New Hampshire woman sentenced to 10 years for role in Rwandan genocide

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire [official website] sentenced Beatrice Munyenyezi to 10 years in prison for her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Judge Steven McAuliffe imposed the maximum sentence [AP report] for her crimes. Munyenyezi was convicted in February of having gained her US citizenship by hiding her identity and her affiliation with the Hutu tribe, despite the fact that her husband was a known leader in the Hutu militia. Munyenyezi served as a guard at a checkpoint where she detained Tutsis who would be killed by the Hutu militia. The judge found that the role she played amounted to that of an active participant in the genocide. While witnesses testified, she sat silently, and declined to comment or grant interviews after her sentence was announced. Munyenyezi's husband and mother-in-law were both convicted, and are serving life sentences for their role in the genocide. Munyenyezi was stripped of her citizenship [AP report] at the time of her conviction, but her lawyers say that this sentence saves her from being deported back to Rwanda, where she would surely be killed.

After the Rwandan genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people, international and domestic courts have attempted to try those responsible. In June, Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow [WJP profile], prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] reiterated the UN Security Council's request for member states to help bring to justice [JURIST report] nine fugitives allegedly responsible for war crimes during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder]. In April French law enforcement officials arrested [JURIST report] former Rwandan leader Tite Barahira for conspiracy to commit genocide. In March a Dutch court convicted [JURIST report] Yvonne Basebya of inciting genocide after finding that she led meetings of a radical Hutu party and sang a song that called for the murder of all Tutsis. Basebya was sentenced to six years in prison. In February a court in Norway convicted [JURIST report] a Rwandan man living in Oslo for acting as an accomplice to the genocide. The court sentenced him to 21 years in prison.

 

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