Rwandan genocide suspect Frugens Kaixema to face South African court | 2020 Genocide News

A 62-year-old man was arrested this week near Cape Town after being on the run for 22 years.

Frugens Kaixema, one of the most wanted fugitives in the Rwandan genocide, appeared before a court in the South African city of Cape Town. Following this week’s arrest After living on the run for 22 years.

Kaishema is accused of being responsible for the murder of 2,000 people who had taken refuge inside a Catholic church in one of the bloodiest genocides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

He was arrested Wednesday under the pseudonym Donatien Nivashumba at a vineyard in Pearl, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Cape Town.

South African police said the arrest was made in response to a red alert from the International Criminal Police Organization. Red notifications are sent to law enforcement agencies around the world. They seek to locate and arrest fugitives who are being sought for prosecution or imprisonment.

The 62-year-old was asked by journalists if he had anything to say to his victims as he walked into court on Friday with a Bible and a book that read “Jesus First” for his first trial.

“What can I say? I’m sorry to hear what happened,” he replied after coming out of custody at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court. “It was war then…. I had no role.”

Kaishema holds up a book that says ‘Yes First’ as she appears at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court. [Nic Bothma/Reuters]

Kaishema’s brief court appearance was accompanied by undercover police officers with automatic weapons and bulletproof vests. The National Public Prosecutor’s Office (NPA) said the case was postponed to June 2 to allow time for further investigations.

“More information came in while he was under arrest, which means we may add more charges,” NPA state spokesman Eric Ntavazarira told reporters, adding that he was released on bail. He said prosecutors would object if asked.

Kaishema will be held at Paulsmoor Prison in Cape Town before being extradited to Rwanda.

“This appears to be just the beginning of a longer process of justice for the many victims of the Rwandan genocide,” Al Jazeera’s Famida Miller told reporters from Cape Town.

Rwandan lawyer and political analyst Gatete Ruhumuliza called Kaishema a “key” figure among the genocide perpetrators.

“What Kayshema did… broke the first taboo of killing people who took refuge in churches.

“Subsequent killings followed that pattern…as many of the Tutsis who were killed fled.” [in a church] I thought no one would try to climb over that wall. ”

Kaishema had been a fugitive since 2001, when he was indicted on genocide charges by the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR) for his alleged role in destroying a Nyange Catholic church in Kibuye province.

More than 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsi, have been killed in 100 days of violence by Hutu forces and vigilantes. Thousands of moderate Hutus were also killed in the violence, considered one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.

At the Nyange church, Hutu militiamen dropped hand grenades, poured fuel on it, and set it on fire. When that failed, they bulldozed the church, killing most of those hiding inside.

Kaishema faces five charges in South Africa, two of which are fraud related to asylum and asylum claims. The NPA claims he identified his nationality as Burundian and used his pseudonym.

Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the ICTR’s successor, the International Criminal Court Remain Organization, told the BBC that Kaishema had fled Rwanda after the massacre and was hiding among refugees.

“First he went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [Democratic Republic of the Congo] for many months. After that, we went to a refugee camp in Tanzania. From there he emigrated to Mozambique. Then two years later he went to eSwatini, and in the late 90s he ended up in South Africa,” said Brummertz.

He said prosecutors had persuaded a small number of former Rwandan soldiers with false identities living in South Africa as refugees to provide information on Kaishema’s whereabouts.

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