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U.S. Deports Baltimore Professor to Rwanda to Face Genocide Charges

September 30, 2016 at 03:19 pm | News

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

September 30, 2016 at 03:19 pm | News

Prof. Leopold munyakazi, who is accused of instigating deadly Rwandan genocide. SF Bay View

Baltimore-based Rwandan professor, Leopold Munyakazi, was on Wednesday deported to Rwanda by U.S. authorities to answer to charges of instigating the infamous Rwandan genocide, according to NBC News.

The 65-year-old professor arrived at Kigali International Airport on Wednesday in the company of U.S. officials, who handed him over to Rwandan police.

Munyakazi fled Rwanda in 2004 and sought asylum in the United States where he taught French at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. He was suspended from the school in 2008 after the government of Rwanda issued a warrant of arrest against him, asking the U.S. to deport him.

Key Genocide Mastermind

The university professor is accused of actively participating in the deadly 1994 genocide that left close to 1 million people dead.

Rwanda’s prosecutor-general, Richard Muhumuza, accuses Munyakazi of being a key ideologue of the genocide. The prosecution argues that the accused shot and killed Felicien Ugirashebuja, a resident of Kirwa village in the southern district of Muhunga, according to NBC News.

They also accuse him of participating in supervision of roadblocks, where Tutsis and moderate Hutus were identified and killed. The indictment further alleges that Munyakazi gave a public speech on 19 April, 1994, where he urged Hutus to kill Tutsis.

However, Munyakazi has continuously denied these charges, maintaining that he is innocent. The decision to extradite him was reached after he lost an appeal against the indictment, in which he argued that he would be tortured if he returned to Rwanda.

Deadliest Genocide

The violence broke out in April 1994 after a plane carrying the then Rwandan President Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali.

Hutus accused the Tutsis of being behind the plane attack and immediately violence against Tutsis and moderate Hutus ensued.

Most killings happened in homes and at roadblocks mounted by Hutu extremists across the country.

In a span of 100 days, at least 800,000 people had been killed. Women and young girls were systematically and violently raped.

Security forces, including the army, encouraged civilians to take up arms and wage war against their fellow countrymen. At least 200,000 people are estimated to have participated in the violence.

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