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April 5, 2019Boston, MA, United StatesHuman Rights Violators

Rwandan human rights violator convicted on immigration fraud, perjury charges connected with 1994 genocide in case led by ICE HSI Boston, ICE Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center

Conviction comes on eve of 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide

BOSTON – In a case led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston and ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, a man who fled Rwanda near the end of the 1994 genocide was convicted today by a federal jury for immigration fraud and perjury in connection with his application for benefits in the United States.

Jean Leonard Teganya, 48, was convicted of two counts of immigration fraud and three counts of perjury. U.S. District Court Judge F. Denis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for July 1, 2019.

“Today’s guilty verdict is a true testament to the significant efforts, over many years and across two continents, of a committed team of Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents and Assistant U.S. Attorneys who valiantly pursued this investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh, Homeland Security Investigations, Boston. “This verdict is a victory, not just for the people of Rwanda, but for all Americans, as it serves as a reminder of our nation’s commitment to prevent human rights violators from exploiting America’s historic hospitality for immigrants by using it as a shield from accountability for their reprehensible war crimes.”

“For 25 years, Jean Leonard Teganya has been running away from the truth,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Mr. Teganya hid the truth about atrocities he committed during the Rwandan genocide."

The Rwandan genocide began on April 6, 1994, and lasted for a period of 100 days. During the genocide, approximately 800,000 ethnic Tutsis were murdered, making it the deadliest genocide since the Holocaust.

During the genocide, Teganya led teams of soldiers and Interahamwe around the Butare, Rwanda hospital to locate Tutsi patients and refugees hiding in the hospital. Once discovered, the Tutsis were taken and killed behind the maternity ward. Teganya also led teams of soldiers and Interahamwe who took Tutsi women to be raped.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that in addition to ordering killings and recruiting other killers, Teganya directly participated in the murders of three Tutsi people at the hospital and two Tutsi students he discovered in the dormitory where he was living. Teganya also participated in five rapes of two Tutsi women who were hiding in the hospital.

At the end of the genocide in mid-July 1994, Teganya fled Rwanda, eventually arriving in Canada. Canadian authorities determined that Teganya was not entitled to remain in Canada. After 15 years, Teganya evaded Canadian authorities and fled across the border into the United States. On Aug. 3, 2014, Teganya was encountered walking on foot after he crossed from Canada into Houlton, Maine. Teganya was taken into custody.

ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, created in 2003, was established to further a whole-of-government approach to identify, investigate, prosecute and remove war criminals and human rights abusers living in the U.S.

The Center and its partners work collaboratively to support ICE’s HSI efforts to bring numerous individuals to justice for human rights-related violations, such as genocide, torture, ethnic cleansing and various other forms of persecution, so as to ensured that the United States does not become a safe haven for human rights abusers.

The Center has combatted threats to our national security through various initiatives, including the No Safe Haven Initiative, which prevents the United States from becoming a safe haven for individuals who commit war crimes, genocide, torture and other forms of serious human rights abuses. Through Operation No Safe Haven, the Center supported the arrests of 125 absconders sought for their roles in known or suspected human rights violations.

Since 2003, the Center has issued more than 75,000 subject records for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped more than 260 suspected human rights violators and war criminals from entering the U.S. It has supported ICE’s removal of 908 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States and has facilitated the departure of an additional 122 such individuals.

The Center’s support of the field has led to the arrest of more than 410 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. It is currently supporting more than 135 criminal investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries.

A charge of immigration fraud provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. A charge of perjury provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

HSI Boston Special Agent in Charge Fitzhugh and U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling made the announcement today. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. State Department and the Revere Police Department provided valuable assistance.

Updated: 11/19/2021