After evading justice for nearly three decades, one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, Fulgence Kayishema, has been apprehended in South Africa.
The United Nations investigators confirm his arrest, stating that Kayishema orchestrated a horrifying massacre of 2,000 women, men, and children during the 1994 Rwandan genocide
Kayishema had been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2001 but managed to elude capture by assuming different identities and using disguises. The attack on the Nyange church, considered one of the most brutal acts committed during the 100 days of the Rwandan genocide, remains a haunting reminder of the tragedy. The U.N.’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) reports that the joint operation between South African authorities and the U.N. led to Kayishema’s arrest in the town of Paarl, located in South Africa’s Western Cape.
Initially denying his true identity, Kayishema eventually confessed to expecting his arrest for a prolonged period shortly after being taken into custody. The U.S. War Crimes Program had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of Kayishema and other individuals implicated in the Rwandan genocide.
IRMCT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz expressed satisfaction with the arrest, stating, “Fulgence Kayishema was a fugitive for more than twenty years.
His arrest ensures that he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes
” The apprehension marks another triumph for the ICTR, whose Fugitive Tracking Team has successfully captured five of the most wanted suspects connected to the genocide since 2020. Only three individuals remain at large.
Brammertz further emphasized the unwavering commitment to justice, declaring, “This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this commitment does not fade and that justice will be done, no matter how long it takes.”
The Rwanda tribunal indicted Kayishema on charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for his involvement in the killings and other atrocities committed during the genocide. The indictment alleges that on April 15, 1994, Kayishema and his accomplices meticulously planned and executed the murder of 2,000 people. When their attempts to set fire to the Nyange Church failed, Kayishema reportedly utilized a bulldozer to demolish the building, tragically burying and killing those inside. Subsequently, he supervised the transfer of the victims’ bodies from the church grounds to mass graves over the following days.