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Monday, 23 October, 2000, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Rwanda's "hate journalists" on trial
remains of genocide victims
The media played a key role in the 1994 genocide
The trial has begun in Arusha of three men connected with what became known as hate media in Rwanda.

They face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Only one of the accused, former director of hate radio station, Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), Ferdinand Nahimana, appeared at the court.

Another - the former editor of the extremist newspaper Kangura, Hassan Ngeze - was nearby but refused to enter.

The third, a former officer in the foreign ministry and a member of the RTLM planning committee, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, said he was convinced the trial would be unfair.

Since it was set up five years ago, only a handful of people have been judged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which has been beset by legal wranglings.

Killings

RTLM and Kangura were instrumental in inciting people to participate in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, when nearly a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

At the height of the killings, the radio station played an important role in helping Hutu militias track down leading Tutsis in hiding by asking the audience to help them track people down.

The response to these 'phone-ins' was so effective that often their targets would be found and killed within a few hours.

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See also:

19 Oct 00 | Africa
Rwanda's healing process
05 Jul 00 | Africa
UN general's Rwandan nightmares
19 Sep 00 | Africa
Blow for Rwandan journalists
17 Jul 00 | Africa
Rwanda counts its dead
16 Dec 99 | Africa
UN admits failure in Rwanda
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