Fulgence Kayishema, one of the most sought suspects in the 1994 Rwanda massacre, appeared in a South African court on Friday.
Kayishema appeared briefly in court in Cape Town before his case was rescheduled for June 2.
After 22 years on the run, the former Rwandan police officer, 62, was apprehended on Wednesday in Paarl, a town in South Africa’s Western Cape Province.
During Rwanda’s 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, he is suspected of arranging the execution of about 2,000 Tutsi refugees at the Nyange Catholic Church.
During a 100-day bloodbath in Rwanda in 1994, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred.
Kayishema was apprehended in a combined operation by South African police and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals’ (IRMCT) fugitive tracking squad, according to a statement published by the special UN tribunal on Thursday.
Kayishema has been a fugitive for more than 20 years, according to IRMCT head prosecutor Serge Brammertz, and “his arrest ensures that he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes.”
According to the IRMCT, genocide is the most terrible crime known to humanity, and the world community has committed to ensure that those who commit it are tried and punished.
“This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this commitment does not fade and that justice will be done, no matter how long it takes,” the statement stated.
“Mr. Kayishema’s apprehension sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even more than a quarter of a century later,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a statement on Thursday.