TITLE=RWANDA GENOCIDE PLEA (L ONLY)
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
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)
15-May-2000 13:59 PM EDT (15-May-2000 1759 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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