French author in dock over Rwanda genocide book

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A prominent French writer, Pierre Pean, is on trial in Paris accused of inciting racial hatred in a book on the Rwandan genocide.

Mr Pean wrote that the Tutsis had a culture of lies and deceit, and this had somehow spread to the Hutus.

He said it made investigating Rwanda "an almost impossible task". Some 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in 1994.

A French rights group, SOS Racisme, filed the lawsuit against Mr Pean.

The case against him is backed by the public prosecutor. It centres on four pages in Mr Pean's book Noires Fureurs, Blancs Menteurs (Black Furies, White Liars), published in 2005.

In remarks broadcast on French radio on Wednesday, Mr Pean said he "wrote a book on lies, misinformation, which were, I believe, conducted through extremely elaborate methods, whereby a dictatorial regime wanted people to believe in lies".

An investigative journalist, Mr Pean wrote a bestseller about former French President Francois Mitterrand, among other works.

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