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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

Rwandan Woman Who Became US Citizen Is Accused of Genocide

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.

Genocide Beatrice Munyenyezi, 40, of Manchester, New Hampshire was indicted last week on two counts of lying to obtain her U.S. citizenship.  According to a report from the Associated Press, Ms. Munyenyezi left Rwanda in 1994 after the genocide that killed over 800,000 people.  She entered the U.S. as a refugee in 1998 and became a permanent resident one year later.  In 2003, she was sworn-in as a U.S. citizen.  In all her applications, Ms. Munyenyezi denied any involvement in the genocide.

Now federal authorities have arrested her and issued an indictment.  According to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office:

The Indictment alleges that MUNYENYEZI obtained her U.S. citizenship unlawfully after making material misrepresentations on a number of occasions before and after she came to the United States from the country of Rwanda. In particular, the Indictment alleges that MUNYENYEZI participated, committed, ordered, oversaw, conspired to, aided and abetted, assisted in and directed persecution, kidnapping, rape and murder during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It is alleged that MUNYENYEZI misrepresented these facts in order to obtain immigration and naturalization benefits.

If the blogosphere is to be believed, Ms. Munyenyezi's guilt is far from certain, and the U.S. government along with corrupt U.S. government agents are complicit in an international effort to frame her and other Hutus, while ignoring atrocities committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (the Tutsi rebel group who put an end to the genocide).  While I can accept that Rwandan government leaders do not have clean hands, the effort to re-write history sounds pretty dubious to me.  At the time of the genocide, I was an intern in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. State Department.  We were closely following events in Rwanda, and I don't remember there being many questions about who was murdering whom.  That said, the U.S. government bears the burden of proving that Ms. Munyenyezi lied on her applications, and it will have to submit evidence of her involvement in the persecution.   

Ms. Munyenyezi is not the only person in her family accused of human rights violations.  A United Nations tribunal has also charged her husband and her mother with involvement in the mass murder.  If convicted in the U.S., Ms. Munyenyezi faces up to 10 years imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, along with revocation of her U.S. citizenship.

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  1. Colored Opinions's Avatar
    The Rwandan government has claimed Robert Krueger, former ambassador to Burundi, to be an arms dealer to the FDLR. Leopold Munyakazi was falsely accused in the US, obviously because he had criticized Paul Kagame. Erlinder, lead defense counsel at the ICTR, was arrested in Kigali for "denying the genocide". You don't seem to put things in perspective. Munyenyezi won't receive a fair trial if cooked up proof provided by the Rwandan government serve as basis for this trial. That is the context I would like to read in such an article. Your statement that the current Rwandan leadership doesn't have clean hands is a huge understatement in the context of it's killing fields in Congo. Or do you deny those too?
  2. Jason Dzubow's Avatar
    I'm not sure why you say I am denying anything--it's well know that millions of people have died in the Eastern DRC and that the government of Rwanda has been involved in the war there. However, in this case, there appears to be credible evidence that Ms. Munyenyezi was involved in genocide. Maybe she wasn't. Maybe, as you suggest, evidence has been fabricated, but that is for a court to decide. The sins of the Rwandan government are not relevant to her case--if Ms. Munyenyezi was responsible for crimes against humanity, she should be prosecuted.
  3. Honza Prchal's Avatar
    If the blogosphere is to be believed, Jean Bertrande Aristide is a humanitarian displaced by a Canadian UN plot relying on Brazilian muscle. In such cases, the Internet is not to be believed.
  4. RUBANGURA's Avatar
    I am glad you are a lawyer.I am not am just a Journalist with Rwandan origin who has been following the facts and process of the Rwandan history.First of all.I am for the opinion that all the people who participated in the killing of any human being on the soil of Rwandan and DRC should be brought to books because I believe that no one is above the law and there is no one has a permission to take the life of another being unless it is a self protect.

    I wish you could have a sit and read this story on this link: then you also read what the AP published. You will see the difference between what this woman has been accused of and what she might have done.

    To be honest,I do not know this lady but when I read the accusations,I realized one thing which is common to all genocide accusations that have been charged against all Hutus accused of participating in genocide. Munyenyezi is now 40 which means when she left Rwanda she was 24. To someone woh understand Rwandan culture and upbringing, a lady of 24 cannot go to the road block and kill anyone. So how about raping other women?for heaven sake. I am not against gay society but we did not have lesbians in Rwanda in 1990s so how did she rape other women and yet she is a woman?These are the same accusations that Kagame has been accusing all Hutus. This is like the same figure of 1million people killed that Kagame propaganda started with. How could have died one million people who are Tutsis and yet Tutsis were 14% of all Rwandan population which was only 6million in 1994:If Hutus were 85%, Tutsis were 14%, and Twas were 1% then what is 14% of 6million people?If we are mathematically correct then how come Kagame says that Hutus killed 1million of Tutsis and yet when Kagame shot the presidential jet of Habyarimana all the Tutsis in Rwanda were less than 600,000?then where does Kagame get other 400,000 who died in the 1994 massacre if they are not Hutus?come on.Lets be realistic here.

    Waht I wanted to say is that Rwandan goverment continues to fabricates lies to victimise innocent people like Munyenyezi. She might have lied about her identification because in 1990s the USA government was characterizing all Hutus as genocidaires. I was in Nairobi that time you could not go to USA embassy and say you are a Hutu and be allowed to enter the embassy's gate. She might have lied in this situation to save her life since her husband was being hunted by both Kigali and the victor's court which is the ICTR in Arusha which has been set to torment all Hutu intellectuals and other people who see the truth and are determined to proclaim it as it has happened to an USA lawyer Peter Erlinder when he was accused of being a genocide denier.

    Munyenyezi comes from Byumba province where the RPF rebels led by Kagame killed hundreds of thousands. Majority of this people were Hutus a tribe of which Munyenyezi come from and now Kagame is accusing her of participating in genocide simply because recently she wrote a play narrating her ordeal in the DRC forest when Kagame followed us shooting us with sorts of guns. No body has ever stood up and arrest Kagame who killed two hutu presidents in a terrorist act. No body has ever rendered justice to the 6million people in Eastern DRC killed by Kagame simply because they either come from Hutu community which is found in Masisi of DRC or simply because they are innocent Congolese who oppose to the western countries that come to illegally exploit the country's minerals.

    Munyenyezi is a victim of her social background and I am sure if the USA judicial system is going to work without clintonite interference this woman will be proven innocent. I know even us who are contributing to this website tomorrow you will hear that we are genocide deniers because we oppose dictatorship and imperialism.God Bless Rwanda.
  5. keith harmon snow's Avatar
    Such arrogance. Its the trademark of white supremacy and imperialism.

    keith harmon snow
  6. Jason Dzubow's Avatar
    Rubangura - I appreciate your comments. If she is innocent, it is pretty terrible to be falsely accused of genocide. We can only hope that she has a good legal defense so that justice is done.
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