By Spy Uganda Correspondent
The United States government on Thursday, October 7, deported Oswald Rurangwa, alias Oswald Rukemuye, a genocide fugitive who was the leader of Interahamwe militia in the Gisozi sector of Kigali during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
In a statement, the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), commended the move by US authorities.
“The NPPA commends the US judicial authorities for the deportations of genocide fugitives, continued cooperation in matters of mutual legal assistance, and contribution to the global effort to fight impunity,” read part of a brief statement signed by Faustin Nkusi, the Spokesperson of NPPA.
Shortly after law enforcement officers handcuffed and led the deportee away, at Kigali International Airport, Nkusi told reporters that Rurangwa was immediately provided with a Rwandan lawyer.
“The Rwanda Bar Association assigned him a lawyer who will assist him accordingly and, among other things, inform him about his rights to appeal,” Nkusi said.
“He is heading to Mageragere prison, from here, where he will serve his 30-year sentence but he has rights to appeal. He will be notified of his Gacaca conviction.”
According to Nkusi, Rurangwa’s genocide charges include murder as a crime against humanity and complicity to commit genocide
Rurangwa was born in 1962, in Gasharu cell, Gisozi sector, in Kigali.
Mid 2008, this reportedly notorious Genocide fugitive – convicted and sentenced in 2007 to 30 years in prison in absentia by a Gacaca court – was sighted in the United States.
During the Genocide, Rurangwa was headmaster of Gisozi primary school.
He also headed the then ruling Mouvement Révolutionaire National pour le Développement (MRND) party in Gisozi.
He was in charge of recruiting and mobilizing the Interahamwe militia, and was responsible for the massacre of majority of the more than 250,000 people whose remains are interred at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi.
The report titled; “Oswald Rurangwa in the US – Turning Gisozi into a Mass Grave”‘- contains testimonies of 20 eyewitnesses. The latter include Genocide convicts he commanded who linked him to massacres at the Parish of Sainte Famille and at Saint Paul’s Centre in Kigali.
He set up roadblocks and took part in killings in different parts of Kigali.
Rurangwa featured in the trial of Maj. Gen. Laurent Munyakazi, a former army officer who was sentenced to life by the Military tribunal in a case in which he was jointly accused with Fr Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Parish Priest of St Famille Church in Kigali, where hundreds of people were killed.
Rurangwa worked closely with the former Mayor of Kigali, Col. Tharcisse Renzaho.
In 2009, Col. Renzaho was convicted and sentenced to life in prison by the now-defunct International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for his role in the Genocide.
Who are the other Genocide fugitives who were deported by the US?
Since the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU) was established in 2007, it has issued 1,146 indictments and arrest warrants against Genocide fugitives in 33 countries.
Nkusi said 23 of these indictments went to the US.
In April, a genocide survivor implored the US government to fulfil its international obligation and bring to book an indicted mass murderer – Vincent Nzigiyimfura – who lives there. Nzigiyimfura’s known address is a town called Dayton in the State of Ohio, where he runs a successful grocery store ironically called Ikaze East African Market.
Rurangwa’s is not the first Genocide fugitive deported by US authorities, but the sixth.
In April, this year, the US deported to Rwanda, Beatrice Munyenyezi, a wanted fugitive who played a major role in the 1994 Genocide in the former Butare Prefecture, now Huye District.
Munyenyezi is the wife of Arsene Ntahobali, who, together with his mother Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, were sentenced to life in prison by the ICTR for their role in the Genocide.
In September 2016, Leopold Munyakazi, one of the key ideologues of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, was handed over to Rwandan authorities, ending his 12-year stay in the US.
In 2011, the US government deported two Genocide fugitives – Jean Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka (alias Zuzu) and Marie-Claire Mukeshimana.
In May 2005, Enos Kagaba became the first Genocide suspect to be deported from the United States.