Rwandan genocide fugitive Kayishema re-arrested in South Africa, faces extradition

Rwandan genocide fugitive Kayishema re-arrested in South Africa, faces extradition

62-year-old former police officer accused of orchestrating killing of approximately 2,000 Tutsi refugees at Nyange Catholic Church during Rwanda's 1994 genocide

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Fulgence Kayishema, a Rwandan fugitive who had been in custody in South Africa, was re-arrested in response to a UN tribunal's request for his extradition to Tanzania to stand trial at its genocide court in Arusha city.​​​​​​​

Kayishema was apprehended earlier this year on a farm in Paarl, a town in South Africa's Western Cape province, where he was living under a false name. He was charged with violating the country's immigration laws, and he has been in custody and continued to appear in court.

Kayishema was arrested again on Tuesday while in the holding cells of the Cape Town High Court, where he was due to appear, the national broadcaster SABC reported.

His lawyers, who were surprised by his client's re-arrest, told the broadcaster that the latest action was taken in response to an application to the high court by the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) to stand trial in Arusha, Tanzania, where he has been wanted for 1994 genocide.

The 62-year-old former Rwandan police officer is accused of orchestrating the killing of approximately 2,000 Tutsi refugees at the Nyange Catholic Church during Rwanda's 1994 genocide against the ethnic Tutsi tribal people.

An estimated 800,000 Tutsi ethnic tribe members as well as moderate Hutus were killed during a 100-day bloodshed in Rwanda in 1994.

Kayishema was taken into custody in May of this year in a joint operation by South African authorities and the IRMCT fugitive tracking team.

The UN welcomed his arrest, quoting Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as saying: "Mr. Kayishema's apprehension sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even more than a quarter of a century later."

IRMCT chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said his arrest ensured that “he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes.”

The IRMCT said genocide is the most serious crime known to humankind, and the international community has committed to ensuring that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished.

“This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this commitment does not fade and that justice will be done, no matter how long it takes,” he added.

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