USA - Reports from the US indicate that an alleged genocide fugitive, Lazare Kobagaya, 82, whose trial started last year, may be deported on conviction.
The accused appeared before a U.S. District Judge on Wednesday for charges including covering up his alleged involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and unlawfully obtaining U.S. citizenship in 2006.
Kobagaya, a Burundian refugee living in Rwanda in 1994, is accused of having actively participated and ordered the killings of hundreds of people in the former Commune of Nyakizu in southern Rwanda before fleeing to the US.
He now lives in Topeka, the capital city of the US state of Kansas.
Reacting to the news yesterday, Theodore Simburudari, the head of IBUKA – the umbrella body of Genocide survivors association, stressed that “very many Burundians” along the southern border were involved in the Genocide and must be quickly tracked and brought before courts of law.
“Many Burundians who were in the areas of Nyakizu, Ntongwe, and neighboring districts played a major role in the massacres there. Many fled to refugee camps in Gikongoro while others immediately left the country,” said Simburudari.
A list of over 600 former refugees suspected of taking part in the Genocide has been submitted to Burundian judicial authorities.
They are discussing whether the suspects should be tried in Rwanda or Burundian courts.
“What is important here is, a Genocidaire, wherever he is, whether he is a Burundian or not, must be brought to trial. There is no excuse whatsoever. We have said this time and again; justice must not be delayed,” Simburudari remarked.
According to reports in the US media, a federal judge is set to decide on whether to exclude evidence seized at Kobagaya’s home last year since his lawyers argue that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents improperly seized the evidence – letters and photographs – that the agents say prove that the accused was in Rwanda during the Genocide.
During his asylum application, he had claimed that between 1993 and 1995, he was living in Burundi.
Kobagaya is scheduled to appear in court again on October 12.