Singer Accused Of Using Music To Incite Genocide
Rwandan Singer Accused Of Using Music To Incite Genocide Goes On Trial At UN Tribunal
New York, Sep 18 2006 5:00PM
The United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda has begun the trial of a well-known singer and composer accused of using his songs to incite supporters to kill Tutsis during the country’s 1994 genocide.
Simon Bikindi, 52, has pleaded not guilty to six charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is based in Arusha in neighbouring Tanzania.
The charges are: conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide, or alternatively complicity in genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; murder as a crime against humanity; and persecution as a crime against humanity.
More than 800,000 people were massacred, mostly by machete, for being ethnic Tutsis or Hutu moderates during a period of less than 100 days starting in April 1994.
Opening his case today, the prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow told the Tribunal that Mr. Bikindi “consciously and deliberately” helped in the plan to kill Tutsis through the lyrics of his music.
Mr. Bikindi, who was also the director of the performance group Irindiro Ballet and an official in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, used his lyrics to incite supporters to join the Interahamwe militia, which carried out numerous massacres during the genocide, and commit such crimes.
Mr. Jallow alleged Mr. Bikindi not only contributed to the atrocities through his music, but took part in the extermination plan himself, including the recruitment and training of Interahamwe members.
The judges hearing the case are Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca of Argentina (presiding), Cameroon’s Florence Rita Arrey and Robert Fremr of the Czech Republic.