How American intelligence agencies have been outplayed and made helpless by Rwandan stealth secret agents

How American intelligence agencies have been outplayed and made helpless by Rwandan stealth secret agents
By Jean N. Manirarora, DVM, PhD.

 

On November 4, 2022, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a global network of independent media centers and investigative journalists, produced a detailed report on how Rwandan secret operatives have fed false and misleading information to various U.S. Agencies and Interpol on dissidents residing in the U.S. and other western nations “with the aim of getting them deported” to Rwanda. What is puzzling to observers is that these agencies are doing nothing to remedy the wrong that many Rwandan dissidents in the U.S. and other nations have gone through, including home searches, detentions, and deportation following false intelligence provided by the Kigali regime.

 

The OCCRP article [1][2] cites many cases, including that of Léopold Munyakazi, a former University professor and trade union official in Rwanda, who fled to the U.S in 2004 and later taught French classes at a private liberal arts college in Maryland while waiting for political asylum. Rwandan officials accused Professor Munyakazi of participating in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; they intensively spied on him while seeking asylum in the U.S. and got him deported back to Rwanda [3]. In the meantime, the FBI has found that the so-called Rwandan witnesses who testified against professor Munyakazi were politically motivated as they were Rwandan secret service agents operating in the U.S. [1]. Indeed, defense witnesses in Rwandan Courts   later cleared Munyakazi of genocide charges. Four years after his acquittal, Professor Munyakazi is still languishing in a Rwandan maximum security prison for the newly concocted charge of “genocide denial”, an accusation systematically preferred against anyone who does not agree with the official government narrative of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

 

Another contentious case is that of Ms. Beatrice Munyenyezi, a U.S. Citizen who got stripped of her citizenship and deported to Rwanda in April 2021 after 10 years in federal detention on charges that she had lied to Immigration Services. Formerly residing in New Hampshire, Ms. Munyenyezi, came to the attention of the U.S. courts for the first time when Rwandan government operatives accused her of having participated in the 1994 genocide. After months of court proceedings, the prosecution could not prove that she was guilty. However, they were able to charge her with lying to the U.S. Immigration Service using a narrow immigration law loophole stating that she did not disclose that her relatives were involved in Rwandan politics prior to the 1994 genocide.

 

Upon her arrival in Rwanda, Ms. Munyenyezi was arrested on charges of participating in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Her trial started in May 2022 in the Rwandan Higher Court and later was moved to the International and Transborder Criminal Court with Judge Patricia Mukayiza presiding [4].

 

During the Munyenyezi trial and her subsequent appeals in U.S. Courts, the charges against her were so weak [5] but it clearly appeared that the U.S. judiciary was poised to extradite her at any cost to Rwanda, a country accused by human rights organizations of arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings, and repression against opposition groups. In fact, the same prosecutor’s witnesses heard in U.S. courts are currently testifying against her in Rwanda and their testimonies in Rwandan courts have completely changed.

 

*First, most of the witnesses stated in the U.S. court that they knew Ms. Munyenyezi well as a classmate at the National University of Rwanda. It has now been proven that Ms. Munyenyezi never attended the National University of Rwanda because she was still in high school during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

 

*Second, we can recall one of the prosecutor witnesses named Consolee Mukeshimana, who, in U.S. courts, testified that she was in Hotel Ihuriro, Munyenyezi’s father-in-law Maurice Ntahobari’s hotel, during the 1994 genocide and saw at the hotel Maurice and and his wife Pauline Nyiramasuhuko’s children, including one named Bridget Ntahobari. It is now proven that Bridget Ntahobari was a student in Germany and not in Butare, Rwanda, at that time.  In addition, it is now proven that the so-called witness Consolee Mukeshimana was at that time 9 years old and not 17 years as she is claiming today and was miles away from the Ntahobari’s hotel. “In the U.S., Consolee Mukeshimana would be prosecuted for lying under oath” [4].

