Fulgence Kayishema, one of the main defendants accused of involvement in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, was arrested in South Africa after more than 20 years of being unaccounted for. According to the UN IRCT, he was arrested in the town of Paarl in a joint operation by the IRMCT Prosecutor's Office fugitive search team and South African authorities.
Yesterday afternoon, Fulgence #Kayishema – one of the world’s most wanted genocide fugitives – was arrested in Paarl, South Africa in a joint operation by the #IRMCT Office of the Prosecutor and South African authorities. PR and Prosecutor's statement 👉🏽https://t.co/JA7QVuCKvZ pic.twitter.com/U5nJyo3LKE
— UNIRMCT (@unirmct) May 25, 2023
Kayishema is accused of orchestrating the killing of some 2,000 Tutsi refugees - men, women, children and the elderly - in the Catholic church in Nyange during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. He had been wanted since 2021.
The chief prosecutor of the IRMCT, Serge Brammertz, welcomed the arrest and announced that the fugitive is now in the hands of justice:
Fulgence Kayishema was a fugitive for more than twenty years. His arrest ensures that he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes. 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.
The prosecutor recalls that Kayishema was indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2001 for the crimes of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for killings and other crimes committed in the commune of Kivumu, Kibuye prefecture, during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The indictment alleges that on April 15, 1994, Kayishema, along with other co-perpetrators, murdered more than 2,000 refugee men, women, children and elderly, in the Nyange church, According to the indictment, Kayishema "directly participated in the planning and execution of this massacre, including, 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. Kayishema and others then supervised the transfer of corpses from the church grounds into mass graves over the next approximately two days."