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United States government deports genocide suspect to Rwanda

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The United States government has extradited Rwandan scholar Leopold Munyakazi, accused of being a key figure in the 1994 genocide that claimed more than 800,000 majority ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus lives, to Rwanda.

The genocide fugitive arrived at Kigali International Airport on Wednesday evening aboard a U.S. chartered plane, at 6:00 p.m. (local time) from the United States. The deportation ends his 12-year stay there.

Munyakazi, considered one of the key ideologues of the 1994 genocide, is accused of complicity and conspiracy to commit genocide and murder as crimes against humanity during genocide, according to Rwanda Public Prosecution Authority (RPPA).

At the airport, Rwanda police and prosecution authority received Munyakazi, who had been held at Alabama prison of the United States after he lost an immigration case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The 65-year-old academician is said to be one of the main intellectuals who helped design the systematic segregation of ethnic Tutsis in schools and employment during the genocidal regime.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the arrival of the genocide suspect, Faustin Nkusi, a spokesman for Rwanda’s state prosecutor said that, Munyakazi will be charged with genocide and complicity to commit genocide as crimes against humanity.

“This is one of the biggest steps in bringing to books genocide perpetrators. He will answer all the charges against him. We thank the U.S. government for being cooperative in this case,” he noted.

According to prosecution authority, Munyakazi will be held provisionally by Police for five days at Kicukiro Police Unit as prosecution concludes his indictment.

In September last year, the commission wrote to the U.S. government seeking Munyakazi’s extradition, making it clear their concerns should be brought to the attention of the U.S. immigration department.

The government of Rwanda issued two arrest warrants against Munyakazi in 2006 and 2008.

He was last year arrested by the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement department, but it had remained unclear whether he would be tried in the U.S. or extradited to Rwanda.

The U.S. had previously extradited or deported four genocide suspects in total to Rwanda.

Munyakazi arrived in the United States in 2004 and sought asylum but embraced genocide denial campaigns with speeches calling the genocide a fratricide, or just an accidental killing of one’s brother.

He holds a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees in French and African linguistics. He was a French teacher at University of Delaware and MontClair respectively.

Presently nine people accused of committing genocide have been extradited from Uganda, DR Congo, Canada, United States and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to stand trial in Rwanda.

The top fugitives who have eluded justice for nearly two decades now include Felicien Kabuga, the alleged chief financier of the Genocide; Protais Mpiranya, the former commandant of the notorious Presidential Guards, and former defence minister Augustin Bizimana.

Rwanda’s prosecution says Zimbabwe and DR Congo are among the countries still reluctant to surrender suspected genocidaires.


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