Fulgens Kaishima, 62, was arrested this week after 22 years on the run. On Friday, he appeared in court in South Africa.
– What can I say? I’m sorry to hear what happened. There was a war at that time. I don’t have a role.
This is how Fulgens Kaishima responded to reporters in court in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday.
He was one of the most wanted men in the world after the brutal genocide in Rwanda in 1994, in which between 800 thousand and a million Tutsis were massacred. He was arrested this week After 22 years on the run.
The international fugitive lived under the pseudonym Donatien Nepachumba, and claimed to be a refugee from Burundi. In South Africa I worked on a vineyard in Paarl.
The United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRCMT) has indicted Kaishima – who was a police officer in Rwanda – with genocide.
They believe he had a central role in organizing the massacre of more than 2,000 terrified ethnic Tutsis who hid in the Niang Catholic Church during the 1994 genocide.
- The church was the scene of an attack by armed Hutu soldiers on April 15, 1994.
- Survivors said that several thousand people sought refuge in the church when they were surrounded and attacked.
- The church was set on fire before it was later destroyed by bulldozers. More than 2,000 people are buried in mass graves under the church.
- Several others have already been sentenced in the same case. In 2010 he became a businessman He was sentenced to 30 years in prison To help get terrified people to gather in the church before ordering its destruction. The church’s priest, Athanasi Serumba, was sentenced to life in prison in 2008.
Armed masked policemen escorted Kaishima to court on Friday. The trial itself is set to begin June 2.
– What Kaishima did .. He broke the first taboo, which is to kill people who had taken refuge in the church, says Rwandan lawyer Gatete Ruhumuliza Al Jazeera.
– Many murders followed this pattern, because many Tutsis took refuge in the church in the belief that no one would dare cross this barrier, he says.
According to Serge Brammertz at the UN Tribunal, Kaishima fled Rwanda after the genocide and is said to be hiding among refugees.
He first traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a few months, before traveling to a refugee camp in Tanzania. From there he traveled to Mozambique, to Eswatini before ending up in South Africa, Brammertz tells the BBC.
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