South African prosecutors upped the number of charges against Rwandan ex-police officer Fulgence Kayishema, who is wanted internationally for alleged involvement in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, on Friday.
Kayishema, who had been on the run for two decades, was apprehended on May 24 under a false name on a grape farm in South Africa, where, according to a prosecutor, refugees working there handed him over.
Prosecutors spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said outside a Cape Town court that he now faces 54 separate accusations in South Africa for fraud and immigration offenses, up from five earlier.
Kayishema had been on the run from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) since 2001, when he was charged with genocide for allegedly directing the slaughter of 2,000 people hiding in the Nyange Catholic Church.
During a judicial hearing on May 26, he denied any involvement and expressed “sorry” for the 1994 killings.
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) alleges that Kayishema used a false identity to apply for asylum and refugee status in South Africa. Kayishema has not responded in court to the South African charges.
The case was adjourned to June 20 to allow Kayishema’s defence team to consult, at which point he could apply for bail.
Some of the local charges could see Kayishema imprisoned for up to 15 years, said Ntabazalila.
Kayishema is also expected to face extradition to Rwanda to be tried over the ICTR genocide indictment, but those proceedings have yet to begin, Ntabazalila said.
An estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed during Rwanda’s genocide, orchestrated by an extremist Hutu regime and meticulously executed by local officials and ordinary citizens in the rigidly hierarchical society.
Kayishema’s arrest left only three fugitives indicted by the international tribunal whose whereabouts remain unknown.