Famous Singer Charged With Genocide

December 2, 2008

Rwanda (Chattahbox) – Simon Bikindi, one of Rwanda’s most popular and well-loved singers, has been sentences to 15 years in prison for a speech he made during the 1994 genocide, asking the social majority, the Hutus to kill the minority, the Tutsis. The original call from the Tanzanian tribunal for the charge of inciting violence had been for a life sentence. This was partially based on many of Bikinidi’s popular songs which were very outspoken in their hatred of the Tutsis. The judges in the case, however, disagreed, stating that the songs had been written before the genocide, and so only the speech would stand as evidence, throwing out the harsher sentence and instead allowing for the 15 years.

But whether the songs stood in trial or not, the offense is a serious one. According to the judgment, “Simon Bikindi used a public address system to state that the majority population, the Hutu, should rise up to exterminate the minority, the Tutsi.” Afterward he has apparently used the same method to ask passers by if they had been killing “Snakes”, a term he used to refer to the Tutsi minority.

There is no official word of an appeal.


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