US sends Rwanda professor to Kigali for genocide trial


Professor Leopold Munyakazi

A professor arrived back in Rwanda on Wednesday after being extradited from the United States to stand trial for his part in the country’s 1994 genocide, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said.

Professor Leopold Munyakazi, who had been living in Alabama and teaching French, is accused of genocide, murder, crimes against humanity and conspiracy to commit genocide, said Faustin Nkusi from the prosecutor’s office. He said the charges related to Munyakazi’s actions in the former Gitarama prefecture.

Ethnic Hutu extremists killed more than 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in a three-month rampage in 1994.

The Tanzanian-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which closed in December 2015, convicted 61 people of involvement in the genocide, including leading military and government officials.

Further cases are being heard by Rwandan courts or a separate body – the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals – backed by the United Nations.

On arrival at Kanombe International Airport in the Rwandan capital Kigali, Munyakazi started naming people he alleged “put me into this”, before police stopped him from speaking to reporters.

Rwandans who fled the country have been convicted abroad or extradited back to Rwanda to face trial.

“This is the fourth deportation from the United States, where we have sent 21 arrest warrants for genocide suspects,” Nkusi told Reuters.

Munyakazi was arrested in 1999 in Rwanda but was subsequently released on bail as the prosecution gathered evidence. He fled to the United States in 2004 before his trial could begin.

Rwanda says it has issued over 600 arrest warrants globally for genocide suspects still at large.


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