Journo gets life for Rwanda genocide

2010-05-10 21:52

Kigali - The former managing editor of a Rwandan newspaper has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted for his role in inciting the country's 1994 genocide, national radio said Monday.

Bernard Hategekimana, known as Mukingo, had published certain articles shortly before the mass killings began that "clearly incited Hutus to kill Tutsis", a rights activist who was there when the verdict was announced on Sunday told AFP.

The decision of a local court in Kigali - a gacaca court in the Rwandan language - was reported on Radio Rwanda.

The local courts, modelled after the old tribunals of village elders sitting on the grass (gacaca in Rwandan), have been charged with judging people - except the key leaders - suspected of participating in the genocide that left nearly 800 000 Tutsis and some moderate Hutus dead.

The ex-editor of the newspaper Kamarampaka was also convicted of putting up a roadblock in a Kigali neighbourhood where several Tutsis were killed.

After the Hutu regime collapsed in July 1994 and the Tutsis took power, Hategekimana took refuge in eastern Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. He returned to Rwanda in the late 1990s but did not go back to work in the media.

Several other Rwandan journalists have also been sentenced for playing a role in inciting the mass killings that took place between April and July 1994.