Kabuga trial: RTLM youth fanatism led to their massive participation in the genocide- witness
A witness in Kabuga’s trial told the court that before the genocide against the Tutsi, young people loved ‘Radio Television des Milles Collines’ (RTLM), like no other radio in that time, which led them to participate massively in the atrocities of the genocide.
With a code name ‘KAB066’, the witness explained that RTLM was the radio for young people and was the only radio they listened to. The witness listened to it non-stop, taking his radio with him even when he went to bars. He explained that he especially enjoyed listening to KANTANO and that they understood that the Tutsi was evil and a bad person, so they hated them.
The witness continued by saying that during the RTLM broadcasts, it was said that Tutsis had always tortured Hutus and that they understood that Tutsis will come and kill them, so they had to kill them first.
Replying to the Prosecution’s question on how these broadcasts made the witness feel, he said that he was excited about it and that he could not even look at a Tutsi. The radio was telling them to hate Tutsis, so they hated them.
The Prosecution then asks if the witness thought that listening to RTLM had an effect on him killing Tutsis during the genocide, to which the witness responded “of course!” He explained that listening to RTLM had greatly influenced his conduct and led him to participate in the genocide by killing Tutsis, although he got along well with them.
He continued by saying that they all thought that RTLM was telling the truth. The witness then added: “I ask for forgiveness from all the Tutsi families and the government and all Rwandans for all those bad things I committed due to RTLM and the political parties who told us Tutsis are evil and that we had to kill them.”
Felicien Kabuga was the President of the Comité d’initiative of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (“RTLM”) during the time of the crimes pleaded in the indictment and President of the Comité provisoire of the Fonds de défense nationale (“National Defence Fund”) from about 25 April 1994 to July 1994.
The trial of Kabuga started on September 29 2022 in the Hague courtroom of the residual mechanism for the international criminal tribunals. The accused is charged with six counts: genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, namely persecution on political grounds, extermination, and murder.