A Rwandan man accused of war crimes was arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in northern Maine after a local citizen reported a "suspicious person" walking near the Canadian border, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
Jean Leonard Teganya, 42, a Rwandan who authorities said had violated international law and the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, walked across the border into the United States illegally on Sunday when he was spotted, accordingto a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security. He was later detained and processed for removal from the United States, a spokeswoman said.
According to Canadian court documents, Teganya, an ethnic Hutu, and his family fled Rwanda during that country's civil war in 1994. He traveled first to Congo, then Kenya, and India, before finally entering Quebec to seek asylum.
Thousands of people fled Rwanda after the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
A Canadian immigration agency denied Teganya refugee status, saying he was complicit in the killing of 200 Tutsis at a hospital where he was a medical intern during the genocide. Teganya, the son of a convicted war criminal in Rwanda serving a 22-year sentence, told a judge he could be detained and subject to torture and punishment if returned to Rwanda.
After multiple appeals, a Canadian court issued a warrant for Teganya's removal from Canada. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said formal charges had yet to be filed and that a judge would ultimately determine whether Teganya would be returned to Rwanda, or Canada.