01/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rwandan Musician Convicted of Genocide for Making Songs of Hate

The New York Times reports that a famous Rwandan musician, Simon Bikindi, has been convicted of incitement to genocide and sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the hate campaign against Tutsi that led to the 1994 genocide.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Mr. Bikindi guilty of using a public-address system along roads in Rwanda in June 1994 to call on Hutu to rise up and exterminate the Tutsi.

The panel of judges said some of Mr. Bikindi's songs had played a role in a propaganda campaign to promote contempt for the Tutsi population, and to incite Hutu to attack and kill Tutsi.

But they said prosecutors had not proved that Mr. Bikindi's music could be linked directly to any specific attacks or killings.

Mr. Bikindi, 54, is the first entertainer to be found guilty of a genocide-related charge. Prosecutors had singled out three of Mr. Bikindi's popular rap lyrics promoting ethnic hatred, which they said had been widely broadcast and were sung by mobs as they killed their victims.