After 12 years of dodging the long arm of justice, Dr. Leopold Munyakazi-a genocide suspect has finally been deported from his comfort zone in US and handed over to Rwanda where he will face trial for genocide crimes.
The jet carrying Munyakazi 65, touched ground at Kigali International Airport on Wednesday at 5:40PM. He stepped out of the plane waving his hands. He was wearing white sweat pants, grey t-shirt, canvas and a pair of glasses.
He was accompanied by three US immigration agents who handed him to two Rwandan police officers that immediately handcuffed him.
“It’s all right. Hold me slowly because I am an old man,” he said as police handcuffed him upon arrest orders and hundreds of cameras flashing in his wide open eyes.
Munyakazi spoke in Kinyarwanda and said; “I am happy to have had a good trip and be back in Rwanda. All those who accused me in this case I have already forgiven them.”
Right at the airport, he was informed of his charges before his lawyer whom he was given upon arrival as per the right to have an attorney principle which applies in Rwanda.
Munyakazi, is alleged to have played a major role in planning, mobilizing and execution of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed over a million lives.
He was part of a group of intellectuals at the national university where he openly designed and disseminated ideologies supporting the exclusion of Tutsi in schools and employment.
The suspect is also alleged to have cooperated with the then Bourgmestre (mayor) Jean Mbarubukeye to mobilise mass killings in Kayenzi town, now in Muhanga District.
He was arrested in the 1990s, but released on bail in 1999 with several restrictions as investigation was going on, and he escaped.
According to judicial procedures, police has to introduce Munyakazi to the nearest court from the place where he was arrested within five days for pretrial, and the nearest is Nyarugunga Primary court.
After this period, police will hand his case to prosecution which will also have five days to file a case in court against Munyakazi.
According to the spokesperson of National Public Prosecution Authority Faustin Nkusi, “the case of Munyakazi will be filed at Muhanga intermediate court which has jurisdiction in the area where he is alleged to have committed the crimes.”
He said, “Within ten days we will have filed the case.”
With deportation agreement between Rwanda and US, the latter has so far deported four genocide suspects to Rwanda, including; Enos Kagaba in 2005, Marie Claire Mukeshimana and Jean Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka in 2011.
“They were found guilty and are now serving their sentences over genocide crimes,” said Nkusi.