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African refugee who had participated in the Rwandan Genocide and burned down his Habitat House in Iowa loses appeal

This news story was published on June 27, 2018.
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CEDAR RAPIDS – In an opinion issued this week, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence of a man who actively participated in the Rwandan genocide, committed naturalization fraud and tried to burn down his Habitat House in Iowa.

Ken Ngombwa, 57, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted by a federal jury in January 2016 of one count of naturalization fraud; one count of conspiracy to unlawfully procure citizenship; and one count of making a materially false statement to agents of the Department of Homeland Security.

On March 2, 2017, United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade sentenced Ngombwa to serve 15 years’ imprisonment. Judge Reade also revoked Ngombwa’s citizenship.

On appeal, Ngombwa challenged the denial of his motion for new trial claiming his trial counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance at trial. Ngombwa also claimed the district court erred at sentencing by relying upon statements of genocide victims given to United States investigators in Rwanda; his two prior convictions for genocide in the local Gacaca (“grass courts”) of Rwanda; and the testimony of an expert on the Rwandan genocide who testified via video link at the sentencing.

The Court of Appeals rejected each of Ngombwa’s challenges. The Court noted Ngombwa “told a number of lies” in the course of gaining entry into the United States and eventual citizenship. Most prominent of these lies was Ngombwa’s claim that he was the brother of Faustin Twagiramungu, a moderate Hutu and former Prime Minister of Rwanda. Ngombwa also lied about certain other family relationships and about having previously been beaten in the Rwandan capital. The Court found trial counsel made strategic decisions as to how to limit the impact of adverse evidence concerning the Ngombwa’s false claims regarding his family relationships.

The Court of Appeals also found the district court properly applied the sentencing guidelines and did not error in considering evidence concerning Ngombwa’s participation in the Rwandan genocide. At the sentencing hearing, the government presented testimony about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of people from the Tutsi ethnic group were killed. The evidence showed that Ngombwa was charged and convicted in two Gacaca courts in that country for his involvement in the Rwandan genocide. He was also named in an Indictment brought in 2010 against Jean Uwinkindi by the United Nations Joint Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as a co-participant in a “joint criminal enterprise whose common purpose was the commission of genocide against the Tutsi racial or ethnic group and persons identified as Tutsi or presumed to support the Tutsi[.]” Uwinkindi was convicted of the charge in the Indictment and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2015.

Further, the evidence presented at sentencing showed that Ngombwa is currently under Indictment in the Republic of Rwanda. That Indictment was brought by the country’s Prosecutor General in 2014. An international arrest warrant remains outstanding on that Indictment. The Rwandan Indictment charges Ngombwa in Count 1 with “Genocide” and alleges, in part, that Ngombwa “is individually liable for having, between 7th April 1994 and July 1994 ordered and committed crimes perpetrated with the intent to destroy in whole the Tutsi ethnic group.” The Indictment alleges Ngombwa drove members of the Interahamwe to the Catholic church “in order to attack and kill Tutsi who had sought refuge there.” Further, it alleges that Ngombwa transported members of the Interahamwe to the Kanzene communal office to kill Tutsi seeking refuge there. It also alleged Ngombwa and the Interahamwe militia, armed with guns and traditional weapons, “such as machetes, spears clubs and other traditional tools, attacked the Tutsi who had sought refuge in the premises of priests” at the Catholic Church, and attacked and killed them. There are additional allegations in Count 1. Moreover, Count 2 charges Ngombwa with “extermination as a crime against humanity.” Count 3 charges Ngombwa with “murder as a crime against humanity.”

Department of Homeland Security agents testified at sentencing that as part of their investigation, they personally interviewed multiple witnesses in Rwanda who saw Ngombwa commit acts of violence during the Rwandan genocide. For instance, many witnesses stated that Ngombwa drove members of the Interahamwe (a youth militia group) and the military – killers – to locations where they conducted mass killings of Tutsi. According to the witnesses, Ngombwa made derogatory statements concerning the Tutsi; he encouraged others to kill Tutsi; and he personally participated in the killings. According to the witnesses, Ngombwa also participated in the theft or looting of property belonging to Tutsi.

