24 January 2012

Rwandan genocide accused to be deported by Canadian immigration authorities

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Two Rwandan nationals are facing from Canada after their alleged involvements in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which resulted in the death of an estimated 800,000 people.

Canadian immigration

The Rwandan genocide was one of the most horrific events in recent history.

Leon Mugesera, 59, has reportedly already left Canada while Jean Leonard Teganya has been assigned a new officer to hear his arguments against removal.

Mugesera has been accused of crimes against humanity and helping to incite the Rwandan genocide after a speech he made as a prominent politician in 1992 which allegedly encouraged party members to begin the killings.

After arriving in Canada, he was quickly granted permanent residency but has been fighting extradition to Rwanda for 16 years.

Mugesera's lawyers had requested the court delay the deportation until the UN could investigate claims that he would face torture if he was returned to Rwanda. However, the judge ruled that the decision was beyond his jurisdiction and was taken to the airport.

Jean Leonard Teganya was a medical intern at Butare University Hospital in Rwanda when militia massacred 200 patients and staff during the 1994 massacre.

Teganya fled Rwanda after the worst of the killing and resided in Zaire, Kenya and India before arriving in Canada in 1999. He had claimed asylum but his claim was denied by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, stating that he would be ineligible as someone suspected to be complicit in crimes against humanity.

Teganya's father was an influential member of the political party in power during the genocide and had been held, according to Teganya, for 11 years without charge due to his involvement in the genocide.

Teganya has made repeated appeals to remain in Canada, fearing that he would face similar treatment to his father, who has since been sentenced to 22 years imprisonment. The Canadian government rejected his appeal in 2003 and ordered him deported but a Rwandan newspaper's report commending the decision, Teganya claimed this was proof he would not receive a fair trial in Rwanda.

A Canadian judge has ruled in Teganya's favour and stayed the deportation, claiming there was "clear evidence of risk personally directed against" Teganya.

He has been assigned a new officer to review his case but still faces deportation.

While Teganya's case may still be in the balance, the news that Mugesera will be returned to face trial in Rwanda has been met with joy in his native country.

"Leon Mugesera's deportation, while decades past due, is welcome news for a people committed to healing and justice" tweeted Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

"Canada did the right thing."

 The Rwandan genocide took place over approximately 100 days in 1994. Beginning on 6th April after the assissination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, an estimated 800,000 people were killed in what was one of the 20th century's bloodiest events.

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