Judge: CR man lied to get in America, participated in Rwandan ge - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Judge: CR man lied to get in America, participated in Rwandan genocide

Posted: Updated:

A man who has lived in Cedar Rapids for nearly two decades was sentenced to 15 years in prison today for lying to get into the country as a refugee. 

The court says 56-year-old Gervais Ngombwa (who is known as Ken in the community) actively participated in the killing of 800,000 people known as the Rwandan genocide. 

Ngombwa came to seek refuge in the United States with his family nearly 20 years ago claiming to be a victim of genocide in Rwanda when all along the court says he was not only a participant in the slayings but a leader. 

Prosecutors say Ngombwa killed numerous Tutsi because of their ethnicity while also leading brutal attacks on Tutsi who were trying to seek refuge including a massacre inside of a local church. 

At the sentencing this morning Ngombwa could be seen grabbing tissues from the table in front of him and whipping his eyes. 

A number of family members and friends were at the sentencing in support of Ngombwa. 

We spoke with a friend of Ngombwa's on Tuesday, he said a language barrier was to blame for the fraud. 
"He couldn't understand a lot of the things that were being said other than sign the paper and we will get you out of here," Bill Moss told us. 

The idea of a language barrier potentially being an issue when it came to Ngombwa's fraudulent documents is something we asked officials about today. 

"They have claimed throughout the interpreters did not speak his native language that is not a fact," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy. 

Prosecutors say justice was served today. 

"Today he can run away no more for the terrible crimes he committed," says U.S. Attorney Kevin Techau. 

After serving his 15 year prison sentence Ngombwa will likely be deported back to Rwanda. 

The government did a six year investigation on this case which included multiple trips to Rwanda to talk with witnesses. 

We are told it took awhile to gather all of the evidence to prosecute Ngombwa because witnesses in Rwanda didn't necessarily have addresses or phone numbers making it easy to track them down. 

The judge called this case unusual because Ngombwa brought family with him to the United States based on his false statements. 

The government is not going to address the circumstances that got his family into the country at this time. 

Powered by Frankly