Rwandan genocide fugitive Kayishema arrested in South Africa

One of the last at-large suspects of the Rwandan genocide has been arrested in South Africa, the United Nations tribunal for war crimes committed in Rwanda said on Thursday.

Fulgence Kayishema allegedly orchestrated the slaughter of 2,000 Tutsi refugees at the Nyange Catholic Church during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) said.

Kayishema has been on the run since 2001 and was described by the tribunal as “one of the world’s most-wanted genocide fugitives.” He was arrested on Wednesday.

“Fulgence Kayishema was a fugitive for more than 20 years. His arrest ensures that he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes,” IRMCT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said.

After the arrest, three fugitives remain on the IRMCT’s wanted list for genocide in Rwanda.

What are the allegations against Kayishema?

According to his 2001 indictment, Kayishema is alleged to have directly participated in the massacre of 2,000 men, women, children and elderly people while he worked as a judicial police inspector.

He is charged with procuring and distributing petrol to burn down the church where Tutsi refugees were staying. When this failed, he allegedly used a bulldozer to collapse the church, burying and killing the people inside, according to the IRMCT.

The IRMCT said Kayishema managed to evade authorities for two decades by using different aliases and false documents.

He also relied upon “a network of trusted supporters” including family members and those aligned with the genocidal Hutu Power ideology.

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