Panel 2: Journalism
as Genocide: The Media Trial
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Charity Kagwi-Ndungu, (presenting jointly) Trial Attorneys,
Office of the Prosecutor, ICTR. Prosecutors in the Media
Thierry Cruveilli: Thanks
Thomas, we move on now, with Simone and Charity Kagwi from
the office of the Prosecutor.
Simone Monasebian: I'
m going to present from over here, because I' m going to show
you some of the evidence in the case, and some pieces of the
hate media involved so that you can make your own decision.
So I' ll just step down for a moment. I came the ICTR as a
prosecutor in the year 2000, a true believer in virtually
unbridled free speech. I was a defense attorney and a journalist,
a First Amendment absolutist. The 240 days at trial tested
that on a daily basis. In Rwanda, unlike the United States,
which of course, also has it' s own problems, and is not a
pure democracy, the judiciary was emasculated, was made impotent
by the executive branch. There was not a free marketplace
of ideas, not everybody was given a platform. And while all
of the media that emerged by 1994 came under the guise of
the liberalization of the press, of freedom of speech, of
providing a free marketplace of ideas, it wound up doing the
very opposite. And so what I took away from this case was
that, what may be very well and good in the United States
may not be the same approach that has to be applied elsewhere.
I still believe in the absoluteness of the First Amendment
in the context of the United States, even in the post-9/11
United States, but in the circumstances of what happened in
Rwanda, I don' t think one can responsibly take a First Amendment
I' d like us to look at some of the excerpts
from RTLM Radio so we can see what exactly was being broadcasted
over the radio in 1994 in Rwanda, but before we do so, I think
it' s important to make a distinction. In the December 3 judgment
in the media case, the judges criminalized RTLM radio' s emissions
both before and after April, 1994, and while the broadcasts
after April 6, 1994, by any responsible accounting were clearly
not protected even by a First Amendment absolutist stance,
there is a legitimate controversy as to whether or not the
broadcasts before April 6 were also criminally sanctionable
under international criminal law, and international humanitarian
law. In the ICTR, the judges found that the broadcasts before
April 6 were just as criminal, albeit to a different degree.
Let' s look at a few of them after April
6, and then a few before. So if the booth is ready, I' m going
to be playing sound and video, and we' ll go to the first
clip now. Of course we tested this before, and yet the screen
is frozen. Could … It' s frozen. Okay. In the meantime,
I' ll just speak about something else so we can get this proceeding
It' s not frozen any more thank you. Okay.
What we' re going to be looking at now is a broadcast from
RTLM Radio from June 4, 1994, by one of it' s broadcasters,
FRENCH broadcast (inaudible).
Now for the benefit of you who speak French,
that was excerpt five for the booth, and in the future, I
will say the number of the excerpt so that you can read that.
In the meantime, if the French booth can just read excerpt
five, or maybe we can come back to that later is probably
That instance of talking about the small
noses clearly signified the physical characteristics of Tutsis,
and certainly was a call to exterminate them by RTLM.
Another broadcast talks about standing
up as one man against the Tutsi, and that' s a broadcast from
May 30, 1994, by Gaspard Gahigi who was the editorial director
of RTLM, as well as a journalist, and if the booth can go
to excerpt one, and read that paragraph, I' ll now play that
short one so you can get another idea.
FRENCH broadcast (inaudible).
Okay, I' m sorry that the sound is not
coming out loud enough in that one, but because General Dallaire
spoke today, I think it might be interesting to also see one
in which RTLM mentioned him. General Dallaire, Francois-Xavier
Nsanzuwera, Thomas Kamilindi were among people who were often
targeted by RTLM. If the booth can now go to excerpt number
two, this is a May 31, 1994, broadcast by Kantano Habimana.
FRENCH broadcast (inaudible).
The last thing I' ll leave you with, and
we can maybe in another venue later in the day because I'
m being held to a tight timeline by the moderator, look at
some other transcripts, and play them with better sound quality.
