01.11.07 - ICTR/BIKINDI - SIMON BIKINDI « DISGUSTED » BY PROSECUTOR'S ACCUSATIONS

 Arusha, 1 November 2007 (FH) - During the second day of his defence testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), singer Simon Bikindi stated he was "disgusted" by accusations that he participated in massacres during the 1994 genocide.   
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"These accusations are lies invented from start to finish. When I hear these allegations, I am disgusted," declared Bikindi.
The musician, 53, is accused of conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide or complicity to genocide; incitement to commit genocide; murder; and persecution.
 
The indictment notably alleges that "in the second half of June 1994, on an unknown date, Simon Bikindi and a group of Interahamwe (militia) arrived in Gisenyi (northern Rwanda) from (the capital) Kigali and launched an attack against Tutsis in the community of Nyamyumba."
 
"During this period, I did not set foot in that community," the accused protested.
 
The artist further refuted the allegations that he was a member of the Interahamwe militia or an influential member of the MRND, President Juvénal Habyarimana's party.
 
"I was nothing but a simple party member... I was never an Interahamwe, I never carried the least label showing that I was an Interahamwe."
 
On the first day of his testimony Wednesday, he defended his three songs that according to the indictment "were an essential component of the genocide plan."
 
"The common message, it's a message of peace; I invite Rwandans to fight for peace," the accused said, adding that he could not entertain any anti-Tutsi sentiment, as his second wife is Tutsi.
 
ER/PB/SL

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