Horrors of Rwanda genocide to be retold in Kansas court

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 April 2011, 01:16 GMT]
While Sri Lanka's savage killing of more than 40,000 Tamil civilians is in the center stage of world main stream media following the release of UN's war crimes report Monday, trial of Rwanda's Lazare Kobagaya, having a last name similarly syllabled as the first name of Sri Lanka's alleged war-criminal Gotabaya, charged with illegally obtaining United States citizenship and misusing an alien registration card is to begin in a Kansas Court. Prosecutors say Mr. Kobagaya lied on his citizenship application when he denied participating in genocide in 1994, and they are bringing witnesses from Africa to try to prove it, New York Times said in an article in Tuesday.

“The evidence will involve some pretty dramatic, grim, terrible evidence, I think,” Judge Monti L. Belot of Federal District Court told potential jurors in Kansas District Court, the paper said.

“It’s my understanding that there will be people here who actually committed genocide,” he added.

About 50 foreign witnesses have been brought to Wichita, Kansas to testify, Rwanda Bureau of Information and Broadcasting said.

Prosecutors say that during the immigration process, Kobagaya lied and said he lived in Burundi during the Rwandan genocide.

Lawyers for Mr. Kobagaya have said their client’s name never surfaced in impartial investigations of the violence in his native land. It was only when he made a statement on behalf of another Rwandan who had been charged with genocide by Finnish courts that he became a target of United States investigators, the lawyers say.

The indictment describes Mr. Kobagaya as a wealthy Hutu and resident of southern Rwanda who incited genocide in that area on numerous occasions between April and June 1994. The indictment says he ordered Hutus to kill Tutsis and burn their homes, and also ordered the deaths of Hutu women married to Tutsis.

Mr. Kobagaya’s lawyers have said in court papers that the testimony of witnesses being brought from Rwanda is tainted by that country’s current government and political climate.

Judge Belot dismissed two jurors who said they would have trouble dealing with graphic testimony.

“Let’s face it, this is historic fact, that in a period of three months as many as 800,000 people were killed,” Judge Belot said. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it," New York Times quoted Judge Belot as saying.

External Links:
NYT: Kansas Trial Will Recall Genocide in Rwanda


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