Musician Sentenced For Genocide Role
Bikindi, 54, was found guilty by the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of using a P.A. system along roads in Rwanda to inspire Hutu to exterminate the Tutsi, according to the New York Times.
Rwanda’s Hutu majority murdered an estimated 800,000 Tutsi as well as moderate Hutu in 1994. Many were reportedly hacked to death with government-issued machetes.
The panel ruled some Bikindi songs contributed to a propaganda campaign, but the judges said prosecutors had not convinced them the music could be linked to specific killings.
The musician was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the genocide-related charge, making him the first artist to be found guilty of such a crime, according to the Times.
Bikindi was the most famous musician in the country and acted as a Hutu cheerleader at government rallies and on state-controlled radio.
While he argues that neither he nor his songs killed anyone, prosecutors pointed to three that were widely broadcast and sung by mobs while they killed their victims.