Washington DC, June 1, 2011 (FH) - The federal trial of Lazare Kobagaya, a Rwandan accused of unlawfully obtaining US citizenship in 2006, with fraud and misuse of an alien registration card, ended on Tuesday in Wichita, Texas, with jurors  unconvinced that the defendant played a role in the Rwandan genocide.

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According to Justice Department, it was the first criminal prosecution in America requiring proof of genocide.

The Tribunal found Lazare Kobagaya guilty of lying to immigration officials. He notably lied on his application to move to the US when he wrote that from 1993 until 1995, he was in Burundi. However, the jury did not find that the government also proved he lied on his visa application when he stated he didn't engage in genocide.

Having decided whether they believed Prosecution or Defence witnesses who were called upon to testify on Kobagaya's participation in the genocide, the jurors were not convinced that he was involved.

The defense has always claimed that Kobagaya was targeted by the Rwandan government because he testified in favor of another genocide suspect who settled in Finland.

The 84-year-old man faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of lying to immigration officials. A sentencing date has not been set.


© Hirondelle News Agency