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Feds say NH woman involved in Rwandan genocide

By Lynne Tuohy
Associated Press Writer / June 24, 2010

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CONCORD, N.H.—A New Hampshire woman charged in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide is related to members of a small group accused by a U.N. tribunal of being masterminds of the 100-day slaughter.

Beatrice Munyenyezi, 40, of Manchester was indicted Thursday on two counts of lying to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Federal prosecutors say Munyenyezi directed kidnapping, rape and murder during the genocide, in which about 800,000 people were killed during an ethnic bloodletting.

Munyenyezi is married to Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, a commander in the former Rwandan army and one of the "Butare Six," suspected by authorities of planning the slaughter. Judgment from the tribunal is expected in September.

Ntahobali's mother, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, is the only woman charged by the tribunal and is accused of mass murder and rape of Tutsis. Both mother and son are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. They are incarcerated in Tanzania.

Munyenyezi in 1994 lived in Butare, Rwanda, in a hotel owned by her husband's family. Federal prosecutors say Munyenyezi brought supplies to extremists, checked identity cards at the roadblock in front of the hotel and encouraged the rapes and slaughters. The indictment also states she took personal property belonging to those who were murdered.

The genocide ended in July 1994, when Tutsi rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front invaded from surrounding countries and defeated the interim Hutu government. Munyenyezi left Rwanda and entered Kenya the same month.

Prosecutors say Munyenyezi lied about her connection to the genocide when applying for entry into the United States in 1995. Because of the genocide, the State Department developed a Rwandan questionnaire in an attempt to weed out genocide participants. Munyenyezi denied having any role in the genocide.

She entered New York City in March 1998 as a refugee. On applications for permanent resident status in 1999 and for naturalization in 2002, Munyenyezi stated under oath that she had never persecuted anyone based on ethnicity and that she had not participated in any crimes for which she was not arrested.

On April 29, 2003, Munyenyezi was sworn in as a U.S. citizen in Concord, N.H.

If convicted, Munyenyezi could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and stripped of her citizenship.

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