On February 21, 2013, in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe revoked Beatrice Munyenyezi’s U.S. citizenship after a jury convicted her on two criminal counts of procuring citizenship unlawfully. Munyenyezi is the first Rwandan-born naturalized citizen to be denaturalized in connection with the 1994 genocide.
Munyenyezi, 43, was admitted into the United States in 1998 as a refugee from Rwanda. She obtained her U.S. citizenship in 2003 and was charged in June 2010 (see http://www.justice.gov/usao/ma/news/2010/June/MunyenyeziBeatricePR.html).
Munyenyezi, who was not on trial for genocide because the jurisdictional element to the U.S. genocide statute was expanded only after the Rwandan genocide, was found guilty of intentionally lying during the naturalization process and being ineligible to obtain U.S. citizenship. Prosecutors argued that she had also lied in her application to adjust status to lawful permanent resident and in various refugee documents about her role in the slaughter by ethnic Hutu militants of Tutsis. Prosecutors argued that Munyenyezi, a Hutu, misrepresented, on various immigration and naturalization documents, her membership in and affiliation with the Mouvement Republicain National pour le Developpement (“MRND”), the political party in power before and during the Rwandan genocide. Prosecutors also argued that Munyenyezi concealed the fact that she had aided and abetted in the genocide and persecution of Tutsis, including the murder, rape, and kidnapping of Tutsis, at a roadblock outside of her residence.
A federal jury found Munyenyezi guilty of procurement of naturalization contrary to law (18 U.S.C. § 1425(a)) and procurement of naturalization by a person not entitled thereto (18 U.S.C. § 1425(b)). Immediately upon her conviction, Judge McAuliffe ordered that her citizenship be revoked.
Munyenyezi faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine on each count, and removal from the United States after serving the sentence. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 3, 2013, in Concord, New Hampshire.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and is part of the U.S. government’s efforts to deny safe haven to human rights violators. People with information about former human rights violators in the United States are urged to contact U.S. law enforcement: Human Rights and Special Prosecutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 800 813 5863; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 1-800-347 2423 or online tip form at http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp; and FBI’s Genocide War Crimes Unit, tip form at https://tips.fbi.gov/.