This case summary is part of a collection of summaries describing the cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). See the Online Resource Hub pages on the ICTR and International Criminal Law, and table of ICTR case summaries for additional information.
Trial Judgment: 3 December 2003; Appeal Judgment: 28 November 2007
In the ICTR’s first conviction of members of the private media, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, founders of the Rwandan media organization Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the Rwandan newspaper Kangura, stood trial for their use of media organizations to propagate extremist Hutu propaganda that encouraged violence against Tutsis leading up to and during the 1994 massacres, as well as Barayagwiza’s participation in the Coalition pour la défense de la République (CDR) and Ngeze’s participation in the killing of Tutsis in Gisenyi prefecture in April of 1994. The prosecution charged each of the defendants with direct responsibility for genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; incitement to genocide; complicity in genocide; and crimes against humanity for acts of persecution, extermination, and murder; and the prosecution charged Barayagwiza with direct responsibility for war crimes for acts of outrages upon dignity and pillage.
In 2003, an ICTR Trial Chamber convicted the defendants of genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; incitement to genocide; and crimes against humanity for acts of persecution and extermination. In 2007, the ICTR Appeals Chamber reversed Nahimana’s convictions on all grounds except for incitement to genocide with respect to his involvement with RTLM; reversed Barayagwiza’s convictions on all grounds except for the charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for acts of extermination and prosecution for his involvement with the CDR; and reversed Ngeze’s convictions on all grounds except genocide, incitement to commit genocide, and aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber reduced Nahimana’s life sentence to 30 years’ imprisonment, reduced Barayagwiza’s sentence of 35 years’ imprisonment to 32 years, and reduced Ngeze’s life sentence to 35 years’ imprisonment.