Rwanda: Arrest in South Africa of One of the Last Fugitives Wanted for the Genocide

maryam lahbal
maryam lahbal
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The Special Court arrested Fulgence Kayishema, a former police inspector, on Wednesday, May 24th in South Africa. He was one of the last four fugitives wanted for their role in the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. Notably, Kayishema is implicated in the death of more than 2,000 people in a church in the commune of Kivumu, in the west of the country.

The South African authorities arrested Fulgence Kayishema in Paarl as part of an operation following a long investigation conducted in several countries. Prosecutors from the International Mechanism for Residual Functions of Criminal Tribunals (the “Mechanism”) stated that Kayishema had used numerous aliases and false documents and had relied on a network of trusted supporters to conceal his identity and presence. These supporters included members of his family, members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces, and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.

The prosecution accused Fulgence Kayishema of being responsible for several murders or serious attacks on the mental and physical integrity of the Tutsi population of Kivumu between the 6th and 20th of April 1994.

Tried in Kigali

The International Mechanism indicted Fulgence Kayishema for genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for ordering the destruction of the church of Nyange on April 15th, where more than 2,000 people had taken refuge. As a result of this destruction, by July 1994, no Tutsis were registered in the commune of Kivumu.

It is not in The Hague, but in Kigali that Fulgence Kayishema should be tried. When the international mechanism took over the activities of the ICTR, the cases still pending, mainly the fugitives, were divided into two groups. Those who will be judged by the mechanism, including logically in The Hague, this is the case for example of Félicien Kabuga.

The performers, including the former inspector, must be returned to the Rwandan authorities. This is the case of the last three fugitives still wanted by the International Mechanism.

Maryam Lahbal

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