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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Human Rights Violator Sentenced to Life in Prison in Rwanda

Human Rights Violator Sentenced to Life in Prison in Rwanda

Release Date: April 23, 2024

Munyenyezi was investigated by HSI New England for lying about her participation in the Rwandan genocide.

WASHINGTON — A Rwandan national previously convicted in a landmark case in the United States for concealing her participation in the Rwandan genocide has been sentenced to life in prison by a Rwandan court.

Beatrice Munyenyezi was sentenced on April 12 to life imprisonment by the Huye Intermediate Court for her involvement in the 1994 genocide in the former Butare prefecture, now known as the Huye district. She was convicted of murder as a genocide crime, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide and complicity in rape.

“When our special agents spend years investigating human rights violators like Munyenyezi, their goal is to bring those who commit these horrific crimes out of the shadows and bring them to justice,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New England Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Krol. “In 2010, our agents arrested Munyenyezi for her lies about her past and now, 30 years after one of humanity’s darkest moments, a Rwandan court has sentenced her to life imprisonment for her crimes.”

On March 10, 1998, Munyenyezi entered the United States after making false statements to obtain status. She adjusted her status to lawful permanent resident on Jan. 19, 2001, and on July 18, 2003, became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

HSI New England special agents spent over six years investigating Munyenyezi, traveling to Rwanda nine times to identify and interview witnesses. In 2010, HSI New England special agents arrested Munyenyezi for unlawful procurement of U.S. citizenship. HSI’s investigation revealed that Munyenyezi was a member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development, the political party in power during the genocide and its youth wing, the Interahamwe. The Interahamwe ran a militia that played a key role in the genocide. Witnesses in the U.S. district court trial testified that Munyenyezi staffed a roadblock near the Hotel Ihuriro in Butare, Rwanda, where she personally inspected IDs and decided who would pass and who would be selected for inevitable death. Some victims were assaulted at the roadblock; others were led to a nearby forest where they were killed.

In 2013, Beatrice Munyenyezi was found guilty of two counts of unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization in the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire, based on false statements on her immigration forms about her membership in the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) and the Interahamwe. She was sentenced in 2013 to ten years in federal prison.

The enforcement efforts targeting Munyenyezi were supported by the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).

Established in 2008, the HRVWCC furthers HSI’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. The HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

Since 2003, HSI has arrested more than 510 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, Immigration and Customs Enforcement obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 1125 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has facilitated the departure of an additional 193 such individuals from the United States.

Currently, HRVWCC has more than 168 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,850 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 79,000 lookouts for potential perpetrators of human rights abuses, and stopped over 383 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the HSI tip line at 877-4-HSI-TIP. Callers may remain anonymous.

Last Updated: 04/29/2024
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