Three Guilty of Genocide in Rwanda Media Trial World - Reuters By Daniel Wallis NAIROBI (Reuters) - Two Rwandan journalists were jailed for life and a third was sentenced to 35 years on Wednesday for fanning the flames of a 1994 genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 people, a U.N. tribunal spokesman said. The verdict ends a landmark three-year trial that heard how the media played a major role in inciting extremists from the Hutu majority to carry out the 100-day slaughter of ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. "All three defendants were found guilty of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity," International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda spokesman Bocar Sy told Reuters from the northern Tanzanian city of Arusha. Ferdinand Nahimana, 53, a founding member of Radio Television Libres des Mille Collines (RTLM), was sentenced to life in prison along with Hassan Ngeze, 42, owner and editor of the Hutu extremist newspaper Kangura. Life in prison is the most severe penalty the tribunal can hand down. "Nahimana chose a path of genocide and betrayed the trust placed in him as an intellectual and a leader," Presiding Judge Navanethem Pillay said. "He caused the deaths of thousands of civilians without a firearm." The third defendant, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, 53, who was also a founder of RTLM and public affairs director in Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Ministry, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. "RTLM broadcasts were a drumbeat calling on listeners to take action against Tutsis," Judge Pillay said. "RTLM spread petrol throughout the country little by little, so that one day it would be able to set fire to the whole country," he said. "HATE RADIO" RTLM, established in April 1993, became known as "hate radio" and many of its journalists were accused of preaching ethnic hatred and encouraging Hutus, who make up about 85 percent of the population, to massacre Tutsis. The court heard how from April 1994, RTLM incited the killers using expressions like "go work," "go clean" and "the graves are not yet full." Georges Ruggiu, a former RTLM reporter, was jailed for 12 years in 2000 after he pleaded guilty to incitement to commit genocide. He testified against the three defendants. "The editorial policy of RTLM was to diabolize the RPF (the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front) and pro-RPF personalities and to prove that U.N. peacekeepers...were biased in favor of the RPF," Ruggiu, a Belgian, told the trial. He said RTLM received information from Hutu Interahamwe militia about operations they planned and "search" notices for people or cars, which were then broadcast on the radio. In Kigali, Rwandan prosecutor-general Gerard Gahima praised the conviction. "The conviction...is a very important development because it shows that the responsibility for the genocide is not limited to those who did the actual killing," he said. "Those who spread the message through the media and told the ordinary people to kill are far worse than people who followed their orders." Dancille Mukandoli, president of AVEGA, a group of women widowed by the genocide said: "I cannot measure their punishment, but the important thing is that justice is being seen to be done and the accused must accept there was a genocide in Rwanda and that they are the ones who are responsible." The genocide ended when the RPF, advancing from bases in neighboring Uganda, toppled the Hutu-led government. Hundreds of thousands of Hutus, including many Interahamwe, fled into what was then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (news - web sites).