Fulgence Kayishema sits in the Magistrate's Court in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, May 26, 2023. - Copyright © africanews Nardus Engelbrecht/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Rwanda genocide suspect reappears in court, more charges are likely

By Rédaction Africanews and AFP

Fulgence Kayishema sits in the Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, May 26, 2023. – Copyright © africanews Nardus Engelbrecht/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

The former police officer is one of the most wanted suspects in Rwanda’s genocide and is suspected of orchestrating the killing of some 2,000 people nearly three decades ago.

Following Kayishema’s appearance, the court was adjourned until 9 June.

Citing Eric Ntabazalila, the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), local media Mail & Guardian and The Citizen reported that Kayishema was charged with at least 14 charges and that more charges would be added.

The state will reportedly review files during the hiatus to unveil a more comprehensive charge sheet.

“What we are talking about at the moment, is local charges,” state prosecutor Nathan Adriaanse said.

“Then it will also depend on the two lever arch files which have more charges against [Fulgence Kayishema], then it will depend on what comes out of those.”

Fulgence Kayishema who was known as Donatien Nibashumba, afalse name, applied for asylum in South Africa in January 2000, pretending to be a citizen of Burundi.

He was arrested on May 24 at a grape farm in the small winelands’ town of Paarl, 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Cape Town.

Slaughter in a church

Kayisha, with others, allegedly took part in one of the genocide’s bloodiest episodes, when more than 2,000 of men, women and children who had sought shelter in a church were slaughtered.

Naphtali Ahishakiye, the executive secretary of Ibuka, an association of survivors of teh Rwanda genocide has called for the repatriation of the suspect: “we want him to be tried here in Kigali, so that the victims and survivors can follow the trial. We’re afraid that these people could die without facing justice, so we really need to do this quickly.”

“Currently my client is calm, collected and composed,” says his lawyer Juan Smuts on Friday (June 2nd), adding that Kayishema was “waiting for the extradition documentation evidencing which country they seek to extradite him to.”

Wearing a blue jacket, black trousers and spectacles, the suspect denied any role in the massacre after being quizzed by a local journalist before entering the packed courtroom on May 26.

Around 800,000 Rwandans, most of them ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered over 100 days at the hands of Hutu extremists.

The former fugitive was indicted by the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity for killings and other crimes alleged to have been committed during the Rwanda genocide.

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