In addition, evidence was presented at sentencing about Ngombwa setting fire to his Habitat for Humanity home in Cedar Rapids in 2013.

“Today’s decision marks the successful conclusion of a remarkable case; one that helped bring a measure of justice to a criminal participant in a horrible chapter in modern human history,” said United States Attorney Deegan. “This case also is an important example of why our nation’s immigration laws must be respected and why those who violate them must be held accountable.”

The case was originally referred to the Department of Homeland Security in 2011 by the Prosecutor General of Rwanda. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard L. Murphy and Ravi T. Narayan, and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.

Ken Ngombwa

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16 Responses to African refugee who had participated in the Rwandan Genocide and burned down his Habitat House in Iowa loses appeal

  1. . Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I don’t want this guy anywhere near me. He can go back to his 3rd rate sh!t hole country. That goes for all these strange people flooding are streets with a piss poor education of the modern world’s ways. We don’t need and they don’t make us any better off in the long run. Diversity my ass.This isn’t 1909 when the world was a far different place and people were more or less welcome into our country. The world is a far different place nowadays and the rules of the past do not apply as they once did. Carrying on about we need these to make our America a strong nation is pure BS fueled by greed. This guys a killer with a government green card. Rules of engagement brought him to our shores. You can do better. That’s why I pay my taxes. Pull your head out of your ass and get busy.

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Maxine and the party of dummycrats.

  3. Buzz Crumcutter Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I can hear the bleeding hearts now…..Come on….give him another chance. I’m sure he’s just sick about what he did. How about just one more chance?

    Maybe some of those that thought this guy should be in the USA, should move him in with them!

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      “Maybe some of those that thought this guy should be in the USA, should move him in with them” – Buzz Crumcutter

      Ah yes, good old Buzz, blowing smoke out of his ass before checking facts. But nothing new there, eh Buzz.

      “In November 19, 2004, Ngombwa attempted to procure citizenship for himself and family members who accompanied him to the United States from Rwanda.”
      “Ngombwa provided number of false statements that were relied upon by United States immigration authorities in deciding to grant Ngombwa refugee status and permanent resident alien status;
      which eventually permitted Ngombwa to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.”

      So Ngombwa got into the USA and became a US citizen (through fraud) during the George W. Bush administration.

      • Buzz Crumcutter Reply Report comment

        June 27, 2018 at 4:20 pm

        To the State Department employee… I guess I was mistaken. I thought there were some people in the US that want /wanted illegals in this country. Thanks so much for clearing things up for all of us.

        Thank you for your service too.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          June 27, 2018 at 5:02 pm

          Only the weak & feeble-minded resort to sarcasm when they are proven wrong.

          • Anonymous

            June 28, 2018 at 4:42 am

            Then maybe you ought to stop doin it then. Yes.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2018 at 11:04 am

    How did he do it ?- Easy answer DEMOCRATIC LIBERALS.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      You are a real dumbass
      Read the above comment in reply to Buzz. The comments in quotes are taken from court documents

      Ngombwa became a naturalized US citizen (through fraud) under the George W. Bush administration and has been living in Iowa for the past years, all the while under the leadership of Republicans Branstad & Reynolds.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Genocide? How he landed in Iowa is a mystery. What is wrong with our paid leaders. Bring in questionable people into our midst. Next their be looking into locking people up for a profit. Oh wait these private prison already do that. Need to fill those beds make the $$$.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2018 at 10:21 am

    How can non citizens even get a habitat house and a loan? You need a ss number to do anything to financial. Should have never been allowed into the country.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      Amen to that brother. Let him live with Bodacious / Nada Racist for a couple of months before we send him to prison.

      • bodacious Reply Report comment

        June 28, 2018 at 9:14 am

        I picked up a rock today that was smarter than you are.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          June 28, 2018 at 5:51 pm

          No, it wasn’t. That was your brother.

          • bodacious

            June 28, 2018 at 6:35 pm

            Too late moron.

          • Anonymous

            June 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm

            Only for you and your brother.