, NEW YORK CITY, Jul 16 – A woman who selected some of the victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has been sentenced to ten years in prison for concealing her past to obtain US citizenship, court officials said Tuesday.
Beatrice Munyenyezi, 43, received the sentence, the maximum possible, on Monday following the first conviction in the United States related to concealement of involvement in the Rwandan genocide.
Judge Stephen J. McAuliffe said Munyenyezi had “stolen the highly prized status of US citizenship,” by misrepresenting her background to immigration officials.
An estimated 800,000 people, mostly from Rwanda’s minority Tutsi ethnic group, were slaughtered in the genocide and the judge in this case said Munyenyezi had been a willing participant as an activist in the then ruling party, the MRND.
“The defendant was not a mere spectator; the defendant personally participated in the killing of men, women and children, merely because they were called Tutsi,” the judge said.
Several witnesses during her trial reported Munyenyezi manned a roadblock at which passers-by would be screened and either allowed to pass or detained, the latter option almost invariably leading to them being killed.
Munyenyezi could now end up facing genocide charges in her native country as she has been stripped of her US citizenship and is likely to be deported after serving her sentence.