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17 Aug, 2023 11:56

Rwanda genocide suspect re-arrested in South Africa

The action will allow the already detained Fulgence Kayishema to be extradited to Tanzania for trial, the court has said
Rwanda genocide suspect re-arrested in South Africa

Long-time Rwandan fugitive Fulgence Kayishema, who has been in custody in South Africa since May for his alleged role in the killing of some 2,000 Tutsis during the 1994 genocide, has been re-arrested.

The latest development on Tuesday comes after the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) requested that Kayishema be extradited to Arusha, Tanzania, to stand trial for genocide.

Kayishema, 62, a former Rwandan police chief, has been held in the Western Cape High Court holding cells following his initial arrest on a farm in Paarl in a joint operation by UN investigators and South African authorities.

His lawyer, Juan Smuts told local media outlet News24 that he and the suspect’s family were taken by surprise by the re-arrest order.

Smuts said his client was due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Friday on charges of violating local immigration laws, for which he was arrested pending an extradition request.

Labeled by the UN as one of the most wanted fugitives from the 1994 genocide, Kayishema was indicted in 2001 for allegedly participating in the 100-day bloodbath in Rwanda, where an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

The UN tribunal welcomed his capture this year after he had been on the run for over two decades, affirming that he would finally face justice for the crimes he has been accused of.

In June, Kayishema dropped his bail application and instead applied for asylum in Pretoria, where he faces 54 charges, including fraud, for faking documents to enter the country.

According to local media reports, the re-arrest case has raised jurisdictional concerns about which court should handle it. It has been postponed until August 30 to allow the state and Kayishema's lawyers time to respond to the arrest and transfer order.