US grand jury indicts Rwanda man for allegedly concealing role in 1994 genocide News
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US grand jury indicts Rwanda man for allegedly concealing role in 1994 genocide

A US federal grand jury has brought an indictment against Eric Nshimye for his alleged concealment of his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide to obtain asylum and citizenship in the US. The Tuesday indictment outlined accusations against Nshimiye, spanning falsifying information, obstructing justice and committing perjury in connection with his immigration to the US. Nshimiye was previously arrested by federal authorities on March 21.

According to the charging documents, Nshimiye stands accused of engaging in grave offenses during the 1994 atrocities as a medical student at the University of Rwanda, including striking Tutsi victims with a nail-studded club and then killing them with a machete. Additionally, he is alleged to have participated in the rape of Tutsi women during that period.

Nshimye also allegedly made several fraudulent statements and committed perjury. The indictment asserted that he fled to Kenya in 1994 amid the conflict and later misrepresented his background to US immigration authorities. These alleged falsehoods, spanning several decades, are said to have facilitated Nshimiye’s refugee status in 1995 and subsequent acquisition of US citizenship in 2003.

The indictment further suggested that Nshimiye committed perjury during a 2019 trial involving similar allegations of immigration fraud and perjury against Teganya, Nshimiye’s former medical school classmate and a member of the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND).

Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England Michael Krol suggested that his testimony in the defense of Teganya was a “calculated attempt” to conceal his involvement in the atrocities and avoid the consequences of his actions. Along with the indictment, acting US Attorney Joshua Levy of Massachusetts said, “Our refuge and asylum laws exist to protect true victims of persecution — not the perpetrators. The United States will not be a safe haven for suspected human rights violators and war criminals.”

Shortly before the 1994 Rwanda Genocide took place, the country was under the Arusha Accords between the Rwanda government and the Rwandese Patriotic Front. The assassination of then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana and then Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira on April 6, 1994, broke the fragile peace and triggered the 100-day genocide. The atrocities primarily targeted Tutsi civilians and moderate Hutus.

The UN Security Council set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, later replaced by the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, to process criminal prosecutions of genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law in Rwanda in 1994. The tribunal delivered verdicts against people responsible for committing genocide for the first time in history. Since its establishment, 93 individuals have been indicted 62 have been sentenced.