*Third, defense witnesses in Rwandan courts, those who admittedly managed some of the genocide sites’ roadblocks where Munyenyezi is accused to have been active, testified that they never saw her on these roadblocks and don’t recall ever having a woman among them.

 

As things were not going well for the prosecution in Rwanda, two government lobbies stepped in by writing to the presiding Judge Patricia Mukayiza asking that Munyenyezi’s trial be carried out behind closed doors for the sake of ensuring the security of the witnesses. The presiding judge agreed and went even further by asking defense witnesses to appear first before prosecutor’s witnesses   Ms. Beatrice Munyenyezi and her defense team protested the order and all the media outlets that dared to cover the trial have now been silenced or shut down by the government. Currently, no one knows what is going on inside judge Patricia Mukayiza’s courtroom in Ms. Munyenyezi trial.

 

For many years, the United Nations (UN), human Rights organizations, and other Rwandan government critics have reported on the lack of-independence of the Rwandan judiciary from  government influence, a fact that was recently confirmed by the Netherlands courts in another case. In its ruling dated on November 9, 2022, “ the District Dutch Court rejected the petition for extradition of a Rwandan man, Pierre-Claver Karangwa, who was accused by the Rwandan government of having been involved  in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The reason for declaring the Rwandan extradition request inadmissible is that the court had doubts about the independence of the judiciary in Rwanda in criminal cases involving political opponents to  the regime.” [6]

 

This is a long-awaited decision, one that all human rights activists highly applauded as the Netherlands is the main western nation that has provided most of the assistance to the Rwandan judiciary since 1994.

 

The government of Rwanda led by the ruling party, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), has been using Rwandan embassies around the world as launching pads to recruit secret agents among Rwandans living abroad or otherwise sent from Rwanda as fake refugees, to be then utilized to hunt down real or perceived opponents to the current regime. In addition, the Rwandan regime utilizes numerous public events such as religious gatherings or political venues formerly known as “Rwanda Day”, or Rwandan convention to finalize such recruitments [7].

 

On November 18, 2020, the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) television reported that a group of around 30 new recruits were seen in the Rwandan embassy conference room in the UK “raising their hands to pledge loyalty to the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)” [8].

 

That such an event could take place on Rwandan Embassy premises should not raise any comment but the content of the pledge taken by the participants does.  In fact, on the video, one can hear participants loudly pledging that “If I betray you or stray away from RPF’s plans and purposes I would be betraying all Rwandans and should be punished by hanging.”  In addition, participants pledged to fight “enemies of Rwanda”, wherever they may be. By “enemies of Rwanda”, the RPF regime means any real or perceived Rwandan government opponent.

 

This pledge is really chilling for anyone devoted to democracy and human rights in the country. How could expressing a dissenting view with the ruling party be considered a crime punishable by hanging? One should ask himself under which legal statutes should these executions/hangings take place. First, RPF as a political party is supposed not to form   killing squads, second the death penalty has supposedly been abolished per Rwandan penal code. But in Rwanda, all is possible. In his recent speeches, General Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Chairman of ruling party, RPF, did not hesitate to state publicly that in Rwanda there are some written laws and others that are not on the book but are used and are even more effective. It is in that context that regular citizens disappear in broad daylight inside and outside the country. Most of the people that disappear never show up again. Others are killed and their bodies are dumped in forests, swamps or other uninhabited places. The lucky ones reappear after spending several months or years in the so-called Rwanda’s safe houses.

 

As the Rwandan regime vowed to get rid of every real or perceived opponent, these gatherings such as the one held at the Rwandan Embassy in the UK are aimed at recruiting operatives that do these dirty jobs. It is in this framework that we saw refugees and members of the Rwandan diaspora being killed or disappeared in Europe, the U.S., and some African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. It is also in that same framework of terror that we see Rwandan Embassies’ personnel around the world holding meetings with some Rwandans living abroad, under the pretense to celebrate RPF anniversaries, because these meetings are in fact venues to recruit and train new secret service operatives.

