First 'Muzungu' convict of Genocide against the Tutsi

Georges Ruggiu, a Belgian national of Italian descent, who was a journalist and presenter of ‘hate’ Radio Television Libres des Mille Collines (RTLM) in Rwanda in 1994, is so far the first non-Rwandan convicted for role in the genocide against the Tutsi.

He worked for the infamous RTLM from January 6 to July 14, 1994. The station was instrumental in inciting Hutus to exterminate Tutsis during the 100 days of slaughter in which over a million Tutsis were brutally murdered.

Ruggiu was arrested three years later in Kenya, and transferred to the Arusha based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) which tried him on two counts namely direct and public incitement to commit Genocide, and crime against humanity.

The court heard that on June 18,1994, Ruggiu made a broadcast on RTLM radio that there remained Tutsis in Gitwe who had not yet been killed. He directed that road blocks be reinforced so no one would escape.

Court evidence indicated that following this broadcast, more than seventy families mainly of Tutsi ethnic group were killed.

The court equally found Ruggiu guilty of persecution as a crime against humanity with evidence indicating that he made broadcasts advancing the theme that the 1959 revolution was unfinished and called for the population to eliminate the Tutsis.

Mr Ruggiu had initially denied any involvement in the Genocide but later pleaded guilty to all crimes for which the court would handed him 12 years in prison in a judgment read on 1 June, 2000.

On February 28, 2008 he was transferred from Arusha to Italy to serve the remainder of his sentence under the agreement made between Italy and the United Nations.

He would later be granted early release on 21 April 2009.

Note: Video was adapted from archives of the ICTR