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Main Rwandan genocide fugitive appears in Cape Town court

One of the most wanted men accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide was arrested this week after 22 years on the run.

A man suspected of playing a key role in the Rwandan genocide appeared in a Cape Town court on Friday, two days after his arrest at a South African farm and more than two decades after he first fled.

Fulgence Kayishema, 62, is one of four remaining fugitives wanted for their role in the 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 Rwandans.

The majority of the victims belonged to the Tutsi minority, at the hands of extremists from the Hutu majority.

He appeared impassive in the dock, dressed in a blue parka and surrounded by armed officers wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, as he admitted he was the man wanted by the courts and the police international.

Kayishema is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.

He was the target of an arrest warrant issued by the Residual International Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), set up by the UN Security Council to complete the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). ).

Investigators say that in his efforts to escape justice, he has benefited from the help of relatives and members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, as well as people who adhere to genocide ideology. of Hutu Power.

A master in the art of impersonating others, he more recently used the name Donatien Nibashumba. After being spotted at a farm in Paarl, some 60 km from Cape Town, he was arrested on Wednesday with the help of Interpol.

The UN chief’s spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said the arrest sent “a strong message that those suspected of committing such crimes cannot escape justice”.

Planning and Execution

Kayishema was a judicial police inspector during the genocide in Rwanda.

According to the IRMCT, he is notably accused of having participated in the notorious massacre of more than 2,000 Tutsi refugees who had taken refuge in a Catholic church in Nyange.

“Kayishema was directly involved in the planning and execution of this massacre, including procuring and distributing gasoline to burn down the church with the refugees inside,” the chief prosecutor of the city said. IRMCT in a press release.

“When that failed, Kayishema and others used a bulldozer to collapse the church, burying and killing the refugees inside.

“Kayishema and others then oversaw the transfer of corpses from the church grounds to the mass graves over the next two days or so.”

His first court appearance was not subject to any discussion of possible extradition to Rwanda. Kayishema has been taken into custody at Pollsmoor High Security Prison, near Cape Town, and his next hearing is scheduled for June 2.

euronews Gt

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