US authorities arrest Rwanda national accused of scheme to conceal involvement in 1994 genocide News
I, Inisheer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
US authorities arrest Rwanda national accused of scheme to conceal involvement in 1994 genocide

The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced the arrest of Eric Tabaro Nshimiye on Thursday for an alleged scheme to cover up his involvement in the 1994 Rwanda genocide to obtain asylum and citizenship in the US.

US authorities assert that Nshimiye participated in a “three-decade scheme to conceal his alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.” Nshimiye allegedly participated in the killing of Tutsi men, women and children during the genocide. The criminal complaint also charges Nshimiye with obstruction of justice and perjury for his testimony in the 2019 criminal trial of Jean Leonard Teganya. In that trial, a federal jury convicted Teganya of immigration fraud and perjury in connection with his application for asylum in the US from Rwanda. 

In response to the arrest, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England Michael J. Krol stated:

Nshimiye is accused of lying to conceal his participation in one of the greatest human tragedies of all time. The charging documents make specific allegations about the murder and rape of ethnic Tutsis committed during his time as a medical student in Rwanda. The government alleges his testimony in the defense of a convicted genocidaire was a calculated attempt to conceal the horrific crimes committed during the genocide, further distancing himself from his participation in these horrific events, and avoiding consequences of his actions.

The Rwandan genocide began on April 6, 1994, after a plane carrying Juvenal Habyarimana, the President of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the President of Burundi, was shot down over Kigali. The genocide lasted for 100 days. During the genocide, approximately 800,000 ethnic Tutsis were murdered, making it the deadliest genocide since the Holocaust. 

Nearly 30 years after the genocide, individuals are still being charged and tried around the world. In May 2023, a special tribunal established by the UN, known as the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), announced the arrest of fugitive Fulgence Kayishema in Paarl, South Africa after 22 years on the run. Additionally, in July 2023, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Alice Nderitu welcomed the life imprisonment sentence that the Paris Assize Court issued to Philippe Hategekimana for his crimes during the genocide.