- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2009

BALTIMORE | A Rwandan professor has been removed from teaching French at Goucher College while the school investigates claims that he was involved in the 1994 genocide in his home country, the school’s president said in e-mail to faculty and students.

Goucher College President Sanford J. Ungar said in the e-mail Saturday that he had been unaware of an Interpol advisory that asked for help finding professor Leopold Munyakazi, who was indicted in 2006 on genocide charges in Rwanda.

“Doctor Munyakazi vehemently denies any involvement in committing genocide, and in fact has presented evidence that he assisted numerous Tutsis in fleeing Hutu killers,” Mr. Ungar said.

More than a half-million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 1994 after the president’s plane was shot down as he returned from negotiating with Tutsi rebels.

Mr. Ungar said he removed Mr. Munyakazi from his teaching duties because the allegations are so serious. But, he added, the removal “in no way reflects a judgment about Doctor Munyakazi or about the charges that have been made.”

He said a Justice Department official stressed to him that an indictment in Rwanda is a statement of a prosecutor’s views, not the result of a grand jury proceeding. Officials in Rwanda were not immediately available for comment.

“Evidence that would either convict or exonerate Doctor Munyakazi beyond a reasonable doubt simply does not exist at this time, or if it does, I have not seen it,” Mr. Ungar said.

Mr. Munyakazi said Monday he could not comment immediately.

Mr. Ungar said the indictment was prepared in 2006, 12 years after the killings in Rwanda but just a month after Mr. Munyakazi gave a lecture in New Jersey, where he was teaching at Montclair State College. During the talk, he questioned the Rwandan government’s account of the events that occurred during the conflict.

Mr. Munyakazi started teaching in September at Goucher College, in Towson, Md., just north of Baltimore. He was contracted for two semesters through the Scholar Rescue Fund, which provides fellowships for scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their countries.

Mr. Ungar said the fund and its parent organization, the Institute of International Education, are investigating but have not been able to confirm or deny the truth of the claims in the indictment.

Mr. Ungar also said the college plans to provide off-campus housing for Mr. Munyakazi and his family until the end of this semester, though Mr. Munyakazi “will not have a presence on campus.”

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