Reports emanating from the UN-backed tribunal based in Tanzania claim that a famous Rwanda singer, Simon Bikindi, has been handed a 15 years jail sentence for stirring bloodshed during the 1994 genocide.
Prosecutors have however called for the singer to be given a life sentence for his role that claimed over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in just 100 days. The singer’s lawyers are however considering whether to appeal against the sentence.
During the judgement, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said that several of Bikindi’s songs, which were extensively transmitted in Rwanda at the time, had provoked hatred against Tutsis.
Reports claim that the singer’s conviction stems from a speech he made from a vehicle equipped with a public address system encouraging ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis.
In a statement from the UN-backed court, ‘Simon Bikindi used a public address system to state that the majority population, the Hutu, should rise up to exterminate the minority, the Tutsi. On his way back, Bikindi used the same system to ask if people had been killing Tutsi, who he referred to as snakes.’ The statement read.
It was understood that most of the violence inciting songs had been written before the genocide but there was no evidence to suggest that Bikindi had performed or played them in 1994.
According to reports, the most high-profile genocide cases are being tried by ICTR in Arusha. The ICTR has convicted 29 people and acquitted five, since 1997. Bikindi before his arrest was a sports ministry official and he is credited with the founding of the Rwanda’s Irindiro Ballet. He was arrested seven years ago in the Netherlands