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Former Rwandan Radio Director Sentenced to Jail for War Crimes


A U.N. tribunal has sentenced a former Rwandan militia chief and media director to six years in prison for war crimes committed during the country's 1994 genocide.

Joseph Serugendo, formerly on the board of Rwanda's radio station, Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines, or RTML, had pleaded guilty to incitement to commit genocide.

The radio station's broadcasts have been singled out as a significant factor in the genocide, which left more than 800,000 people dead.

In a statement released Friday, the tribunal said the panel of judges who sentenced Serugendo recognized the severity of his crimes, but also took into account his guilty plea and his cooperation with the prosecution.

It said Serugendo's actions in court may encourage others to acknowledge their involvement in the genocide.

The tribunal also noted that Serugendo has recently been diagnosed with a fatal illness and is in fragile health.

Twenty-eight people have been tried since the court was established in Arusha, Tanzania. Twenty-seven trials are underway, and 14 detainees are waiting the start of their trials.

Earlier this week, Rwandan President Paul Kagame criticized the court, saying it is not trying enough cases, is employing people allegedly implicated in war crimes, and is spending too much money.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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