According to the UN War Crimes Tribunal based in The Hague, the man arrested 29 years after the genocide in Rwanda is former police officer Fulgence Kayishema. He is accused of ordering the killing on 15 April 1994 of some 2,000 Tutsi people who had taken refuge in the Nyange Catholic Church in Kibuye Prefecture.
According to the court, Kayishema “is said to have been directly involved in the planning and execution of the massacre (…), in particular by procuring (…) petrol” with which to set fire to the church with the people inside. When that plan failed, according to the court, Kayishema and his accomplices bulldozed the church to the ground. The people were buried under the rubble, it said.
Kayishema had been on the run since 2001. At that time, the United Nations-appointed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had brought charges against him for genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.
“His arrest ensures that he will finally be brought to justice for his alleged crimes,” prosecutor Serge Brammertz said. The suspect was tracked down through the cooperation of investigators in several South African countries. The case against Kayishema is being conducted before the successor court to the ICTR criminal court, which was dissolved in 2008.
“Finally,” Rwanda’s government tweeted
Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo wrote on Twitter after the arrest: “Finally.” She told Reuters news agency that almost 30 years later, there is still a long list of fugitive mass murderers. They lived in different countries around the world. “We will continue to work with partner states and institutions to ensure they are held accountable for crimes committed during the 1994 Tutsi genocide,” Makolo said.
Between April and July 1994, around 800,000 people were killed during the genocide in East African Rwanda, most of them from the Tutsi ethnic group. Hundreds of thousands have been victims of sexual violence. The mass killings were carried out by an extremist Hutu government, while the genocides were carried out by local officials and ordinary citizens.
qu/se (rtr, dpa, afp)