Rwanda: Genocide Suspect Arrested in U.S. Over Immigration Fraud

7 February 2020

A man of Rwandan origin, Idrissa Gasana has been indicted by a United States federal grand jury for procuring citizenship unlawfully based on providing false information about his participation in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The indictment alleges that Gasana, 53, provided false and fraudulent information about facts on his application for naturalization as a US citizen.

One of the documents which Gasana is alleged to have falsified is a "Questionnaire for Rwandan Visa Applicants" that seeks to determine whether those seeking refugee status in the United States participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, according to US media reports.

The indictment alleges that at the time of his naturalization as a United States citizen, Gasana was inadmissible because he had participated in the genocide.

Gasana was arrested on Thursday and is being held in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for February 11.

Commenting on the arrest, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the fight Against Genocide (CNLG); Jean-Damascène Bizimana welcomed the development and reminded that all countries are obliged by the UN convention to prevent, fight and pursue those suspected to have been involved in the atrocities.

"Genocide is an international crime that is punishable by international conventions. When a country adheres to this the way the US has been, we are happy that the suspects are finally being held accountable," he said.

He criticised countries that continue to use citizenship as an excuse not to deport those who been found to have participated in the genocide.

"Some countries like France, Belgium and the UK insist on not sending back suspects after they have acquired citizenship. The US is different in that when it is discovered that you were granted citizenship based on false information, they nullify it and deport you. This helps us to bring those who committed genocide to book," he said

In 2013, Beatrice Munyenyezi, located in the American state of New Hampshire was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Her appeal against this ruling was rejected by an appeals court in 2017.

According to prosecution, Munyenyezi is a wanted Genocide suspect who played a major role in the 1994 Genocide in the former Butare Prefecture, now Huye District.

She is a wife of Arsene Ntahobali, who, together with his mother Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, were sentenced to life in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for their role in the Genocide.

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