The Rwandan government says it welcomes the deportation of yet another genocide suspect by the United States, to Rwanda, to face trial, despite the North American country recently coming under scrutiny for failing to correctly name the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,
Beatrice Munyenyezi arrived in Rwanda on Friday evening from the U.S, aboard a KLM flight and upon arrival she was handed over to Immigration authorities and Rwanda Investigation Board (RIB), before she was handcuffed and transferred to a detention facility.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye said in an interview with KT Press that the deportation of Munyenyezi, who was wanted in Rwanda for genocide crimes, is a positive step and that Rwanda is ready to continue working with the U.S and other countries to ensure that suspects are deported to have their day in court in Rwanda or at least be tried in their host countries.
“We applaud the decision to deport her. We are happy that the United States has deported yet another Genocide suspect so she can have her day in court. We applaud their contribution to justice,” Busingye said, urging other countries harbouring genocide suspects to follow suit.
Minister Busingye said that the U.S worked with Rwandan institution to obtain evidence and more details about the suspect previously found guilty of lying about herself and her role in the genocide to obtain American citizenship in a fraudulent manner.
“We will continue working with them to apprehend other fugitives that might be on United States soil. We also hope that this is a lesson for other countries on whose territory fugitives might still be hiding,” Busingye told KT Press.
The U.S and the UK have recently been under scrutiny for blatantly refusing to use the proper wording of “the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi”, preferring to use phrases such as “the Rwandan Genocide”, “Mass atrocities” and others, instead of the designated wording.
Though Busingye could not comment on the matter, he affirmed the wording of the genocide that took place in Rwanda, which Munyenyezi and others are accused of committing, has never been in doubt.
“The Genocide against the Tutsi is an undisputed fact of history, recognised as such by the UN and taken judicial notice of by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Attempts to substitute other names for it are based on other motivations, not the facts.” Minister Busingye said.
The U.S has previously deported three genocide suspects to Rwanda to face trial, including academic Leopold Munyakazi in 2016, Marie Claire Mukeshimana in 2013, Jean Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka alias Zuzu in 2011 and Enos Kagaba in 2005.
Genocide related charges await Munyenyezi, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2013, for lying about her background and hiding her family’s role in the genocide in the former Butare Prefecture, now Huye District.
According to Dr. Thierry B. Murangira, the RIB spokesperson, they already had a file on Munyenyezi and she will formally be presented to Prosecution to press charges against the 51-year-old.
“Her deportation means a lot in terms of justice delivery to victims of the genocide against the Tutsi because our case files were already in place,”
“She is suspected of committing seven offenses including murder as a genocide crime, conspiracy to commit genocide, planning of the genocide, incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination and complicity in rape,” Dr. Murangira said.
He pointed out that all those charges are supported by various acts wherein, on various occasions, she was seen on a roadblock, participating in checking of national IDs to identify Tutsis to be killed.
Dr. Murangira said that on April 25, 1994, at a roadblock mounted at Ihuriro Hotel in the now Southern Province district, she could identify Tutsis and hand them over to Interahamwe militia to be raped.
“Herself she got involved in the shooting, with a pistol, of a Catholic nun after handing her over to Interahamwe for rape,” Murangira said, adding that she will be detained at Remera Police station as she awaits the due process.
Munyenyezi was convicted for giving false statements to officials in order to cover up how she selected Tutsis to be raped and murdered, ordering that she be deported when she completes her 10-year sentence.
Munyenyezi had settled in Manchester, New Hampshire, with three young daughters in 1998 after claiming to have been persecuted in Rwanda.
She was a daughter-in-law of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who served as the minister of family and women’s affairs in the then government which planned and executed the Genocide. She was a wife to Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, who was a leader of the Interahamwe militia at the forefront of the murders.
Nyiramasuhuko, was the first woman convicted by the ICTR where she received a life sentence after being convicted of seven charges including genocide, crimes against humanity and incitement to rape. Her trial heard how she told militiamen “before you kill the women, you need to rape them”.
She is said to have ordered petrol poured over a group of women who were then burned to death after being raped. Munyenyezi’s husband, Ntahobali, also received a life sentence. Munyenyezi’s appeal against this ruling was rejected by an appeals court in 2017.