Rwandan Genocide: presence at Cap de Fulgens Kaishema
Fuljens Kayishema, suspected of playing a key role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, appeared in a Cape Town court on Friday, two days after his arrest on a South African farm, the end of a run that would last twenty years.
Mr Kaishema, 62, who until his arrest was one of the last four fugitives wanted for his role in the genocide that led to the death of 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsi, by Hutu extremists, appeared emotionless on the dock.
A bald silhouette draped in a blue parka, bald and wearing skinny glasses, the sixty-year-old, surrounded by armed officers wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, admits to being a man wanted by Justice and the International Police. A master at impersonation, he recently used the name Donatien Nibashumba.
He was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the International Mechanism for Responsibility (MICT) since 2015 for carrying out the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), established by the United Nations following the genocide.
To confuse investigators, he would have benefited from the help of relatives as well as former Rwandan Armed Forces and Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda members and adherents of the Hutu Power’s genocidal ideology.
During this first appearance, the question of his extradition to Rwanda was not discussed. The accused were sent to Pollsmoor High Security Prison near Cape Town; The next hearing is scheduled for June 2.
– “Planning and execution” –
Fuljens Kayishema was a judicial police inspector during the genocide in Rwanda. According to International Justice, he was “one of the most wanted fugitives in the world for genocide”.
The accused “participated directly in the planning and execution” of the massacre of over 2,000 Tutsi refugees at Nyangae Church in the commune of Kivumu (north-east), “specifically by procuring and distributing gasoline to burn down the church” for the refugees inside. With,” according to UN prosecutors.
The indictment states, “When that failed, Mr. Kayishema and others used a bulldozer to demolish the church, burying and killing the refugees.”
He also participated, in the following days, in overseeing the gruesome transfer of corpses from the church to the mass graves.
The former fugitive has been charged by international justice with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.
A total of 62 people were sentenced by the ICTR. Others, such as one of the main architects of the genocide, Augustin Bizimana, died without facing international justice.
The trial of Felicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of the massacre, began in September 2022 but was suspended in March while it is decided whether he is healthy enough to remain in the dock.
Ibuka, an association of survivors of the massacre, which has been very active in demanding the arrest of those responsible, said it hoped that during Fuljens Kayishema’s trial, “the wheels of justice will not experience the kind of delay that that happened in the Kabuga trial”.
The three fugitives are still wanted by international justice for their alleged role in the Rwandan genocide.