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

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

One of the wished suspects in Rwanda’s genocide, a police officer suspected of orchestrating the killing of greater than 2,000 folks at a church almost 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 search out the perpetrators mentioned Thursday.

The Worldwide Residual Mechanism for Legal 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 City.

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


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

The USA had supplied a $5 million reward for info resulting in Kayishema’s arrest by way of its Rewards for Justice program.

Greater than 800,000 folks had 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 offers the survivors hope that different fugitives nonetheless at giant shall be arrested too,” mentioned Naphtal Ahishakiye, the manager secretary of the Rwandan genocide survivor group Ibuka. “A genocide crime is just too grave to go unpunished.”

Kayishema was indicted by the U.N.’s Worldwide Legal 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 within the 1994 Rwandan genocide. (Worldwide Residual Mechanism for Legal 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 kids — at a Catholic church on April 15, 1994, through the first days of the genocide.

The indictment alleges Kayishema, who held the rank of police inspector on the time, straight participated within 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 in addition 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-Basic António Guterres welcomed Kayishema’s apprehension which “sends a strong message that those that are alleged to have dedicated such crimes can’t evade justice and can ultimately be held accountable, much more than 1 / 4 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 immediately “are initially” with victims of Kayishema’s alleged crimes and their households and he confused that “ending impunity is important for peace, safety and justice.”


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

The Worldwide Residual Mechanism for Legal Tribunals was shaped in 2010 to proceed investigating atrocities and looking down suspects of the Rwandan genocide and people suspected of battle crimes within the former Yugoslavia throughout its ethnic conflicts within the Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s.

“Fulgence Kayishema was a fugitive for greater than 20 years. His arrest ensures that he’ll lastly face justice for his alleged crimes,” IRMCT chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz mentioned in an announcement. “Genocide is essentially the most critical crime recognized to humankind. The worldwide group has dedicated to make sure that its perpetrators shall be prosecuted and punished. This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this dedication doesn’t fade and that justice shall be accomplished, regardless of how lengthy it takes.”


The tribunal mentioned it has now tracked down 5 suspects wished within the Rwandan genocide since 2020. It’s nonetheless trying to find three extra fugitives, it mentioned.

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