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GEORGES RUGGIU - Genocidal hate rightly held to account

Ruggiu, a Belgian citizen who pleaded guilty to inciting genocidal killings of Tutsis in Rwanda through radio broadcasts made on the Radio et Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) in Kigali in 1994, was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment.

Ruggiu had also pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity for having persecuted Tutsis, moderate Hutus and Belgians on political or racial grounds through broadcasts made in French but including certain terms in Kinyarwanda – notably inyenzi or cockroaches, applied to Tutsis.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'Today's sentence is a timely reminder that the world will hold to account those guilty of inciting genocide and other terrible crimes.

'Rwandese radio was a powerful tool for spreading genocidal hate during the terrible events of April-July 1994 and today's sentence demonstrates the international community's determination to send out its own message that systematic killing will not go unpunished'.

The former director of RTLM, Ferdinand Nahimana, is currently awaiting trial at the Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania.

In November 1994 the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with jurisdiction extending to genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions committed in Rwanda or by Rwandans in neighbouring states, between 1 January and 31 December 1994.

On 4 September 1998, Jean Kambanda, former Prime Minister of the interim government in Rwanda at the time of the genocide, was sentenced to life imprisonment. On 2 September 1998, Jean-Paul Akayesu, former mayor of Taba commune, was found guilty of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity (including extermination, murder, torture and rape) and sentenced to life imprisonment in a ground-breaking decision that recognised rape and sexual violence as capable of constituting genocide. On 5 February 1999, Omar Serushago, leader of the interahamwe militia in Gisenyi préfecture during the genocide, was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.

These judgements were the first time that an international court has applied the Genocide Convention 1948, sending a message to the international community that genocide will not be tolerated

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