The president of Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), a advocacy group for the1994 Genocide survivors, has said taking French author, Pierre Pean, to court over his allegedly ‘racially prejudiced’ writings could have been an ill advised step as it has gained his book unmerited popularity.
In reaction to Pean’s recent acquittal on appeal, Alain Gauthier, believes that taking the French author to court was an uninformed risk.
“While the case against Pean was justified given his racist writings, it is important to note that it was a trial almost lost before it begun,” Gauthier explains.
“It is difficult indeed, in France, in the name of freedom of expression, to convict a journalist.”
Explaining the unforeseen or previously ill advised decision, Gauthier explains that taking the ‘racist’ author to court, instead resulted in his recent acquittal and made him appear as a victim, not mentioning the publicity that has newly been given to his ‘racist’ book.
Gauthier had previously stressed these fears during an interview on Radio Contact FM, where he strongly recalled the risks brought on by those who filed the complaint against Pean.
“I am obviously not delighted by this decision by the French justice, I strongly condemn the words of Pean, but it should not have gone to court. We had more to lose than win.”
Gauthier says lawyers are now set to go to the Supreme Court, expose flaws in the case and start all over again.
Pierre Pean stood trial in Paris where he was charged by French rights group, SOS Racisme, with inciting racial hatred in his writing about the Rwandan genocide.