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My Turn: In the Rwanda trial, endless lies

Members of the Rwandan community living in New Hampshire are disturbed by endless lies told during the trial of Beatrice Munyenyezi. Those of us who know her best and who understand her detractors’ motives would like to make the following statement to Americans and other individuals who struggle for peace and justice in the Great Lakes of Africa:

Munyenyezi is the wife of Shalom Ntahobali, who is detained at the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, and also a mother of three teenage girls. She was found guilty Thursday of not disclosing to U.S. immigration officials her past role in the MRND, a political party that was in control during the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994.

According to charges brought against her, the fact that one belonged to the MRND is the highest crime. Once admitted to, one should be excluded from becoming a U.S. citizen. However, Rwanda in 1994 was run by a coalition government of five political parties: MRND, MDR, PSD, PL and PDC. In other words, prior to April 1994, the MRND was not the only party governing the country; moreover, at the time of the 1994 genocide the prime minister was a member of the MDR.

The Rwandan community is concerned that selected witnesses who appeared in Munyenyezi’s trial were trained to lie by the Rwandan government through an organization known as “Ibuka” or “Remember.” Since her husband and mother-in-law are on trial at the ICTR, their mission was to link her to criminal acts committed against Tutsis, so she could be found guilty by association.

What went on in the federal courtroom in Concord was an attempt at the manipulation of the facts by the Tutsi-led government of Rwanda.

They are exploiting respected institutions of the United States: its justice system and its immigration and naturalization service.

To keep out the truth about the origins of the Rwandan genocide, the Kigali regime continues to use all possible means, such as national and international justice institutions, to track down, demonize and harass Rwandan asylum seekers. Some of these people who do not support President Paul Kagame’s tyranny are accused and charged with genocide or embezzlement. Some who are not directly accused of genocide have had their family members in jail and their properties confiscated by the government in Rwanda.

In Rwanda before April 6, 1994, each major political party had its own militia. MRND had Interahamwe; MDR had Inkuba; and PSD had Abakombozi. On April 6, the plane carrying the president of Rwanda and the president of Burundi (both Hutu) was shot down as it approached Kigali International Airport. The militias then formed an alliance to counter the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a political and military organization whose members were mostly Tutsi and operated out of Ugandan military bases.

The untold story is that Munyenyezi used her own house to keep safe the Tutsi girls of a famous Butare businessman whose name is Bihira. Why were these girls not called in to testify? When the RPF took Butare, Munyenyezi and her family left the city, and the girls stayed in the house with everything in it so they could survive for a as long as they were there.

How then could she hate or call to kill Tutsis while she harbored them in her house?

During the trial these girls were forced to come to the United States to testify against, her but while here they changed their minds and returned without testifying.

The Rwandan community supports the rule of law. However the U.S. justice system should not be used to intimidate asylum seekers opposed to the Kigali regime.

Munyenyezi’s case is not a unique in the United States. There have been other cases engineered by the Kigali regime. Lazzare Kobagaya was taken to court in Kansas. Valens Kajeguhakwa, a Tutsi businessaman, was tried in Florida. Pierre Celestin Rwigema, the former prime minister, was subjected to a trial in Michigan. They were all acquitted by the U.S. courts.

The Kigali regime has used all kinds of strategies to control the proceedings of the ICTR and to make it the tribunal of the victor. Such strategies should not be allowed by the U.S. justice system. Despite those strategies, most Cabinet ministers detained by the ICTR were found not guilty.

We, the members of the Rwandan community living in New Hampshire, support the Department of Homeland Security efforts to remove criminals from the United States.

At the same time we are asking the American government not to bow to manipulative demands made by foreign countries from which the asylum seekers have fled.

(Nathan Ndajeh lives in Manchester.)

Wow. This is a disturbing piece, especially of what the writer states turns out to be true. But when Mr. Ndajeh tells us that "each major political party had its own militia" and "MRND had Interahamwe", shouldn't he also mention that Interahamwe were trained to massacre and used roadblocks--like the one at the center of this case-- in the apprehension and murder of victims during the 1994 Rwandan genocide? And about the young girls: aren't they adults now and so couldn’t we know their names? And how were they "forced" to come to testify against Munyenyezi and, if they were forced, how were they able to change their minds once they were here? If their testimony would have vindicated Munyenyezi, then why didn’t HER lawyer call them to testify? (They could have been compelled to take the stand if they were here and appeared on the defense witness list.) I know Munyenyezi’s lawyer has said she’ll be killed if returned to Rwanda. But that statement is just not credible. He’d do better to argue she wouldn’t be treated fairly or that people would be reluctant to speak-out in her defense rather than sensationalize by saying she’d be harmed. Rwanda has plenty of people in custody who were worse than her and they are not being killed (at least not recently). There is an unfortunate tendency, when talking about Rwanda, to exaggerate or minimize in one direction or the other. Let’s try to be balanced.

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