US college removes professor over Rwanda genocide charges

A U.S. liberal arts college has suspended a Rwandan professor from his teaching duties over accusations he participated in his country's 1994 genocide.

US college removes professor over Rwanda genocide charges

A U.S. liberal arts college has suspended a Rwandan professor of French from his teaching duties over accusations he participated in his country's 1994 genocide, college officials said on Monday.

Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College near Baltimore, Maryland, said Leopold Munyakazi started working at the college in September under auspices of the Scholar Rescue Fund, a program of fellowships for academics whose lives are threatened at home.

In a letter to students and faculty dated Jan. 31, Ungar said he learned of charges against Munyakazi in December when an NBC News producer and a Rwandan prosecutor paid a visit and told him of eyewitnesses who said Munyakazi "participated directly" in the genocide.

Ethnic Hutu militias slaughtered some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days of carnage in the Central African country in 1994.

"Dr. Munyakazi vehemently denies any involvement in committing genocide, and in fact has presented evidence that he assisted numerous Tutsis in fleeing Hutu killers," Ungar said in the letter, provided to Reuters on Monday.

Ungar said an indictment by the Rwandan prosecutor was prepared in 2006, 12 years after the genocide but just a month after Munyakazi gave a "controversial talk" in New Jersey questioning the Rwandan government's official account of events during the genocide.

Given the seriousness of the allegations, Ungar said, he decided to remove Munyakazi from teaching duties pending further investigation.

"This action in no way reflects a judgment about Dr. Munyakazi or about the charges that have been made against him," he said.

Dozens of those involved in the genocide have been brought to trial at the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which started work in 1997.

College spokeswoman Kristen Keener said Goucher was aware of Interpol warrants issued as recently as 2008 for Munyakazi but the college had not been approached by any U.S. agency in connection with the case. Interpol's website lists a Leopold Munyakazi, aged 59, as wanted for genocide.

"Unless and until we hear otherwise from U.S. authorities who are familiar with the case, Goucher will continue to provide modest off-campus housing for Dr. Munyakazi and his family through the end of this semester, but he will not have a presence on campus," Ungar said in the letter.

Reuters
Last Mod: 03 Şubat 2009, 13:02
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