Simon Bikindi (1954-2018) was a Rwandan hate singer who helped to incite the Rwandan Genocide.
Role in the genocide
Simon Bikindi was born in Rwerere in the Northern Province of Rwanda, the same province where Juvénal Habyarimana and several other future members of the MRND originated from. Bikindi wrote songs such as "The Awakening", more commonly referred to as "I Hate These Hutu" due to the song's focus on Bikindi's hatred of Hutu who supported the Tutsi minority. He also wrote songs accusing Tutsis of enslaving Hutus and calling for the extermination of the Tutsi, several of which were played on Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines to incite violence against Tutsis.
Although there is no evidence that Bikindi participated in the genocide, and he in fact left the country several days before it began (although he did return), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda claimed there was irrefutable evidence that he associated himself with the Interahamwe. Towards the end of the genocide in June 1994, Bikindi used a public address system to "remind" Hutus that they should exterminate the Tutsi "snakes". After the Rwandan Patriotic Front took power and ended the genocide, Bikindi fled.
Bikindi was indicted in absentia for incitement to murder, conspiracy to commit genocide and genocide, or alternatively complicity in genocide. The prosecution claimed that he had written and distributed songs that incited genocide, specifically citing "I Hate These Hutus" as a trigger for violence. He was also accused of participating in the genocide and recruiting for the Interahamwe. In 2001 Bikindi was arrested in the Netherlands and extradited to Rwanda, where he was found innocent of complicity and sentenced to 15 years in prison for incitement to violence. He died of diabetes in December 2018.