Fulgence Kayishema
Fulgence Kayishema, a long-sought genocide fugitive is set to appear in court. Image: IRMCT.

“Genocide is the most serious crime known to humankind”. Rwanda’s most wanted killer has been arrested in Cape Town after his 22-year escape.

One of the world’s most wanted fugitives, Fulgence Kayishema, has been arrested in Cape Town. The suspect has been on the run for 22 years. The suspect has been arrested in connection with crimes relating to the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The former police officer was charged in 2001, he is one of four remaining fugitives from the genocide to be captured.

Kayishema was arrested on Wednesday by an operation between South African and Rwandan authorities. Kayishema is alleged to have planed the killing of more than 2 000 Tutsi refugees at the Nyage Catholic Church. He is expected to appear in the magistrate court in Cape Town. According to CNN, when he was arrested Kayishema allegedly denied his identity. The suspect is alleged to have used multiple fake documents to avoid being detained.

The Chief prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) Serge Brammertz said “Genocide is the most serious crime known to humankind. The international community has committed to ensuring that its perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished. This arrest is a tangible demonstration that his commitment does not fade, and that justice will be done”. He also added that his arrest would ensure that he faces the full might of the law, for his crime against humanity.

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According to City Press, the events of the genocide in Nyanga, Rwanda, were one of the most brutal in which an estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over a period of 90 days. The refugees in the church included, men, women, children and the elderly. The tribunal alleged that Kayishema directly participated in the planning and execution of the massacre of 1994. The indictment alleges that Kayishema bought and distributed petrol to burn the church with the refugees inside. The suspect is accused of using a bulldozer to collapse the church.

After the genocide, Kayishema fled Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo. After relocating to several African countries with his wife, children and brother-in-law, he moved to Cape Town, South Africa where he lived and was arrested after being on the run for over two decades.

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