27.02.08-ICTR/BIKINDI - RWANDAN FORMER STAR BIKINDI TO MAKE CLOSING ARGUMENTS BEFORE UN COURT IN MAY

Arusha, 27 February 2008 (FH) - The former Rwandan star singer, Simon Bikindi, prosecuted for genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will make his closing arguments on 28 and 29 May, reports Hirondelle Agency.
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Before the hearing, the judges will visit from 14 to April 18 the alleged sites of crimes committed by the accused.

Bikindi is primarily accused for his three songs -- Twasezereye ingoma ya cyami (We Said Good-Bye to the Monarchy) performed for the first time in 1987 during the 25th anniversary of independence, Akabyutso (The Small Awakening) and Impuruza (Alarm) composed in 1993. Bikindi defended the songs himself on the stand.

During the trial, both parties called expert witnesses who made divergent interpretations of the songs.

The composer-and-writer is also accused of having supervised massacres of ethnic Tutsis in his native prefecture of Gisenyi, northern Rwanda.

The artist faces charges of genocide, commit genocide or complicity to genocide, incitement to commit genocide, murder and persecution.

The trial is presided by Argentinean Judge Ines Weinberg de Roca. Other judges are Cameroonian Florence Rita Arrey and Czech Robert Fremr.

The prosecution rested its case on 22 February 2007 and the defence on 7 November. The trial began on 18 September 2006.

ER/PB/MM/GF
© Hirondelle News Agency