Africa's most wanted fugitive arrested in Cape Town

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
A handout image shows the arrest of Fulgence Kayishema, the former Rwandan police inspector indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity, in Paarl.
A handout image shows the arrest of Fulgence Kayishema, the former Rwandan police inspector indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity, in Paarl.
Hawks/Handout via Reuters


One of the most wanted fugitives in the world, Fulgence Kayishema, was arrested in Cape Town after being on the run for over two decades for crimes relating to the Rwandan genocide of 1994. He has been on the run since 2001.

Kayishema was nabbed on Wednesday by a joint operation between South African and Rwandan authorities. He allegedly orchestrated the killing of more than 2 000 Tutsi refugees at the Nyange Catholic Church.

He is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrates' Court on Friday.

READ: Brics is little more than ‘talk shop’ and can’t challenge the dollar

Chief prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) Serge Brammertz said that his arrests would ensure that he faced the might of the law for alleged crimes against humanity.

He said:

Genocide is the most serious crime known to humankind. The international community has committed to ensuring that its perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished. This arrest is a tangible demonstration that his commitment does not fade and that justice will be done.

Lack of cooperation previously hampered investigations

Brammertz added that the investigation that led to his arrest spanned multiple countries in Africa and beyond, and was made possible through the support and cooperation of South African authorities. 

The Tanzania-based Rwanda tribunal wound up its cases in 2008 when the IRMCT was established to complete its remaining work.

Fulgence Kayishema has been on the run since 1994
Fulgence Kayishema has been on the run since 1994.

In recent years, the IRMCT prosecutor has complained about the lack of cooperation from South African authorities, and there have been a series of near misses capturing Kayishema.

READ: ‘Arms sales were from old order’ – Top government official

Direct participant in genocide

The events in Nyanga, Rwanda, were one of the most brutal of the genocide in which an estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over 90 days.

The tribunal alleges that Kayishema directly participated in the planning and execution of this massacre.

The indictment alleges that he bought and distributed petrol to burn down the church while refugees were inside.

Kayishema and others are also accused of using a bulldozer to collapse the church following the fire, while refugees were still inside.

The office of the IRMCT has proclaimed that the investigation spanned multiple countries across Africa and other regions.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Latest issue
Latest issue
All the news from City Press in PDF form.
Read now
Voting Booth
Stats SA's recent consumer price index data this week indicated the rise in food prices was the largest in 14 years. Economists say continued load shedding also adds to the rise in the cost of food production. How are you feeding your family during this tough time?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I have a food garden
6% - 63 votes
I rely on sales
22% - 222 votes
I buy necessities
72% - 726 votes