The 62-year-old former Rwandan police officer was arrested recently in South Africa after being on the run for 22 years.
During proceedings on Friday, Prosecutors told the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court that Kayishema faces 54 counts which include contravention of the Immigration Act as well fraud charges among others.
According to media reports, prosecutors allege the Rwandan national lied while applying for asylum in South Africa by using a false identity. Kayishema’s case has been postponed to June 20.
Kayishema, who had been one of the world’s most wanted genocide fugitives, was arrested on Wednesday May 24th, 2023, in Paarl, South Africa, as a result of a joint operation involving the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Fugitive Tracking Team and South African authorities.
He stands accused of orchestrating the massacre of approximately 2,000 Tutsis, including women, men, children, and the elderly, at Nyange Catholic Church during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It is alleged that Kayishema directly participated in the planning and execution of this atrocity, including the procurement and distribution of petrol to set the church on fire while the victims were inside.
When this initial attempt failed, Kayishema and others reportedly used a bulldozer to collapse the church, burying and killing those seeking refuge. Over the following two days, Kayishema and accomplices supervised the transfer of bodies from the church grounds to mass graves.
The investigation leading to Kayishema’s arrest spanned multiple countries across Africa and elsewhere, in strong cooperation with many national law enforcement and immigration agencies.
During his flight from justice, Kayishema utilized many aliases and false documents to conceal his identity and presence. He further relied upon a network of trusted supporters, including family members and members of the ex-Forces Armées Rwandaises and ex-Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda.
Kayishema was located and arrested through an analysis-driven investigation exploiting multi-source evidence with both traditional and leading-edge methodologies.
He has been at large since 2001.