 

In Rwanda, we see high ranking officials organizing meetings to sensitize the youth on ways to hunt down anyone who dares to criticize the government from inside or outside the country. One of these officials, General James Kabarebe, the current Presidential Security Advisor in Rwanda, went even further asking his audience to look especially for the Rwandan young men living in exile who appear to be successful in school [9]. For the Kigali government and the RPF, these young men in exile constitute a threat to the regime.

 

During another recent gathering with the University of Rwanda students, the same General James Kabarebe stated that the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), the formerly armed wing of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), now known as Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) has been trained to be a “killing machine” [10] and that the strategy of wiping out any living political adversary on their passage remains their goal today.

 

Another Rwandan official preaching violence is Dr. Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, currently serving as a Senator in Rwanda parliament. When he was President of Ibuka, an umbrella organization for genocide survivors’ associations in Rwanda, he said that Tutsi have to hunt down all the Hutus wherever they live around the world [11].

 

In conclusion, one can’t help but wonder what the U.S. and other western countries are doing to right the wrong that has been inflicted to some people of Rwandan origin who have been falsely accused by the Rwandan regime of participating in the 1994 genocide and other charges?
Will Beatrice Munyenyezi have her U.S. citizenship reinstated? Will Professor Leopold Munyakazi be re-instated in his rights as he has been cleared of all genocide charges? The list goes on. We can also cite the case of Oswald Rukemuye who was recently extradited to Rwanda from the U.S. and Jean Leonard Teganya who was sentenced to 8 years of detention in U.S. prison, despite dozens of witnesses testifying to his innocence.

 

Human rights organizations and Rwandan exiles are requesting the U.S. and other western countries to take action in light of the new information [1][2] that the Rwandan regime has been feeding them  false information with the sole aim to silence Rwandan critics around the world. Recently, a Dutch news outlet revealed yet another Rwandan secret plan labeled with the code “Cleaning the West”, “aimed at getting hold or rid of opposition figures operating outside of Rwanda”(5). The unanswered question now is:

Will western countries, including the U.S., rise and hold the government of Rwanda accountable for the wrong it has been inflicting on its opponents around the world, or will the current status quo prevail, but for how long?

 

About the author:

Dr. Jean N. Manirarora is a Scientist and Civil Rights Activist, currently living in Frederick, MD, USA. He can be reached by email at <jnmanirarora@gmail.com>.

 

References:


[1] Rwanda Fed False Intelligence to U.S. and Interpol As It Pursued Political Dissidents Abroad    https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/rwanda-fed-false-intelligence-to-us-and-interpol-as-it-pursued-political-dissidents-abroad

[2] Rwanda accused of providing false intelligence to Interpol on dissidents in exile https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20221109-le-rwanda-accusé-d-avoir-fourni-de-faux-renseignements-à-interpol-sur-des-dissidents-en-exil

[3] Goucher professor found not guilty but not so school’s leadership https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/readers-respond/bs-ed-rr-goucher-professor-letter-20180905-story.html

[4] Rwanda: What is Judge Patricia Mukayiza Hiding in the Case of Beatrice Munyenyezi? https://www.afroamerica.net/index.php/culture/discourses/147-discourses/1705-rwanda-what-is-judge-patricia-mukayiza-hiding-in-the-case-of-beatrice-munyenyezi.html

[5] Munyenyezi v. United States

https://casetext.com/case/munyenyezi-v-united-states-3/

[7] Rwanda Day
https://twitter.com/RwandaDay?s=20&t=1zYdvgLWn0c_ZU5eIpcObw

[8] The loyalty oath keeping Rwandans abroad in check
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54801979

[9] Genocide was carried out by James Kabarebe – Kwica abahutu
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiAhKLrxfvo

[10] FPR is « Killing Machine » nk’uko Kabarebe swallows
[11] Abatwiciye tubahige tubashyikiriza ubutabera. Perezida of Ibuka

https://youtu.be/vIlGmCrzClM

 

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