Fugitive Rwandan police officer charged in killings of over 2,000 during 1994 genocide

  • Fulgence Kayishema, a police officer accused of orchestrating the killings of over 2,000 folks at a church during the Rwandan genocide, has been arrested in South Africa after spending 22 years as a fugitive.
  • Kayishema assumed a false id after fleeing justice in 2001, an endeavor that remained profitable till his seize in a multinational fugitive monitoring operation.
  • “[Kayishema’s] arrest gives the survivors hope that other fugitives still at large will be arrested too,” mentioned Naphtal Ahishakiye, government secretary of Ibuka, a Rwandan genocide survivors’ group.

One of probably the most needed suspects in Rwanda’s genocide, a police officer suspected of orchestrating the killing of greater than 2,000 folks at a church practically three many years in the past, has been arrested in South Africa after 22 years on the run, a particular tribunal arrange by the United Nations to seek out the perpetrators mentioned Thursday.

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) mentioned Fulgence Kayishema was arrested Wednesday at a winery in Paarl, a small city in a wine-making area about 30 miles east of Cape Town.

Kayishema, who’s believed to be in his early 60s, had assumed a false id and passed by the title Donatien Nibashumba, South African police mentioned.


He was captured in a joint operation by the tribunal’s fugitive monitoring staff and South African authorities, the tribunal mentioned, following an investigation that had tracked him throughout a number of African nations, together with Mozambique and Eswatini, since his indictment in 2001.

The United States had provided a $5 million reward for info resulting in Kayishema’s arrest via its Rewards for Justice program.

More than 800,000 folks have been killed in Rwanda’s genocide, which passed off over the course of three months in 1994 when members of the Hutu ethnic group turned on the minority Tutsis, slaughtering them and average Hutus who tried to guard them.

“His arrest gives the survivors hope that other fugitives still at large will be arrested too,” mentioned Naphtal Ahishakiye, the manager secretary of the Rwandan genocide survivor group Ibuka. “A genocide crime is too grave to go unpunished.”

Kayishema was indicted by the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes towards humanity for killings and different crimes. He had been at giant since 2001, the tribunal mentioned.

Former Rwandan police inspector Fulgence Kayishema has been arrested for his suspected position in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. (International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals by way of AP)

The tribunal mentioned he’s alleged to have organized the killings of greater than 2,000 ethnic Tutsi refugees — males, ladies and youngsters — at a Catholic church on April 15, 1994, during the primary days of the genocide.

The indictment alleges Kayishema, who held the rank of police inspector on the time, instantly participated in the planning and execution of the bloodbath by buying petrol to burn down the church with the folks trapped inside. When that failed, Kayishema and others used a bulldozer to knock down the church, burying and killing these inside, which included younger kids but additionally many aged women and men. Kayishema and others then moved the our bodies from the church grounds into mass graves over two days, the indictment alleges.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed Kayishema’s apprehension which “sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even more than a quarter of a century later,” his spokesman mentioned.

The U.N. chief counseled the cooperation between South Africa and the Rwanda tribunal which led to Kayishema’s arrest, U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric mentioned. His ideas as we speak “are first and foremost” with victims of Kayishema’s alleged crimes and their households and he confused that “ending impunity is essential for peace, security and justice.”


South African police mentioned Kayishema would seem in a courtroom in Cape Town on Friday earlier than seemingly being extradited to Rwanda.

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals was fashioned in 2010 to proceed investigating atrocities and looking down suspects of the Rwandan genocide and people suspected of battle crimes in the previous Yugoslavia during its ethnic conflicts in the Nineties and early 2000s.

“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 mentioned in an announcement. “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 tribunal mentioned it has now tracked down 5 suspects needed in the Rwandan genocide since 2020. It continues to be looking for three extra fugitives, it mentioned.

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