Journalist jailed for life over genocide

December 14, 2009 12:00 am

, KIGALI, Dec 14 – A former journalist was sentenced to life in prison for her role in inciting genocide in Rwanda, local groups said on Monday, in the latest of a series of trials for the 1994 slaughter.

Valerie Bemeriki, who worked for the influential Milles Collines (RTLM) radio and television, admitted using the network to call on Hutus to seek out and kill Tutsis.

The genocide claimed the lives of some 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis killed by extremist Hutu militia, in the space of just 100 days.

Bemeriki was convicted by a grassroots gacaca court in Kigali of planning genocide, inciting Hutus, and complicity in several murders.

Last Thursday, a gacaca court in Ntyazo, in southern Rwanda, handed down a life sentence to a singer, Juvenal Masabo Nyangezi, who was being tried in his absence, Rwandan human rights activists told AFP.

They said Nyagenzi, who is thought to be living in Europe, was convicted of inciting genocide in the Butare and Gikongoro districts of the south.

Based on the age-old concept of a traditional village council, the gacaca courts are empowered to try those alleged to have participated in the killings and can hand down sentences ranging from community service to life in jail.

Meanwhile renowned Rwandan actor and singer Dismas Mukeshabatware, who was sentenced in October to 19 years in jail, will hear on Wednesday whether his appeal against the verdict has been successful.

Suspected masterminds are being tried by a UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which sits in Arusha, Tanzania.


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