May 25. (EUROPE PRESS) –
Fulgence Kayishema, one of the main defendants for his role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda who was still on the run, has been arrested in South Africa after more than two decades in an unknown location, as confirmed on Thursday by the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).
The IRMCT has indicated in a statement that the man, on the run since 2001, was arrested in the city of Paarl as part of a joint operation by the agency and the South African authorities. Kayishema is accused of orchestrating the killing of nearly 2,000 Tutsi refugees in a Catholic church during the genocide.
Kayishema was indicted in 2001 for genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for acts in Kivumu commune, Kibuyu prefecture. The man is suspected of murdering more than 2,000 men, women, children and the elderly who had sought refuge in the Nyange Church, including his direct involvement in planning and carrying out the massacre, including obtaining and distributing gasoline to burn the church. with these people inside
After this attempt failed, Kayishema and others involved in the massacre used a bulldozer to tear down the church, burying the refugees, who died in the rubble. Subsequently, they supervised the transfer of corpses to mass graves for the next two days.
IRMCT Attorney General Serge Brammertz stressed that Kayishema’s arrest “guarantees that she will finally face justice for her alleged crimes”, before stressing that “genocide is the most serious crime known to humanity”. “The international community has pledged to ensure that those responsible will be tried and punished,” he recalled.
“This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this commitment does not fade and that justice will be done, no matter how long it takes,” said Brammertz, who has asserted that “the exhaustive investigation that led to his arrest was possible thanks to to the support and cooperation of South Africa” and added that there was also support from Eswatini, Mozambique, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
In this sense, he has emphasized that “the Rwandan authorities (…) continue to be the strongest partners and have provided essential assistance”, before stressing that “Kayishema’s arrest demonstrates once again that justice can be done, regardless of the challenges, through direct cooperation between international and national authorities.”
“Today is a day to think about the victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Although 29 years have passed, they continue to bear the physical and mental scars of their suffering. My office reaffirms that we will not rest in our efforts to achieve justice on their behalf and that we will continue to carry out our mandate to contribute to a fairer and more peaceful future for the Rwandan people,” he concluded.
During her period on the run, Kayishema used various aliases and false documents to hide her identity, while receiving support from relatives and former members of the Forces Démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR) — a rebel armed group founded and composed mainly of Hutus responsible for the genocide– and others who support the genocidal ideology of the Hutu Power movement.
Some 800,000 Rwandans, the vast majority of them Tutsi and moderate Hutu, were killed by Hutu extremists over nearly three months in 1994. Mass graves are still being discovered today, especially since convicts who have served their sentences have provided information about the place where they buried or abandoned their victims.