Former Rwandan Police Officer Suspected of Genocide Arrested in South Africa

Former Rwandan Police Officer Suspected of Genocide Arrested in South Africa

…By Dorcas Funmi for TDPel Media.

Fulgence Kayishema, a former Rwandan police officer, has been arrested in South Africa for his alleged involvement in ordering the killing of at least 2,000 Tutsis seeking refuge at St. Paul’s Nyange Catholic Parish during the 1994 genocide.


This arrest comes after years of the suspect evading capture, and it represents a significant step towards justice for the victims.

Arrest of Fulgence Kayishema

On May 24, 2023, Fulgence Kayishema, a former Rwandan police officer and one of the top suspects in the genocide that claimed around 800,000 lives, was apprehended in South Africa.

The arrest took place on a grape farm, where Kayishema had been using a false identity, Donatien Nibashumba.

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Importance of the Arrest

The suspect had been on the run since 2001 when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) accused him of genocide for his involvement in the destruction of the Nyange Catholic church.

The arrest of Kayishema is significant as it ensures that he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes.

Serge Brammertz, the prosecutor at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), expressed satisfaction with the arrest, highlighting the importance of holding Kayishema accountable.


Extradition and Judicial Proceedings

Following his arrest, the suspect was to be extradited to Rwanda on May 26, after appearing in South Africa’s Bellville Magistrate’s court. The extradition process aims to transfer Kayishema to Rwanda, where he will face trial for his role in the genocide.

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The involvement of the elite South African police unit, Hawks, in the arrest showcases the joint efforts of international law enforcement agencies to ensure justice is served.

Genocide Memorials and Church Involvement

Nyange Catholic Parish, where the massacre occurred, has since been transformed into a genocide memorial site. Reports indicate that during the genocide, numerous Catholic parishes became sites of mass killings, as Tutsi faithful sought refuge from Hutu attacks.

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In recent years, there have been convictions of consecrated persons from the Catholic Church who were directly or indirectly involved in the genocide, shedding light on the need for accountability within the religious community.


The arrest of Fulgence Kayishema, a former Rwandan police officer suspected of ordering the killing of thousands of Tutsis seeking refuge at St. Paul’s Nyange Catholic Parish, marks a significant development in the pursuit of justice for the 1994 genocide.

This arrest serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to hold perpetrators accountable and bring closure to the victims and their families.


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