Accessibility links

US Trial Begins for Man Accused in Rwandan Genocide

A man accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide is on trial in an immigration court in the United States.

Eighty-four-year-old Lazare Kobagaya is accused of playing a role in the atrocities, and then lying about it to obtain U.S. citizenship in 2006. Prosecutors say the trial is the first of its kind in the U.S. requiring proof of genocide.

Jury selection is taking place Tuesday in the central U.S. city of Wichita, Kansas.

Prosecutors say that during the immigration process, Kobagaya lied and said he lived in Burundi during the Rwandan genocide. The government says Kobagaya was actually directing attackers to kill hundreds of ethnic Tutsis.

About 50 foreign witnesses have been brought to Wichita to testify.

If convicted, Kobagaya's citizenship could be revoked and he could face deportation.

In 1994, Hutu extremists in Rwanda killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a span of 100 days. Many of the top organizers have been tried and convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.