Trial in Manchester brings Rwandan genocide to NH
Beatrice Munyenyezi of Manchester is accused of personally participating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, then lying about it to enter the United States and gain citizenship. She is set to stand trial on fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Concord Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors allege Munyenyezi, 41, was a member and active supporter of the ruling ethnic Hutu party and a ring leader in its radical youth militia — along with her husband, Arsene Shalom Ntahobari.
Munyenyezi, who came to Manchester in 2002, was arrested in 2010.
Prosecutors claim the Hutus carried out systematic and widespread killings of members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group and that Munyenyezi oversaw and participated in killings, rapes and kidnappings of numerous people — mostly Tutsi — from a roadblock in front of a Butare hotel.
The killings that began in April 1994 ended in July when Tutsi rebels invaded Rwanda from neighboring countries and defeated the interim government. An estimated 500,000 to 800,000 people were killed during the three-month period commonly known as the Rwanda genocide.
Munyenyezi denies any involvement and, in court records, claims she, her husband and their 1-year-old child fled Rwanda when the established government destabilized in the summer of 1994.
Munyenyezi was four months pregnant with twins when the family escaped to Kenya, where she gave birth in November 1994.
She was living in Manchester when she became a U.S. citizen.
Munyenyezi is charged in a two-count 2010 indictment with lying about her alleged participation in the Rwandan genocide on her applications to procure her naturalization and citizenship.
A number of defense and government witnesses will testify at her trial, which will last four to six weeks.
Jury selection begins Wednesday.