After decades on the run, Fulgence Kayishema was arrested in South Africa on Wednesday. This is reported by the United Nations in a press release. He is one of the last four suspects still to be tried for the murder of more than 2,000 Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.
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In 1994, the then police officer Kayishema was active within a group of extremist Hutus who wanted to exterminate the Tutsi minority. According to UN figures, 800,000 people were killed in that period. On April 15, more than 2,000 displaced Tutsis took shelter in a Catholic church in Nyange. Together with some other militants, Kayishema is said to have locked them up. Then they wanted to set fire to the church. But when that plan failed, the Hutus brought in a bulldozer and razed the building to the ground.
According to the International Tribunal adjudicating the atrocities in Rwanda, Kayishema was “directly involved in the planning and implementation”. For example, he would have collected the petrol that was needed for the arson himself and poured it around the church.
Kayishema has been on the run since his accusation in 2001 and has since used various false names and documents. Working with South African authorities, a United Nations team was finally able to apprehend him in Paarl, near Cape Town. At first Kayishema would have denied his true identity, but later that evening he admitted. “I have been waiting a long time to be arrested,” the officers repeated his words.
Kayishema will face charges of complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity and identity theft. The tribunal has already pronounced 62 convictions from The Hague and Arusha. The most recent lawsuit was that of the alleged mastermind behind the organization, Félicien Kabuga. That case was suspended in March due to his health.