US urged to deport Leopold Munyakazi

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has called on the US government to immediately extradite Genocide suspect Leopold Munyakazi, who has been hiding in the states since 2004.
Students pay their respects by a mass grave at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Gisozi. (File)
Students pay their respects by a mass grave at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Gisozi. (File)

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has called on the US government to immediately extradite Genocide suspect Leopold Munyakazi, who has been hiding in the states since 2004.

In a statement, released yesterday, CNLG urged the US to end impunity by deporting the suspect to face justice for his alleged role in the planning, mobilising and execution of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Munyakazi is accused of being in a clique of intellectuals at the former University of Rwanda who openly designed and disseminated ideologies supporting the exclusion of Tutsi in schools and employment.

The statement further said that, in collaboration with some lecturers at the varsity such as Laurien Uwizeyimana, Maniragaba Balibutsa and Ferdinand Nahimana, Munyakazi wrote and publicly disseminated writings aiming at demonising Tutsi and supporting violation of their right to education and employment.

“One evidence of this ideological commitment of Munyakazi in supporting politics of hate and exclusion is an article he published in 1991 in Dialogue No. 146 of May-June 1991, where he argued that 90 per cent of Tutsi be excluded from schools and jobs.

“The support given by an intellectual with an oppressive regime contributed to radicalisation that led to the preparation of the Genocide perceived as a final solution to a political problem,” the statement reads in part.

How Munyakazi executed killings

The statement, signed by CNLG executive secretary Jean Damascene Bizimana, states that during the Genocide, the suspect cooperated with the then bourgmestre (mayor) Jean Mbarubukeye to mobilise mass killings in Kayenzi town, now in Muhanga District.

“He ordered the Interahamwe militia to engage in hunting any Tutsi wherever they were, and that they should distinguish themselves from the Tutsi by wearing banana leaves.

“After draping banana leaves, they were divided into two groups and Munyakazi was part of the group that went to kill Felicien Ugirashebuja,” the statement adds.

Munyakazi was recently arrested by the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement department, but it remains unclear as to whether he will be tried in the US or extradited to Rwanda.

While the 65-year-old former professor at Goucher College in Baltimore is reported to have been released on bail after five years (1994-1999) in Rwanda, CNLG disputes this, saying the man was never cleared of his alleged crimes.

“These are lies without foundation whose sole purpose is to convince US officials not to extradite him,” states the release.

“(His deportation and trial) would be a lesson to those who thought they will be able to escape and evade justice after having planned and committed the gravest crimes of genocide. And that’s when justice will be served.”

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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