The United States government was, by press time, deporting Genocide suspect Leopold Munyakazi, it has emerged.
Munyakazi, considered one of the key ideologues of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, is expected to be handed over to Rwandan authorities today, according to Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza.
“According to information I have, he is supposed to arrive here (Kigali) tomorrow (today) at 10:20am,” Muhumuza said, adding that he could not comment further on the development.
The deportation ends Munyakazi’s 12-year stay in the US.
The development follows calls by survivors and the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) for the US to extradite Munyakazi so that he can be brought to book for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which more than a million people were killed.
Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the CNLG executive secretary, yesterday told The New Times that the extradition is a positive development.
In September, last year, the commission wrote to the US government seeking Munyakazi’s extradition, making it clear their concerns should be brought to the attention of the US immigration department.
“This could have been the reason for his deportation and, we are happy. The US government should be thanked, especially as this is not the first time having seen them deport another such criminal, Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka, alias Zuzu, who is now in jail here,” said Bizimana.
In 2011, the US deported Zuzu and Marie-Claire Mukeshimana.
According to Bizimana, Munyakazi mainly started preparing and disseminating hate speech targeting the Tutsi in 1990 and in 1994, he played a major role in the Genocide in Kayenzi trading centre, now in Muhanga District.
Here, Bizimana said “Munyakazi shot and killed a one Mbarubukeye as a public exhibition to rally people to kill. From then onwards, he continued in a supervisory role.”
Bizimana said Munyakazi, formerly the head of the national trade union, CESTRAR, and then a varsity lecturer, wielded a lot of influence that allowed him to incite many people to commit massacres.
Among others, Munyakazi is accused of being a member of a group of intellectuals at the former University of Rwanda who openly designed and propagated the ideology of exluding Tutsi in schools and employment.
CNLG says, in collaboration with some lecturers at the university such as Laurien Uwizeyimana, Maniragaba Balibutsa and Ferdinand Nahimana, Munyakazi wrote and also publicly distributed writings aiming at demonising the Tutsi.
CNLG cites an article he published in Dialogue No. 146 of May-June 1991 as part of the evidence of his support of politics of hate and exclusion. In the article, Munyakazi argued that 90 per cent of the Tutsi be excluded from schools and jobs.
During the Genocide, the suspect is said to have cooperated with then mayor Jean Mbarubukeye to mobilise mass killings in Kayenzi town, now in Muhanga District.
Munyakazi was last year arrested by the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement department, but it had remained unclear whether he would be tried in the US or extradited to Rwanda.
The US has extradited or deported four Genocide suspects in total.