A Rwandan professor has been removed from teaching French while Goucher College investigates claims that he was involved in the 1994 genocide in his home country, the school's president said in an e-mail to faculty and students.
Goucher College President Sanford 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.
"Dr. Munyakazi vehemently denies any involvement in committing genocide, and in fact has presented evidence that he assisted numerous Tutsis in fleeing Hutu killers," Ungar said.
More than a half-million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 1994 after the then-president's plane was shot down as he returned from negotiating with Tutsi rebels.
Ungar said he removed Munyakazi from his teaching duties because the allegations are so serious, but the removal "in no way reflects a judgment about Dr. Munyakazi or about the charges that have been made."
He said a U.S. 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 because it was after hours there.
"Evidence that would either convict or exonerate Dr. Munyakazi beyond a reasonable doubt simply does not exist at this time, or if it does, I have not seen it," Ungar said.
Reached Monday by The Associated Press, Munyakazi said he could not immediately comment.
Ungar said the indictment was prepared in 2006, 12 years after the killings in Rwanda but just a month after 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.
Munyakazi started teaching in September at Goucher College in Towson, 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.
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.
Ungar said the college plans to provide off-campus housing for Munyakazi and his family until the end of this semester, although Munyakazi "will not have a presence on campus."