US deports woman who lied about role in Rwandan genocide

US deports Rwandan woman who lied about her role in the country’s genocide to obtain American citizenship after it emerged she ‘was actively involved’ in the killings

  • Beatrice Munyenyezi was stripped of her US citizenship and jailed for 10 years in 2013 after she was found guilty of lying when she secured the naturalization
  • A US judge said she ‘was actively involved’ in the killing of Tutsis in Rwanda 
  • She then lost her bid for a new trial in March and was on Friday deported to the African nation, where she now faces seven charges related to the 1994 genocide
  • Munyenyezi is accused of crimes including murder and complicity in rape 
  • She denied accusations of involvement in the genocide during her US trial 
  • Some 800,000 people were slaughtered during the genocide in 1994

The United States has deported a Rwandan woman who lied about her role in the country’s genocide to obtain American citizenship. 

Beatrice Munyenyezi was stripped of her U.S. citizenship and jailed for 10 years in 2013, after she was found guilty by a court of misrepresenting material facts when she secured the naturalization. 

A US judge found she ‘was actively involved’ in the killing of Tutsis.  

She then lost her bid for a new trial in March and was on Friday deported to the East African nation, where she now faces seven charges related to the 1994 genocide.

Munyenyezi is accused of crimes including murder and complicity in rape, according to Rwandan investigators. She will be detained as investigations continue and her case sent to prosecutors, The New Times reports. 

Thierry Murangira, spokesman for the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation, said her crimes occurred as she was manning a road block in the southern city of Butare. 

Munyenyezi denied accusations of involvement in the genocide during her US trial. She did not speak to waiting journalists as Rwandan police took her into custody when she arrived. 

During the genocide between April and July of 1994, some 800,000 people were slaughtered, mainly from the ethnic Tutsi minority but also moderate Hutus.

Beatrice Munyenyezi, right, walks towards a detainee van under the escort of the Rwandan police at the Kigali International Airport in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, on Friday


Beatrice Munyenyezi was stripped of her U.S. citizenship and jailed for 10 years in 2013, after she was found guilty by a court of misrepresenting material facts when she secured the naturalization. A US judge found she ‘was actively involved’ in the killing of Tutsis. She is pictured Friday in Rwanda after she was deported by the US

In the US, Munyenyezi was convicted of lying about her role as a commander of one of the notorious roadblocks where Tutsis were singled out for slaughter. 

She denied affiliation with any political party, despite the leadership role of her husband, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, in the extremist Hutu militia party.  

Munyenyezi fled to Nairobi, Kenya, with a young daughter in July 1994 in the waning days of the genocide. She gave birth to twin girls there four months later. 

She entered the United States as a refugee and settled in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city.

There she got a $13-an-hour job working for the city housing authority and earned an associate’s degree in college. 

She financed a comfortable lifestyle through mortgages, loans and credit cards, but filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and had about $400,000 in debt discharged.

Her husband, Ntahobali, and his mother were convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes of violence and are serving life sentences. 

Both were deemed to be high-ranking members of the Hutu militia party, which orchestrated the attacks on Tutsis.

U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe, who sentenced her, said Munyenyezi ‘was not a mere spectator.’ 

He added, ‘I find this defendant was actively involved, actively participated, in the mass killing of men, women and children simply because they were Tutsis.’

Munyenyezi denied affiliation with any political party, despite the leadership role of her husband, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, pictured, in the extremist Hutu militia party

McAuliffe acknowledged that Munyenyezi led a crime-free and productive life since her arrival in New Hampshire, but said it was a life lived under false pretenses.

Munyenyezi lost her latest court battle in March, when the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district judge’s rejection of her petition challenging how the jury was instructed during her trial in federal court in New Hampshire.

Her lawyer, Richard Guerriero, confirmed in an email Saturday that Munyenyezi had been deported to Rwanda. She arrived Friday and was handed over to Rwandan authorities, according to state-run media there.

‘Her deportation means a lot in terms of justice delivery to genocide victims,’ said Thierry Murangira, spokesperson for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, according to The New Times. 

Munyenyezi had requested a new trial based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that came in 2017, well after her sentencing, and limited the government´s ability to strip citizenship from immigrants who lied during the naturalization process.

She alleged that the jury was given inaccurate instructions on her criminal liability. A judge denied her request, saying that even if the instruction fell short, the error was harmless.

A Rwandan worker lays the remains of humans in Kigali, Thursday April 6, 2000. The survivors of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide that left more that 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead  excavated mass graves throughout the nation, to give them a decent burial

As part of her appeal, Munyenyezi’s trial lawyers, who are now New Hampshire superior court judges, said in court documents that they would have presented Munyenyezi´s case differently if the U.S. Supreme Court decision had been law during her trial.

They added that they believe if the jury had been instructed based on the court decision, ‘the verdict may have been different.’

‘Having served her sentence and lost her appeal, she was removed from the country,’ Guerriero said in a statement. ‘It is possible a further challenge to her conviction may be filed despite her removal.’

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