One of the four fugitives who fled the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda has been captured. Fulgence Kayishema was arrested in Paarl, South Africa, on Wednesday, the International Remaining Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the UN court that tries genocide suspects, announced.
Kayishema was charged with genocide in 2001 for killing more than 2,000 Tutsi men, women and children inside a Catholic church.
In a statement, the court described Qaishema as “one of the world’s most wanted genocide fugitives”.
The lawyer explains that the arrest of this person was possible using various aliases and false documents. An international operation involving many countries.
According to the indictment, Qaishema was directly involved in planning the massacre, including buying and distributing gasoline to burn the church with refugees. When this failed, Kaishema and others used a bulldozer to demolish the building, burying and killing the refugees inside. They then oversaw the removal of the bodies from the church compound to mass graves.
Since 2020, the UN court has traced the whereabouts of five fugitives accused of the Rwandan genocide. Now only three fugitives remain.
The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in the former Yugoslavia, which closed two years later, performs essential functions, including the International Court of Justice for Rwanda, which closed in December 2015.
Finally before justice
Kaishema has been free since 2001 and was one of four people who escaped the genocide, during which a million people were killed and up to 250,000 women raped in about 100 days.
The mechanism’s chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, said his arrest ensures the long-time fugitive will face justice for his crimes.
“Genocide is the most serious crime known to mankind. The international community has promised that the perpetrators will be punished. “This arrest is a concrete proof that this commitment has not waned and that justice will be done no matter what,” he added.
International Assistance for Justice
Brammertz said the thorough investigation that led to the arrest was made possible by the support and cooperation of South Africa and the Task Force established by President Cyril Ramaphosa to assist the Mechanism’s Fugitive Tracking Team.
They received “key support” from similar task forces in other African countries, particularly Eswatini and Mozambique.
“The Rwandan authorities, led by Attorney General Aimable Haukiaremi, have been our staunch partners and provided essential assistance,” he said.
The Attorney General also cited the support of other countries, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, saying, “Kaishema’s arrest proves that once again. Justice can be guaranteedWhatever the difficulties, Through direct collaboration between international and national law enforcement agencies”.
In 2001, Kayishema was indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the crimes of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity for the killings in Kivumu commune, Kibuye province, and other crimes. Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.
According to the indictment, he and other co-accused participated in the “direct planning and execution” of the massacre of more than 2,000 refugees – men, women, elderly and children – at Nyange Church in Kivumu commune on April 15, 1994. The slaughter works systematically for the next two days to transfer the bodies to mass graves.
A new step forward
The arrest represents “a new step” in efforts to account for all fugitives who remain at large and have been indicted by the international tribunal.
Since 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office’s Fugitive Location Team has freed five fugitives, including another architect of the genocide planned by the extremist Hutu regime of the time, Felician Kabuka, as well as Augustine Bisimana, Protesus Mbaranya and Phineas Munyarugarama. Currently only 3 people are absconding.
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