Simon Bikindi was born on 28 September 1954 in Rwerere, prefecture of Gisenyi, in Rwanda. At the time of the facts described here, he was a composer, singer and director of the Irindo ballet. He was also a civil servant in the ministry of Youth and Sport, as well as a member of the MRND (Mouvement Républicain National pour le Développement et la Démocratie; National Republican Movement for Development and Democracy).
At the beginning of the 1990s, Simon Bikindi allegedly contributed to a media campaign organised by the government, which was designed to encourage hatred against the Tutsi people. In particular, he was said to have composed and performed songs aimed at the Interahamwe (an extremist MRND militia youth group) and the civilian population in order to encourage them to kill members of the Tutsi people. His works were widely broadcast by the Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (Free Radio and Television of the 1000 Hills).
It was alleged that from April 1994, Simon Bikindi participated actively in massacres. He reportedly recruited members for the Interahamwe militia in the prefecture of Gisenyi, and trained and supervised them. He was also said to have personally ordered the execution of some victims.
Simon Bikindi was arrested in Leiden, Netherlands, on 12 July 2001 and transferred to the UN penitentiary quarters of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha on 27 March 2002.