Thu, 08 Jun 2023

KIGALI, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The umbrella body of genocide survivors' organizations in Rwanda (IBUKA) on Thursday welcomed the arrest in South Africa of Fulgence Kayishema, one of the most wanted suspects of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Kayishema, who had remained at large since 2001, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Paarl, South Africa, in a joint operation, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) said in a statement.

"Fulgence Kayishema was a fugitive for more than twenty years. His arrest ensures that he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes," said Serge Brammertz, IRMCT chief prosecutor.

Naphtal Ahishakiye, IBUKA executive secretary, said the arrest of Kayishema was welcome news in view of his direct role in the killing of Tutsis.

"As a former prosecutor, Kayishema was at the forefront and one of those who played a big role in the genocide, particularly the killing of more than 5,000 Tutsi refugees at the Nyange Church. Kayishema and others used a bulldozer to collapse the church, burying the refugees inside ... his arrest after years of eluding justice is soothing to us as IBUKA," Ahishakiye told Xinhua.

Ahishakiye said IBUKA wishes all genocide suspects arrested outside the country could be extradited to be tried in Rwanda, where they committed crimes, to enable survivors to follow the proceedings.

He also called for the speedy trial of genocide suspects to avoid further delaying justice.

In 2001, Kayishema was indicted by the defunct International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on multiple charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for killings and other crimes committed in Kivumu Commune, Kibuye Prefecture, during the genocide.

The indictment alleged that on April 15, 1994, Kayishema, together with other co-perpetrators, murdered more than 2,000 men, women, elderly and children refugees at the Nyange Church in Kivumu Commune.

The Rwandan genocide occurred in 1994 when about 1 million people, mostly of the Tutsi community and moderate Hutus, were killed.

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