Arusha, May 10, 2010 (FH) - Former Rwandan journalist Bernard Hategekimana, aka " Mukingo", was handed down a life term on Sunday after being found guilty of incitement to genocide through the newspaper he was running in 1994, Radio Rwanda reported.

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According to Nyakabanda's Gacaca court in Kigali, several articles published in Kamarampaka before the genocide were clearly inciting Hutus to kill Tutsis. Bernard Hategekimana was then the paper's Executive Editor.

Moreover, the court concluded that the defendant was manning a roadblock during the genocide in Kimisagara, a neighborhood in Kigali, where several Tutsis were killed.

When the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took power in July 1994, Hategekimana fled to North Kivu (then Zaire, now the DRC).

He came back to Rwanda in the late 1990s but did not resume working in the media.

Several other Rwandan journalists have already been convicted for incitement to commit genocide.

The Gacaca courts, adapted from a form of Rwandan traditional justice, are tasked with trying suspected perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide which left some 800,000  people dead, according to the UN.   These village courts, whose judges are elected from the community, can hand down sentences up to life imprisonment, which is now the maximum penalty in Rwanda. They have so far tried more than a million people


© Hirondelle News Agency