Ben Joeng Profile picture
May 26 10 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
TIL about one of the strangest people in recent African history.

Georges Ruggiu, a Belgian of Italian and Belgian extraction, was born to a working-class family, lived with his parents, and worked in civil service until he was 35. At that point, he had befriended a Rwandan... ImageImage
and became fascinated with the country. Within a year, he was rubbing shoulders with the leaders of the MRND (the then-ruling party of Rwanda) in Belgium, and shortly thereafter moved to Rwanda
Within months, despite not speaking any Kinyarwanda, he somehow ends up as a radio presenter for the infamous radio station RTLM and three months later, the genocide begins.
Georges joins his fellow presenters in demonizing the Tutsis, calling them "cockroaches", revealing their hiding places and telling his listeners there were "graves to be filled". He called out human rights advocate Joseph Matata by name. His broadcasts were ~8% of RTLM's airtime
When Paul Kagame's RPF overthrew the Rwandan government, Ruggiu fled with other génocidaires to Hutu refugee camps in Zaire and Tanzania, eventually escaping to Kenya (where he inexplicably converted to Islam) and was finally caught by Kenyan police 3 years later,
and put on trial for his crimes. He accepted responsibility for his part in the genocide, testified against his fellow radio presenters, and in 2000 received a commuted sentence of 12 years in prison.
In 2008 he was flown to Italy to serve out the rest of his sentence, and in 2009 he was released early. His current whereabouts are unknown.
What I find so horrific and fascinating about this story is, how the hell did this guy go from being a loser in Belgium with no connections to Rwanda to being the voice of one of the worst crimes in the 20th century in less than two years?
His wikipedia page is quite extensive:…

This article, from before his sentencing, is also quite in-depth…
excellent analysis by the War Nerd…

(with his usual crassness, fwiw)

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