Former Rwandan police commander Fulgence Kayishema, one of the world’s most sought genocide suspects, has been detained in South Africa and accused of being a key player in the April 1994 massacre of more than 2,000 people in a church.
In a combined operation with South African officials and a UN team tasked with tracking down the remaining fugitives, Kayishema was apprehended on Wednesday, according to a statement.
At the time of his capture on Wednesday afternoon in Paarl, 35 miles (60 km) northeast of Cape Town, Kayishema had been on the run for more than 20 years and was using a false identity.
At first, according to the investigators, Kayishema denied being who he was accused of being. However, towards the evening’s conclusion, he admitted to them, “I have been waiting a long time to be arrested.”
The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda charged Kayishema in 2001, accusing him of committing murders and other crimes in the Kibuye prefecture that constituted genocide and crimes against humanity.
According to Serge Brammertz, the head prosecutor for the tribunal who oversaw the search, Fulgence Kayishema had been missing for more than 20 years. He will now undoubtedly be brought to justice for his alleged crimes thanks to his arrest.
According to Brammertz, the inquiry that resulted in his detention involved several African nations as well as other nations, and it was made possible with the assistance and collaboration of South African authorities.
According to a statement from Brammertz’s office, the investigation that resulted in Kayishema’s detention involved several nations, both in Africa and beyond. Kayishema used a variety of aliases and fake documents to hide his identity and whereabouts while fleeing the law.
In 2008, the Rwanda tribunal in Tanzania concluded its proceedings, and the IRMCT was founded to finish up its unfinished business. After Rwanda abolished the death sentence in 2007, the panel forwarded Kayishema’s case to that nation.
The parish priest Athanase Seromba, who was convicted of organizing the killings alongside Kayishema, is one among those previously found guilty for the church massacre. With the assistance of the Catholic church, he had concealed in Italy, but in 2002, he gave himself up. He was given a 15-year jail term by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2006, but that sentence was later upgraded on appeal in 2008 to a life sentence.