A genocide fugitive, Beatrice Munyenyezi, 42, will go on trial for the second time after a jury failed to reach a verdict in her case last month.
A New Hampshire court in the United States declared a mistrial citing that Munyenyezi lied on immigration and naturalisation papers about her role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
A jury deadlocked in the case on March 15. The new trial is set to begin in September.
Munyenyezi had been in custody since her indictment in June 2010 on two charges of lying on immigration and naturalisation papers.
She is also accused by the prosecutors to have commanded extremist Hutu militia and ordered the rape and killing of Tutsi in Butare in 1994.
Reports from the U.S. indicate that lawyers on both sides met privately with a federal judge to discuss the status of her case and decided to have a retrial on Sept 10. Prosecutor John Capin said he would file court papers next week opposing Munyenyezi’s release.
Rwanda’s Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, had earlier expressed frustration after the jury failed to come to a decision on Munyenyezi. This time, Ngoga welcomed the new development.
“I am only happy that there is going to be a retrial, at least they did not drop the case out of court completely. We can wait and see,” he said.
Munyenyezi’s husband and mother-in-law were arrested more than a decade ago and put on trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where they were sentenced to life in prison on genocide charges. But the United States granted Munyenyezi asylum in 1998 after she swore that she had never been involved in genocide. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison and the possible loss of her U.S. citizenship, which would likely result in her being deported to Rwanda.
In a related development, the two prosecutors John Capin and Aloke Chakravarty who are prosecuting Munyenyezi are set to prosecute her sister, Prudence Kantengwa, next month in Boston, U.S. According to the prosecutors, Kantengwa lied when she denied her membership in the MRND Party on her visa application to enter the United States in 2004.
Meanwhile, one of the attorneys who defended Munyenyezi, Mark Howard, recently revealed to the press the huge sums of money spent by the U.S. judiciary to try Rwandan genocide suspects. Howard estimated Munyenyezi’s recent prosecution and trial in federal court cost taxpayers between US$2.5 million and US$3 million.
He estimated that a retrial is likely to cost an additional $1 million.
Howard’s estimated costs include attorney fees, agent salaries, the “extraordinary expense” of investigating in a foreign country, bringing witnesses to Concord and hiring experts.
“The defense’s fees have already climbed to more than $400,000,” Howard told the Press.
He estimated that the case of Lazare Kobagaya, who went free last year after a jury in Kansas failed to reach a verdict, also cost the same.
Source: The New Times, 2 April 2012