Rwanda genocide suspect arrest earns UN praise for SA law enforcement


A South African law enforcement task team was on the receiving end of thanks from the United Nations (UN) following the arrest of Fulgence Kayishema, said by the world body to be one of the world’s most wanted genocide fugitives.

He was taken into custody in Paarl, Western Cape, late last month by a task team including the South African departments of Home Affairs, International Relations and Co-operation, Justice and Correctional Services as well as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Interpol under the leadership of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), better known as the Hawks.

The UN tribunal prosecuting war crimes committed in Rwanda said Kayishema is alleged to have orchestrated the killing of about two thousand Tutsi refugees  at Nyange Catholic Church during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Sixty-one-year-old Kayishema was arrested on an Interpol Red Notice issued by the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UN IRMCT).

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the arrest “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.”

He commended the co-operation between IRMCT and South African authorities for the apprehension adding “all States have an obligation to co-operate with the Mechanism in the location, arrest, detention, surrender and transfer of accused persons still at large.”

IRMCT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said the arrest ensures the long sought fugitive will finally face justice for his alleged crimes.

“Genocide is the most serious crime known to humankind. The international community has committed to ensure its perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished. This arrest is a tangible demonstration this commitment does not fade and justice will be done, no matter how long it takes,” he added.