Accused Rwandan hate singer appears before UN tribunal, pleads not guilty

Accused Rwandan hate singer appears before UN tribunal, pleads not guilty

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A well-known Rwandan composer and singer accused of performing songs that incited the Hutu militia to kill Tutsis during the country’s 1994 genocide appeared before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today and pleaded not guilty to five counts of war crimes.

A well-known Rwandan composer and singer accused of performing songs that incited the Hutu militia to kill Tutsis during the country’s 1994 genocide appeared before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today and pleaded not guilty to five counts of war crimes.

Simon Bikindi, 48, is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for murder and persecution.

Mr. Bikindi, who was also an official in the Ministry of Youth and Sports and a member of the Mouvement Républicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (MRND) political party in 1994, is alleged to have participated with others in planning, instigating and preparing the killing of Tutsis apart from playing a major role in recruiting and training the Interahamwe militia to commit the crimes.

He is also suspected of ordering and supervising the killing of Tutsis fleeing to the former Zaire, warning that Hutus helping them would also be killed. In one incident, Mr. Bikindi is alleged to have ordered the Interahamwe to take a group of Tutsi women that were trying to escape to Zaire and kill them.

Mr. Bikindi was arrested on 12 July 2001 in Leiden, Netherlands, by Dutch authorities at the request of the Tribunal and last week was transferred to the UN detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania.

No date has been set for the start of his trial.