But, in the end, what is the danger of this judgment? Because
as journalists I' m sure that' s probably one of the most
important questions, and is there a risk that this judgment
will be used in an over broad manner with a sweeping effect
to chill speech? I don' t think so, and I think the judges
provided for that by saying the following in the judgment,
and I' m going to read those words to you in closing. The
judges wrote that, “the dangers of censorship have often
been associated, in particular, with the suppression of political
or other minorities, or opposition to the government. The
special protections developed by the jurisprudence for speech
of this kind in international law, and more particularly in
the American legal tradition of free speech, recognize the
power dynamic inherent in the tradition, and the circumstances
that make minority groups and political opposition vulnerable
to the exercise of power by the majority or by the government.
These circumstances do not arise in the present case, where
at issue is the speech of the so-called majority population
in support of the government. The special protections for
this kind of speech should accordingly be adapted in the chamber'
s view, so that ethnically specific expression would be more,
rather than less carefully scrutinized to ensure that minorities
without equal means of defense are not endangered.”
So in closing, the judges looking at who
was being targeted and why, and what their level of power
was in comparison to those who had the speech against them
was a way of noting that these types of cases have to be judged
in a case by case circumstance, and if we do it in that manner,
we will protect the rights of freedom of speech. I' m now
going to pass over to my partner in the case, Charity Kagwi,
to talk a little bit about the print media. Thank you.
Thierry Cruvellier: I'
m sorry it' s going to be pretty short for Charity. It' s
only two minutes. Maybe you' ll have more time with the questions.
Charity Kagwi: Okay, well
since I have two minutes, I' ll have to just rush through
this. Now one of the main issues with regard to Kangura, was
that Rwanda is not a very literate society, in fact, both
expert and lay witnesses stated that Rwanda, perhaps a very
low percentage of them, the people in Rwanda who are literate.
Although the court did not require us to prove that there
was an actual causation between the media to genocide, the
Kangura, and what actually happened, we had a responsibility
to show that there was an actual phenomenal effect in this
highly illiterate society, of the print media. Now how did
we do this? This was done through lay witnesses, some who
were illiterate, who said that they bought Kangura, and they
asked those who knew how to read, to read it to them. Professor
Marcel Kabanda gave evidence, and said that in Rwanda there
is a culture known as oral reporting, in which somebody who
knows how to read will read to his neighbor. Sometimes you
will actually spread the message, you will photococopy it,
and this was a similar that was done in Germany by Doscharmer
(sic) although they were actually highly literate, however,
the figures of publication did not show the extent of the
message, because the message was transmitted in other forms.
I' m being told it' s one minute now.
So I can read for you one particular excerpt
from Kangura that shows perhaps the impact of Kangura, and
this is an expert, interestingly enough that was written in
Kangura but came from Burundi. This is what the Power of the
Hutu president said, “I do not know how to describe
the prevailing situation. When this issue of the Kangura appeared
in some areas of the Bujumbura all the Hutus heaved a deep
sigh of relief. They distributed the newspaper everywhere,
including prisons, to the extent that a copy could cost up
to 1,000 Burundi francs, and that is if you were lucky, because
some people preferred to frame it, so that they could enlighten
their family members. Now this particular issue stated that
when the Tutsis, this is in Burundi, when the Tutsis saw Kangura,
they were struck with fear. So this was the effect that Kangura
was having within not just the central Africa region, not
just in Rwanda, but in the whole central Africa region. There
was fear by the Tutsis all over, and there was a sense by
the Hutus that they were to rise up and defend themselves.
Now can I go on? Okay, Well, I think I
will answer some questions, but the issues rise here as to,
now the extent in which, say a republication, and that is
one thing that has not been dealt with actually, because the
Ten Commandments were not made by Hassan Ngeze. They were
not his publication. He actually republished them, and there
was something that was very interesting also the 19 Tutsi
Commandments, and the only parallel that you can draw between
the 19 Tutsi Commandments that were republished in Rwanda,
were the particles of the elders of Zion in which they drew
upon a worldwide conspiracy by the Tutsis to take over the
central Africa region. That' s the same thing that Doscharmer
(?) did. There was a worldwide conspiracy of the Jews to take
over the world. Now can I have a look at that one. Okay we'
ll do it later.