‘Most wanted’ Genocide fugitive Kayishema arrested

Fulgence Kayishema, one of the fugitives wanted for their role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, has been arrested in Paarl, South Africa, according to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

Kayishema was arrested on Wednesday, May 24 in a joint operation by the IRMCT’s Office of the Prosecutor and South African authorities. He had a $5m bounty on him.

The former head of the judicial police in the former Kibuye prefecture has been on the run for more than 20 years.

In 2012, the UN tribunal ruled that upon his arrest, Kayishema would be transferred to Rwanda for trial.

Kayishema is alleged to have orchestrated the killing of approximately 2000 Tutsi refugees – women, men, children and elderly – at the Nyange Catholic Church during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. He has been at large since 2001.

“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.

“Genocide is the most serious crime known to humankind. The international community has committed to ensure that its perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished. This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this commitment does not fade and that justice will be done, no matter how long it takes,” Brammertz said.

Kayishema was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2001 and charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for killings and other crimes committed in Kivumu Commune, Kibuye Prefecture during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

“The thorough investigation that led to this arrest was made possible through the support and cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and the Operational Task Team established by President Ramaphosa to assist our Fugitive Tracking Team,” Brammetz said.

He also commended Rwandan authorities under the leadership of Prosecutor General Aimable Havugiyaremye, who “continued to be our strongest partners and provided essential assistance.”

“Kayishema’s arrest demonstrates yet again that justice can be secured, no matter the challenges, through direct cooperation between international and national law enforcement agencies,” he noted.

Brammetz said: “Today is a day to think of the victims and survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. While twenty-nine years have passed, they continue to bear the physical and mental scars of their suffering.”

He said his office “will not rest in our efforts to secure justice on their behalf, and by carrying out our mandate contribute to a more just and peaceful future for the Rwandan people.”

The indictment alleges that on April 15, 1994, Kayishema, together with other co-perpetrators, massacred more than 2,000 men, women, elderly and children refugees at the Nyange Church in Kivumu commune.

Brammetz’s office says Kayishema directly participated in the planning and execution of this massacre, including by procuring and distributing petrol to burn down the church with the refugees inside.

When this failed, Kayishema and others used a bulldozer to collapse the church, burying and killing the refugees inside. He and others then supervised the transfer of corpses from the church grounds into mass graves over the next approximately two days.

The investigation leading to Kayishema’s arrest spanned multiple countries across Africa and elsewhere, in strong cooperation with many national law enforcement and immigration agencies.

During his flight from justice, Kayishema utilized many aliases and false documents to conceal his identity and presence.

According to the IRMCT, Kayishema relied upon a network of trusted supporters, including family members, members of the former Rwandan army and FDLR, and those aligned with the genocidal Hutu Power ideology.

Kayishema was located and arrested through an analysis-driven investigation exploiting multi-source evidence with both traditional and leading-edge methodologies.-New Times


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