Genocide suspect Mungwarere appears in Canadian court
A case involving a Genocide suspect, Jacques Mungwarere, who was arrested in Canada in 2009, was scheduled to begin yesterday in Canada.
Mungwarere who was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) after a tip-off by a citizen on November 6, becomes the second genocide suspect to be charged on Canadian soil.
He is the second Rwandan to be tried for war crimes in Canada. The first, Désiré Munyaneza, was sentenced to life in prison in 2009, with no chance of parole for 25 years
Mungwarere claimed asylum in Canada in 2001 and was granted refugee status in 2002.
“Since then, Canadian authorities have been investigating the case and they have now decided to take him to court,” said John Bosco Siboyintore the head of Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU).
Mungwarere, a former school teacher who has been hiding in the North American country, was arrested in his home in Windsor, Ontario, following cooperation between the Canadian police and Rwanda’s GFTU.
“The same way the Canadian authorities handled the case of Desire Munyaneza is likely to be the way Mungwarere’s case will be handled. They have a balanced case; both the prosecution and defence have been here and gathered sufficient witness testimonies,” said Siboyintore
Sources from Canada indicate that the suspect faces two counts related to Genocide.
“Mungwarera who taught at a school called ESPANA in the former Kibuye Prefecture, now in the Western Province, is accused of having participated in killings of Tutsi in different areas.
“He participated in killings at Mugonero Hospital, Murambi Adventist Church, and in Bisesero,” said Siboyintore.
How he was tracked
Information reaching The New Times indicates that in the early days of 2003, a certain Hiram Gahima unexpectedly encountered a childhood friend from Rwanda on a Windsor city bus, he immediately knew something was wrong.
Jacques Mungwarere seemed uncomfortable. He avoided eye contact with Gahima and dodged questions about what he’d been up to since the two had last seen each other nearly 15 years earlier.
Mungwarere “mumbled and jumbled” his way through the brief conversation and declined to give Gahima his contact information. Gahima was stumped.
His family and Mungwarere’s were friends living in the same compound in the Kibuye area of Rwanda. He knew Mungwarere and his brother well. They would often hang out and play soccer together.
According to Windsor Star, Alarm bells went off and Gahima began asking around. He came across stories of Mungwarere’s alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, including tales of three survivors and witnesses.
Then, in what Gahima says was “a letter from the community,” concerns about Mungwarere were reported to Immigration Canada and the police.
Gahima’s call led to Mungwarere’s arrest which resulted to his appearing in court yesterday.
Contact email: edwin.musoni[at]newtimes.co.rw