US citizen Beatrice Munyenyezi jailed for role in Rwandan genocide
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Tuesday 16 July 2013
A US citizen has been sentenced to a decade behind bars for lying about her role in the genocide that killed more than 500,000 people in her native Rwanda.
In 1998, Beatrice Munyenyezi and her daughters arrived in New Hampshire as refugees. They had been allowed to travel to the US because of the 1994 genocide, sparked by the shooting down of a plane carrying the then president, Juvenal Habyarimana. In 2003 she became a US citizen.
US District Judge Steven McAuliffe sentenced her on Monday, following her conviction in February for entering the country and becoming a citizen by lying about her involvement in the genocide as commander of a roadblock where ethnic Tutsis were targeted for killings. Her husband Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, a leader of the Hutu militia that was behind the killings, was convicted of war crimes by a UN tribunal and is currently serving a life sentence.
Judge McAuliffe said: “This defendant was actively involved, actively participated, in the mass killing of men, women and children simply because they were Tutsis.” He acknowledged that since her arrival in the US, she had been law abiding, but said she had robbed a more deserving refugee of US citizenship.
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