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Arusha, 17 February 2007 (FH) – The Rwandan musician Simon Bikindi, accused of having written songs encouraging genocide crimes, was actually calling for peace and democracy, one of his attorneys pleaded last Thursday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).« We want true democracy », Mr. Jean de Dieu Momo (Cameroon) told the court repeatedly as he summed up the message of one of the incriminated songs. Mr. Momo was cross-examining Jean de Dieu Karagwa, a Rwandan linguist and expert witness for the prosecution whose report concluded in the harmfulness of the artist’s compositions. « Peace on Rwanda, peace on the Rwandan people, peace on the extended family of the sons of Sebahinzi (the father of cultivators), » the attorney continued, trying to demonstrate the wrong interpretation the expert had made of his client’s lyrics. Jean de Dieu Karangwa rebounded and declared that, in the collective unconscious of the Rwandans, Sebahinzi stands for the Hutus - traditionally cultivators – as opposed to the Tutsis – cattle-keepers. « Why not call for peace for Rwanda and its population, period, instead of mentioning a form of tailored democracy for the sons of Sebahinzi », the expert retorted in substance. He insisted that the songs he has analyzed did convey a message of hate. The song entitled « L'alerte » (The alert), better known as « Bene Sebahinzi », is about « open democracy, a weaponless and fraudless democracy which will allow us, the Rwandan population, to choose our leaders; we shall succeed no matter what ». Jean de Dieu Karangwa commented: « I appreciate that he speaks of democracy. If L’alerte stopped after that stanza, then I would give my compliments. But see what comes before ». In his opinion, Bikindi’s songs have a political content « certainly not a peace and love policy but a policy of hate ». The defense team maintains that Jean de Dieu Karangwa has « ill intentions ». They intend to present their own expert witness to the court. Bikindi’s trial opened on September 18th 2006. He pleads not guilty. AT/PB/MG © Hirondelle Agency