Bowling Green State U. graduate student accused of genocide

By By U Wire

By U Wire

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio?Pierre-Celestin Rwigema denied that he was involved in the killing of 800,000 Tutsis in 1994 and insisted that his life was in danger during the genocide. An arrest warrant was issued by Rwanda in April 2001. He is being charged with crimes against humanity and genocide for the death of the Tutsis.

However, Rwigema, a Bowling Green State University graduate student said he has not received an official document from Rwanda stating that he is wanted for these crimes.

“During the killing it was difficult to be safe,” Rwigema said. “They killed moderate Hutu leaders.”

Rwigema, 47, said there are two sects to the mainly Hutu political party within Rwanda, one is the Democratic Republican Movement (MDR). The power division of the MDR wants to keep government control with the Hutus. However, the moderate division is favorable to the Tutsis. As a moderate, Rwigema’s life was in danger while he lived in Rwanda.

He said he was protected in 1994 by Paul Rusesabagina who is known to have protected political refugees. Rusesabagina received the Immortal Chaplain’s Prize for Humanity for protecting himself and others. Rwigema provided a program from the awards ceremony during his interview with The BG News. The program stated Rusesabagina had harbored Rwigema during the killings.

Also in the interview, Rwigema gave The News documents from the Rally for the Return of Refugees and Democracy in Rwanda (RDR), the current Tutsi government has exploited the genocide and accused former Hutu leaders of the crime. RDR called the lists “arbitrary” in the August press release.

Rwigema said the charges were made because he has spoken out against the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the current Rwandan government. He believes his life is in danger in Rwanda and that the government would kill him.

He is now being protected by the United States by default. The United States cannot send him back to Rwanda because there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

He has also applied for political asylum when he entered the United States on a visa when he came to the United States in June 2000. As of now, Rwigema has not been granted asylum.

Rwigema lived in Michigan until coming to Bowling Green this July. He is working toward his master’s degree in business administration and expects to graduate within two years.

U Wire