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Press Release

Federal Prosecutors Recognized for Excellence

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa announced today that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored law enforcement heroes for major successes in the fight against domestic and international terrorism, genocide, and war crimes at the seventh annual presentation of the ADL SHIELD Awards at the end of September.  The ceremony was held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.  Assistant United States Attorneys Richard Murphy and Ravi Narayan from the Northern District of Iowa were honored at the ceremony, along with Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents Michael Fischels, Andrew Lund, and Frank Hunter; a representative of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center; and Homeland Security legal counsel.

The SHIELD Awards annually recognize law enforcement for major achievements in cases related to ADL’s mission and work, including the fight against hate crimes and terrorism and protecting civil rights.  It has become one of the premier events honoring law enforcement heroes in the nation.

The award name reflects law enforcement’s role as protectors, and is also an acronym for the core values of the profession: Service, Honor, Integrity, Excellence, Leadership, and Dedication.

“The SHIELD Awards give us an opportunity to publicly recognize some of law enforcement’s greatest successes,” said Elise Jarvis, ADL’s Associate Director for Law Enforcement Outreach and Communal Security.   “The Awards are a way for us to honor and express our appreciation to those who have protected our nation and its values, and guarded our lives and freedoms.”

United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau stated, “I am very pleased to congratulate Rich and Ravi and the federal partners involved in this significant case.  This recognition stems from multiple federal partners working together to ensure justice was achieved.”

The recipients were honored for the investigation and successful prosecution of Gervais (Ken) Ngombwa, formerly of Rwanda and now of Cedar Rapids.  Ngombwa was convicted by a jury of naturalization fraud and conspiracy in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa earlier this year. 

Evidence presented at trial showed Ngombwa fled Rwanda with relatives during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.  The evidence also showed Ngombwa knowingly made several material false statements to procure entry into the United States as a refugee from Rwanda in 1998.  Notably, Ngombwa falsely claimed to be the brother of Faustin Twagiramungu, a former Prime Minister of Rwanda, who lives in exile in Belgium. 

In evidentiary hearings in advance of formal imposition of sentence, the United States presented the testimony of multiple witnesses, including agents from the Department of Homeland Security who conducted extensive investigation in Rwanda.  The testimony included evidence about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of people from the Tutsi ethnic group were killed.  The evidence showed that Ngombwa was charged and convicted in two local “gacaca” courts in Rwanda for his involvement in the genocide.  Ngombwa was implicated by numerous witnesses interviewed in Rwanda as a political leader in his community who actively directed and participated in the commission of genocidal acts.  Ngombwa was also named in an Indictment brought in 2010 against Jean Uwinkindi by the United Nations Joint Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as a co-participant in a “joint criminal enterprise whose common purpose was the commission of genocide against the Tutsi racial or ethnic group and persons identified as Tutsi or presumed to support the Tutsi[.]”  Uwinkindi was convicted of genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2015. 

Ngombwa’s U.S. citizenship has been revoked and he faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and eventual removal to Rwanda to face further incarceration and prosecution there.  A date for formal imposition of sentence has not been set.

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Updated December 15, 2016

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