The US homicide rate in 1993 was 9.4 per 100,000 population, double the rate of 4.7 in Africa. Compared to the most violent African nations, our rate was 40% higher than South Africa's rate of 6.6, 80% higher than Rwanda's rate of 5.2, twice as high as Botswana's rate of 4.7, and 2.2 times higher than Madagascar's rate of 4.3. But our nation's capitol's rate of 70 was 11 times higher than South Africa, 13 times higher than Rwanda, 15 times higher than Botswana, and 16 times higher than Madagascar.
The 800,000 Tutsis killed in Rwanda in 1994 increased the homicide rate of Africa's population of 878 million by 91 per 100,000 to 95.7, making this the only year since WWII in which Africa's homicide rate was higher than the rate in our nation's capitol.
The biggest difference between being a murderer in Africa and being a murderer in our nation's capitol is that the ones in Africa have been brought to justice while we suffer from the annual national catastrophe of never bringing to justice the perpetrators of more than 6,000 murders. While African police and prosecutors and judges are finally bringing mass murderers to justice, our police and prosecutors and judges are too busy knocking down doors and even entire homes in their fanciful pursuit of drug addicts (protecting and promoting the illegal drug trade in the process) to be distracted by something as trivial as arresting 180,000 murderers in the US.
Genocide in Africa
Rwandan media executives found guilty of genocide U.N. tribunal says trio used newspaper and radio station to incite Hutu killers.
JUDGED: Radio station founder Ferdinand Nahimana, left, and former newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze listen in court Wednesday. SUKHDEV CHAHHBAR, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By SHARON LaFRANIERE The New York Times
ARUSHA, TANZANIA In the first verdict of its kind since the Nuremberg trials, an international court Wednesday convicted three Rwandan news media executives of genocide for helping to incite a killing spree by machete- wielding gangs who slaughtered about 800,000 Tutsis in neighboring Rwanda in early 1994.
A three-judge panel found that the three defendants used a radio station and a twice- monthly newspaper to inflame ethnic hatred that eventually led to massacres at churches, schools, hospitals and roadblocks.
The radio station, dubbed Radio Machete in Rwanda, guided killers to specific victims, broadcasting the names, license plate numbers and hiding places of Tutsis.
The Rwanda genocide is considered one of the worst ethnic killings since the Holocaust. In 100 days, an estimated 10 percent of the Tutsis in Rwanda were wiped out, along with many moderates among the Hutus, who make up the majority of the population.
The efficiency of the killers, who chased down the Tutsis at roadblocks and in the streets with sharpened sticks, nail-studded clubs and grenades, surpassed even that of the Nazis, some historians contend.
The United Nations, which failed to intervene during the genocide, set up the tribunal three months afterward to bring those who led the massacres to account.
The verdict was the first conviction of news media executives for crimes of genocide since 1946, when the famous Nuremberg tribunal sentenced the Nazi publisher Julius Streicher to hang for his vitriolic campaign against the Jews. The Arusha judges sentenced two defendants to life in prison and the third to 27 years, reducing it from the life term they said he deserved because his rights were violated early in the case.
"The power of the media to create and destroy human values comes with great responsibility," the court said in a 29-page summary of its judgment. "Those who control the media are accountable for its consequences."
Elated prosecutors heralded the decision as a significant victory. "This is really a groundbreaking decision," said Stephen Rapp, one prosecutor in the case.
"This is going to change things," said another prosecutor, Simone Monasebian.
John Floyd, who defended one of the executives, newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze, denounced the verdict as a major setback for free speech and an invitation to dictators to close down any media outlet that is out of favor.
"This is a terrible, terrible decision, the worst decision in the history of international justice," Floyd said. "This is very, very dangerous. This case would have been laughed out of an American court."
Two of the defendants, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean- Bosco Barayagwiza, were founders of RTLM radio station, which prosecutors said had a huge influence in a country where people primarily rely on the radio for news. The principal issue of the case against the two was the question of whether they wanted to create a frenzy of violence, or simply failed to control the station.
The judges found that both men, as well as Ngeze, the newspaper editor, had to know that the broadcasts and articles would unleash violence given the political climate in Rwanda at the time.
They cited the words of one witness who testified: "What RTLM did was almost to pour petrol, to spread petrol throughout the country little by little, so that one day it would be able to set fire to the whole country."
Judge Navanathem Pillay said: "You may have been motivated by your sense of patriotism and the need you perceived for equity for the Hutu population, but instead of following legitimate avenues of recourse, you chose a path of genocide."
Nahimana's attorney, Jean- Marie Biju-Duval, said the judges disregarded a raft of witnesses who testified that his client had only a slender connection to RTLM.
"He was convicted as a symbolic scapegoat," he said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Associated Press contributed to this report.