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March 21, 2024Boston, MA, United StatesHuman Rights Violators

HSI arrests Ohio man for decades-long scheme to conceal his involvement in the Rwandan genocide

Defendant also allegedly engaged in obstruction of justice and perjury in another federal trial

BOSTON – Homeland Security Investigations special agents arrested an Ohio man who has been charged in Boston for a nearly three-decade scheme to conceal his alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which left more than 800,000 people dead. The defendant is also charged with obstruction of justice and with perjury for allegedly offering false testimony in the 2019 Boston trial of his former classmate and now-convicted Rwandan genocide perpetrator Jean Leonard Teganya. The defendant allegedly participated in the killing of Tutsi men, women and children by striking them on the head with a nail-studded club and then hacking them to death with a machete.

Eric Tabaro Nshimiye, a/k/a Eric Tabaro Nshimiyimana, 52, of Uniontown, Ohio, has been charged in a criminal complaint with falsifying, concealing and covering up a material fact by trick, scheme or device, obstruction of justice, and perjury following an investigation by HSI New England special agents. Nshimiye was arrested this morning in Ohio by HSI special agents and was detained following an initial appearance in federal court in the Northern District of Ohio. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.

“Nshimiye is accused of lying to conceal his participation in one of the greatest human tragedies of all time. The charging documents make specific allegations about the murder and rape of ethnic Tutsis committed during his time as a medical student in Rwanda. The government alleges his testimony in the defense of a convicted genocidaire was a calculated attempt to conceal the horrific crimes committed during the genocide, further distancing himself from his participation in these horrific events, and avoiding consequences of his actions,” said HSI New England Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Krol. “Homeland Security Investigations and the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center agents spend years investigating cases of alleged human rights violators and war criminals, interviewing survivors and working alongside historians, to uncover the true history of perpetrators and hold them accountable for their actions. We are tireless in our pursuit of those who seek to use the United States as a haven from justice.”

According to the charging documents, Nshimiye was a medical student at the University of Rwanda campus in Butare, Rwanda in the early 1990s. At that time, the country had significant ethnic division: about 85% of its population were Hutus and about 14% were Tutsis. Both Nshimiye and Teganya were well-known student members of the National Revolutionary Movement for Development political party, the ruling Hutu-dominated party that incited the genocide; and the Interahamwe, the notoriously violent youth wing of that movement. According to court documents, in the spring of 1994, after the Hutu president’s plane was shot down over Kigali, the country spiraled into one of the worst ethnic genocides in modern history. Members of the Hutu majority murdered approximately 800,000 Tutsis, including women and children, in a 100-day frenzy.

It is alleged that Nshimiye participated in the killing of Tutsi men, women and children by striking them on the head with a nail-studded club and then hacking them to death with a machete. The charging documents allege specific instances of Nshimiye’s criminal conduct, including his murder of a 14-year-old boy and a man who sewed doctors’ coats at the university hospital. Witnesses in Rwanda recently identified the locations of the killings and drew pictures of Nshimiye’s weapons. It is further alleged that Nshimiye participated in and aided and abetted the rape of numerous Tutsi women during the genocide.

According to the charging documents, Nshimiye fled Rwanda in the summer of 1994, after an attacking Tutsi rebel group drove genocidaires into the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1995, Nshimiye made his way to Kenya where he allegedly lied to U.S. immigration officials to gain admission to the United States. Nshimiye emigrated to Ohio and, in subsequent years, allegedly continued to provide false information about his involvement in the Rwandan genocide to obtain lawful permanent residence and ultimately U.S. citizenship. By allegedly concealing his crimes, Nshimiye has lived and worked in Ohio since 1995.

In 2017, the United States charged Teganya with fraudulently seeking immigration benefits in the United States by similarly concealing his membership in the MRND party and his involvement in the genocide. When called to testify at trial on Teganya’s behalf in 2019, Nshimiye said that neither he nor Teganya participated in the genocide. Teganya was ultimately convicted of two counts of immigration fraud and three counts of perjury in April 2019. The complaint alleges that Nshimiye assisted Teganya in obstructing justice at Teganya’s trial and falsely testifying about Teganya’s involvement in the MRND. It is also alleged that Nshimiye perjured himself when he denied his own membership in the MRND and Interahamwe.

The charging document also alleges that Nshimiye made false statements to federal agents when he was recently interviewed about his activities before coming to the United States and about the documents he signed to obtain citizenship. In response to questions, Nshimiye allegedly continued to make false statements to conceal his involvement in the genocide.

The charge of falsifying, concealing and covering up a material fact by trick, scheme or device provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of obstruction of justice provides for a sentence up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of perjury provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. sentencing guidelines and statutes that govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting U.S. Attorney Levy, HSI SAC Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Detroit Shawn S. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Boston Field Office Matthew O’Brien, and District Director of the Fraud Detection and National Security Division of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Boston Field Division Denis C. Riordan, made the announcement March 21. This matter was investigated with the assistance of the United States Interagency Human Rights Violators & War Crimes Center, the Copley, the Ohio Police Department and the Summit County Ohio Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. McNeil and Amanda Beck of the National Security Unit are prosecuting the case.

Established in 2008, the HRVWCC furthers HSI’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. The HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

Since 2003, HSI has arrested more than 510 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 1125 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 193 such individuals from the United States.

Currently, HRVWCC has more than 168 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,850 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 79,000 lookouts for potential perpetrators of human rights abuses, and stopped over 383 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the HSI tip line at 877-4-HSI TIP. Callers may remain anonymous.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.