that the accused had abused his stature by using his influence to incite genocide and considered this an aggravating factor. No mitigating factors were found.

Simon Bikindi was arrested in Leiden, the Netherlands on 12 July 2001. He was transferred to the ICTR, which has its seat in Arusha, Tanzania, on 27 March 2002.

Pending the possibility of an appeal, Bikindi will be transferred in due course to one of the seven countries designated to receive persons convicted by the Tribunal.

Press release

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