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Mistrial declared at Rwandan-genocide trial of Manchester woman

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 15. 2012 4:37PM

A federal jury in Concord deadlocked Thursday on a week-long trial involving a Manchester woman implicated in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven McAuliffe declared a mistrial, and now it's up to prosecutors to decide whether to retry Beatrice Munyenyezi, 41. She has been accused of ordering gang rapes and killings of the country's minority Tutsis when they were captured at a roadblock in the province of Butare outside the hotel her family operated.

She was not on trial for genocide, but for allegedly lying about her past in order to gain entry to the United States. She was arrested in 2010.

'We are pleased that at least some of the jurors saw through the weakness in the government's case,' said Mark Howard, one of the two court-appointed lawyers who represented Munyenyezi.

She has been in government custody at the Strafford County jail since her arrest in 2010. Howard said he will seek to have her released on bail once she returns to court so a judge can set a date for retrial.

'Not what a judge has actually heard the quality of the evidence, maybe they'll let her out,' Howard said.

The trial lasted for 12 days and involved about 25 witnesses, most of them Rwandans, a few who had been serving time in Rwandan prison.

Her defense team said Munyenyezi's name had never been brought up for two decades until some Amerian agents started asking questions.

Munyenyezi still calls Manchester home, and friends and relatives are maintaining her rented house in the city, Howard said. She has one daughter in college and a set of twins in high school.

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