Rwanda genocide: one of the last wanted fugitives arrested in South Africa



AA / Pascal Mulegwa

United Nations prosecutors on Wednesday arrested Fulgens Kaishema in South Africa, one of the world’s most wanted fugitives for his role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Accused among others of killing more than 2,000 men, women, elderly and refugees at a church in Nyange, Rwanda, around April 15, 1994, Kaishema, 62, who had been on the run since 2001, was arrested Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors of the International Mechanism for the Completion of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) announced.

According to the same prosecutors, the arrest was made in the South African city of Paarl, after a long investigation in several countries as part of an operation carried out with the country’s authorities.

Fulgens Kaishema worked as a police inspector before his involvement in the genocide. To disguise himself, Kaishema used numerous aliases and forged documents for 22 years, relying on “a network of trusted supporters to conceal his identity and whereabouts,” prosecutors said.

According to the same court sources, his supporters include members of his family, former members of the Rwandan armed forces and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.

Prosecutors charge Kaishema with genocide, complicity, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.

His arrest “guarantees that he will be brought to justice for the crimes he is accused of,” Mechanism prosecutor Serge Brammertz was quoted as saying in a press release.

“Today is a day of remembrance for the victims and survivors of the genocide who, 29 years later, continue to bear the physical and mental scars of their suffering,” he explained.

In total, the international mechanism managed to arrest only two fugitives. In 2022, Félicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, appeared before the judges, but his trial was suspended for health reasons.

The ICTR was established by the UN Security Council in 1994 in response to the genocide in Rwanda. It was dissolved in 2015.

According to the American organization Human Wright Watch (HRW), the ICTR has tried and sentenced several prominent figures, including former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, former Army Chief of Staff General Augustine Bizimungu and former Defense Ministry Chief of Staff. Colonel Theoneste Bagosora. He indicted 93 people, convicted 61 and acquitted 14, making an unprecedented contribution to establishing the truth about the organization of the genocide in Rwanda and bringing justice to the victims.

Source: AA

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