BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A man suspected of taking part in the Rwandan genocide had been living in Buffalo, but is no longer in the United States.
In 1994, hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi ethnic group were killed by members of another ethnic group, the Hutus, in Rwanda, over a course of three months. Several moderate members of the Hutu group were also killed.
In all, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus lost their lives. Peter Kalimu has been accused of taking part in two of the attacks on Tutsi families during the genocide.
According to a complaint, Kalimu was additionally accused of looting property from Tutsi families and then destroying their houses. Kalimu denied the allegations against him.
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According to the office of Trini Ross, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, Kalimu used the name Fidele Twizere while he was living in Rwanda. Eventually, he left the country and immigrated to the United States.
On his immigration forms, he used the name Pierre Kalimu and provided a fake date of birth, prosecutors say. According to officials, Kalimu never disclosed his previous identity or previously used date of birth while applying for citizenship.
“In seeking to escape his past in Rwanda, Kalimu obscured his true identity and repeatedly lied to immigration officers in order to become a U.S. citizen,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said.
The complaint against Kalimu says that by misrepresenting himself, he precluded government officials from investigating him and determining that he didn’t qualify for immigration and naturalization benefits.
“Kalimu’s misrepresentations to the U.S. government paved the way for the defendant to avoid discovery of his past transgressions and to establish a life in the United States, which included benefits afforded to all citizens,” U.S. Attorney Ross said.
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At one point, Kalimu admitted that he was ineligible for citizenship due to committing welfare fraud in New York from 2003 to 2004. Kalimu agreed to denaturalization.
In a separate prosecution, officials say Kalimu pleaded guilty to making materially false statements about his actual name to federal investigators.
Earlier this month, a U.S. immigration judge ordered that Kalimu must leave the country. He left on October 21.
“The United States will not be a safe haven for suspected human rights violators,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Justice Department is dedicated to preventing those who commit human rights violations from evading our immigration laws.”
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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.