At exactly 17:40, a chartered plane carrying deported genocide fugitive Leopold Munyakazi touched down at Kigali International Airport transporting the suspect from Alabama, United States, marking the end of the suspect’s battles against deportation.
The 65-year-old suspect is accused of being one of the key architects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi where he is considered to be one those who hatched ideologies that shaped the mayhem that left over one million people brutally massacred.
After the plane touched down, Munyakazi remained on board for close 20 minutes as escorting American agents prepared his handover to their Rwandan counterparts.
Upon disembarking from the plane escorted by the US migration agents, Munyakazi was handed over to officers of Rwanda National Police (RNP) in the presence of the Commissioner for Interpol and Cooperation, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Anthony Kulamba, Head of the Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU) John Bosco Siboyintore and officials from the US Embassy in Kigali.
He was later taken to the Airport offices where he was served with a new arrest warrant, given a lawyer in accordance with the relevant legal provisions and his rights read out before judicial police officers started questioning him.
Reacting to the deportation, ACP Kulamba said; “It’s a matter of time before the long arm of the law eventually catches up with every genocide fugitive just like it has happened to Munyakazi. We will not give up to the last fugitive.”
Munyakazi’s deportation came after he lost a long-running legal battle to gain asylum in the US.
He is currently held at Kicukiro Police Station pending the transfer of his file to the prosecution – a process that won’t exceed five working days as stipulated by the laws.
According to his charge sheet, the former Secretary General of the Workers’ Union (CESTRAR) and an academic is accused of participating in Genocide, complicity in Genocide, conspiracy to committing Genocide, extermination and murder as crimes against humanity.
Munyakazi a former university lecturer was arrested immediately after the genocide but later released on a conditional bail which he jumped and fled to the US.
Precisely, Munyakazi is accused of being in a clique of intellectuals at the former National University of Rwanda who openly designed and disseminated ideologies supporting the exclusion of Tutsi in schools and in service.
“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,” reads part of the charge sheet.
Details of his indictment partly indicate that Munyakazi told Interahamwe militias 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.
“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,” the spokesperson for the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), Faustin Nkusi, said.
“We guarantee to accord him a fair trial in accordance to national legislation and other international legislations as ratified by Rwanda… his trial will be held in Muhanga District where he allegedly committed the crime,” the spokesperson for the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), Faustin Nkusi, said.
Since 2005, the US has deported four Genocide fugitives; others are Enos Kagaba, Jean Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka alias Zuzu and Marie Claire Mukeshimana.
So far Rwanda has sent out over 600 indictments and international arrest warrants across the world against genocide fugitives, although few have been enacted.