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Genocide Tribunal Reduces Jail Terms For 3 Execs

Rwanda: UN genocide tribunal reduces jail terms for three media executives

The United Nations tribunal dealing with the worst crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide today reduced the jail sentences of three former media executives convicted for inciting their compatriots to kill ethnic Tutsis.

A five-member appeal panel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which sits in Arusha, Tanzania, upheld the convictions of Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza and Hassan Ngeze.

All three men, in what has been dubbed "the media case," were found guilty in 2003 of committing genocide, incitement to genocide, conspiracy, crimes against humanity, extermination and persecution. They were the first cases of their kind since the Allied Tribunal at Nuremberg at 1946 sentenced Nazi publisher Julius Streicher to death for his anti-semitic publication Der Stürmer.

At their trial Mr. Nahimana, founder and ideologist of the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), and Mr. Ngeze, chief editor of Kangura newspaper, were sentenced to life in prison. Mr. Barayagwiza, a high-ranking board member at RTLM and the founder of the Coalition for the Defence of Republic (CDR), a political party, received a 35-year jail term.

But the appeal judges today said that because of the cancellation of certain findings of culpability against the three men, their jail terms should be reduced: Mr. Nahimana must now serve 30 years, Mr. Ngeze 35 years and Mr. Barayagwiza 32 years.

About 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered, mainly by machete, in less than 100 days starting in April 1994. The Security Council set up the ICTR later that year to deal with the worst crimes.

In a broadcast on RTLM - which became known to some Rwandans as "Radio Machete" - in April 1994, Mr. Nahimana described a "war of media, words, newspapers and radio stations" to complement a war with bullets.

The trial also heard Kangura targeted Tutsis for persecution by regularly stereotyping them as liars, thieves or killers, and depicting Tutsi women as femme fatales who could not be trusted. One Kangura publication labelled any Hutu man who married a Tutsi woman as a traitor.


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