Rwanda genocide fugitive Kayishema appears in South Africa court

·2-min read
© Nardus Engelbrecht, AP

Fulgence Kayishema, one of the last fugitives sought over the 1994 Rwanda genocide, appeared before a court in the South African city of Cape Town on Friday, two days after being arrested following 22 years on the run.

He allegedly took part in one of the genocide's bloodiest episodes, when thousands of men, women and children who had sought shelter in a church were slaughtered.

Wearing a blue jacket, black trousers and spectacles, he denied any role in the massacre after being quizzed by a local journalist before entering the packed courtroom.

"What I can say, we are sorry to hear what was happening," he said, asked if he had anything to say to the victims.

"There was a civil war in that time and people were killing each other... I didn't have any role."

Flanked by armed officers with helmets and bullet-proof vests, Kayishema briefly held up a prayer book titled "Jesus First" before identifying himself to the court.

The 62-year-old appeared calm and composed as a state prosecutor read out the accusations against him.

They include "genocide" and conspiracy to commit genocide "relating to the slaughter of more than 2,000 people in Rwanda in 1994," prosecutor Nathan Adriaanse told the court.

At the end of a short hearing, magistrate Ronel Oliver remanded him into custody.

He is to be held at Cape Town's maximum security Pollsmoor prison until a next court appearance scheduled for June 2.

He had been living in South Africa under an alias for more than two decades, prosecutors said.

Church massacre


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
One of Rwanda's most wanted genocide suspects arrested in South Africa
European Union urges Rwanda to stop supporting M23 rebels in DR Congo
Paul Rusesabagina, inspiration for "Hotel Rwanda", arrives in US after release from prison