Rwandan fugitive wanted for genocide nabbed in SA

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A Rwandan fugitive, wanted in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide, has been arrested in Paarl in the Western Cape by a South African Operational Task Team (OTT).

The task team included, among others, Home Affairs, Department of International Relations and Coopertion, Interpol, Department of Justice and the National Prosecuting Authority lead by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.

South African police said on Thursday that Fulgence Kayishema, aged 61, was arrested on an Interpol Red Notice which was issued by the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UN IRMCT).

This came after the OTT received information regarding the fugitive’s whereabouts and pictures from the IRMCT, which led to the identification of the fugitive, who has been wanted since 2002.

According to the arrest warrant issued and IRMCT indictment, Kayishema was a Police Inspector in Rwanda who allegedly played a significant role in the planning and execution of over 2 000 people during the genocide in 1994.

He was wanted for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.

“At the time of his arrest at a grape farm in Paarl, in the Western Cape, on 24 May 2023, the Rwandan fugitive was living under a false identity (Donatien Nibashumba). The investigation conducted by OTT led to the arrest of the fugitive in Paarl,” said the police in a statement.

He will remain in custody until he appears in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday, at the disposal of South African judicial authorities pending his extradition to Rwanda.

The National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya commended the team for their excellent work.

He said the arrest demonstrates the power and effectiveness of international co-operation between police in obtaining information in relation to the identification, location and apprehension of fugitives around the world.

“It proves that however long it takes, the law enforcement community will keep on searching for fugitives until they are located and arrested,” he said.

The operation is a credit to law enforcement officers and agencies in South Africa and Rwanda, he said.

“With this arrest two emphatic statements cannot be refuted, that the long arm of the law knows no time bounds and South Africa is not willing to be a safe haven for fugitives. We will continue to assist other countries and international bodies to trace fugitives. We expect the same from other countries,” Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Ronald Lamola said.

Kayishema is alleged to have orchestrated the killing of approximately 2000 Tutsi refugees – women, men, children, and elderly – at the Nyange Catholic Church during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. He has been at large since 2001.