Fulgence Kayishema, one of the last fugitives wanted for the 1994 Rwandan genocide, appeared in court in Cape Town on Friday, two days after his arrest.
A former Rwandan policeman has been accused of ordering the killing of some 2,000 Tutsi who took refuge in a church.
The 62-year-old appeared calm and composed as a state prosecutor read the charges against him. They include “genocide” and conspiracy to commit genocide “in relation to the killing of more than 2,000 people in Rwanda in 1994,” prosecutor Nathan Adriaanse told the court.
At the end of a short hearing, magistrate Ronel Oliver remanded Kayishema in jail. His next appearance is scheduled for June 2. Kayishema will be held in Cape Town’s Pollsmoor Prison ahead of his possible extradition to Rwanda.
Over 20 years running
Kayishema was arrested on Wednesday under a false name at a vineyard in Paarl, about 59 kilometers (37 miles) from Cape Town.
According to a charge sheet, he faces five charges in South Africa, including two for fraud. The fraud counts relate to applications he made for asylum and refugee status in South Africa, where the National Prosecuting Authority says he gave his nationality as Burundian and used a false name.
He has been a fugitive from justice since 2001, when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda indicted him for genocide for his alleged role in the destruction of the Catholic Church in Nyange in Kibuye Prefecture.
Kayishema is on the US State Department’s wanted list under the Rewards for Justice Program, with a $5 million (€4.7 million) reward offered for his capture.
One of the most wanted genocide fugitives
The former policeman was described by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) as “one of the most wanted genocide fugitives in the world.” The MICT in 2015 took over the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was established by the UN after the genocide.
“Kayishema directly participated in the planning and execution of this massacre, including buying and distributing fuel to burn the church with refugees inside,” the MICT said on Thursday, announcing his arrest.
“When this failed, Kayishema and others used a bulldozer to destroy the church, burying and killing the refugees inside,” it added.
An estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed during the Rwandan genocide, which was orchestrated by an extremist Hutu regime and systematically executed by local officials and ordinary citizens in a strict hierarchical order. society.
dh/nm (AFP, Reuters)