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DATE=5/15/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RWANDA GENOCIDE PLEA (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-262386 BYLINE=FARAH STOCKMAN DATELINE=ARUSHA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A Belgian radio broadcaster has pleaded guilty at the United Nations Rwanda crimes tribunal to charges he incited genocide six years ago. Farah Stockman reports from the court in Arusha, Tanzania. TEXT: The Belgian broadcaster and former social worker, Georges Ruggiu, told judges at the war crimes tribunal that he regrets his role in the massacre of one-half-million Rwandans six years ago. Ruggiu worked as a news broadcaster on Rwanda's so- called hate radio station. Officials say the station played a key role in inciting Hutus to massacre Tutsis in 1994. Ruggiu is the only non-Rwandan being tried at the U-N court, which was set up to punish genocide in the former Belgian colony. He is the third person to plead guilty at the court. Georges Ruggiu once worked in Belgium with mentally ill children and volunteered his free time with the Red Cross. Former colleagues at the Belgian department of social services describe him as a shy misfit, a crusader for the less fortunate, someone looking for a cause. Ruggiu first visited Rwanda on a holiday in the midst of the country's civil war. His defense lawyers said Ruggiu fell in love with Rwanda and made connections with influential people in the Hutu government. The defense lawyers say Ruggiu became -- as they put it -- intoxicated by the government's anti-Tutsi propaganda. His broadcasts warned Belgians to get out of Rwanda and asked citizens to be vigilant against their Tutsi enemies. In the war crimes tribunal in Arusha, Ruggiu asked for forgiveness from Rwandan victims and from the families of the ten Belgian peacekeepers who were murdered. The U-N war crimes prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, asked judges to sentence Ruggiu to 20 years in prison. The judges will announce their sentence -- should his guilty plea be accepted -- on June First. (Signed) NEB/FS/JWH/KBK 15-May-2000 13:59 PM EDT (15-May-2000 1759 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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