Fulgence Kayishema, the most wanted suspect for the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, has been arrested this Wednesday in Paarl, South Africa, as reported by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Courts (IRMCT, for its acronym in English) and collects the Reuters agency. Kayishema allegedly orchestrated the killing of around 2,000 Tutsis at the Nyange Catholic Church. The alleged war criminal has been on the run since 2001. The IRMCT is a judicial body created by the United Nations Security Council. He assumes the functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which closed its doors in 2015. In 2001, Kayishema was indicted by the ICTR for genocide and crimes against humanity for the murders and other crimes committed in Kibuye. Six years later, his case was sent to the Rwandan courts, after the country abolished the death penalty.
Serge Brammertz, IRMCT prosecutor, reported that after 20 years on the run, the arrest will ensure that Kayishema, a former police officer, faces justice for his alleged crimes. “Genocide is the most serious crime known to humanity. The international community has pledged to ensure that their perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished. This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this commitment does not wane and that justice will be done, no matter what, ”he declared. Brammertz noted that the investigation that led to his arrest spanned multiple countries in Africa and other continents and was made possible through the support and cooperation of the South African authorities.
According to information provided by CNN, the United States War Crimes Rewards Program had offered a reward of up to 5,000,000 dollars (4,662,400 euros) for information on Kayishema and the other fugitives wanted by perpetrate the Rwandan genocide. Kayishema is scheduled to appear in court in Cape Town on Friday.
The court accuses Kayishema of directly participating in “planning the execution of the massacre.” The indictment states that he purchased and distributed the gasoline to burn down the church while the refugees were inside. Kayishema and others have been accused of using a bulldozer to pull down the church after the fire, even with people trapped.
The Nyanga events were one of the most brutal of the genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in a 90-day period. In the Rwandan genocide, both Hutu militias and civilians murdered large numbers of members of the Tutsi ethnic minority: men, women and children. The killing ended when Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) troops, led by Paul Kagame, defeated the Hutu rebels and seized control of the country.
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