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Woman Sentenced in Court Over Rwanda Genocide

By//Andrea Watson

Almost 20 years ago, a Rwanda woman played a part in the 1994 genocide that led to the deaths of thousands of people. On Monday, Beatrice Munyenyezi, 43, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She was found guilty of lying about her role in the mass murders and chose to remain silent throughout two trials.

Prosecutors say the Rwanda native stole her U.S. citizenship when she moved to America in 1998. According to AP, the mother of three is the first person in the U.S. to be convicted for participating in the genocide, in which Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed, prosecutors and the defense say.

Munyenyezi was convicted in February for entering this country and becoming a citizen. She denied any political party ties, even though her husband held a leadership role in the extremist Hutu militia party.

Even though she didn’t physically hurt anyone, she still participated in the crime. Munyenyezi was the commander at one of the roadblocks and would force Tutsis to step aside. They were eventually slaughtered.

“She was not a mere spectator,” U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe said. “I find this defendant was actively involved, actively participated, in the mass killing of men, women and children simply because they were Tutsis.”

He went on to add that the U.S. will not be a “haven” for anyone who “slaughters out of hatred and ignorance,” the AP reports.