The Prosecutor Demands 20 Years against Georges Ruggiu

01 June 2001 by -

After a long, gruelling day of hearings during which the Belgian, former journalist at the RTLM, pleaded guilty to incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, Carla del Ponte demanded a sentence of twenty years imprisonment against Georges Ruggiu. Defence counsel did not request a specific sentence, but clearly indicated that, given the 15 year sentence imposed on another repented criminal found guilty of genocide, Omar Serushago, the sentence against the former radio announcer could not be longer.

After a long, gruelling day of hearings during which the Belgian, former journalist at the RTLM, pleaded guilty to incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, Carla del Ponte demanded a sentence of twenty years imprisonment against Georges Ruggiu. Defence counsel did not request a specific sentence, but clearly indicated that, given the 15 year sentence imposed on another repented criminal found guilty of genocide, Omar Serushago, the sentence against the former radio announcer could not be longer. Georges Ruggiu is the third person indicted by the ICTR to have pleaded guilty and offered to collaborate with the office of the prosecutor. His case has followed a singular course however since, contrary to the two others, he only decided to plead guilty three years after his arrest. The hearing itself was of a different nature, both in the rich oral arguments setting out the process leading Georges Ruggiu to confess, and the Judges' approach to sentencing. Defence counsel, Messrs Aouini and Gilissen, also called a character witness, a former work colleague of their client before he left Belgium for Rwanda.

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