Genocide fugitive Fulgence Kayishema arrested again – this time to stand trial in Arusha, Tanzania

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Esha Saxena Mandala
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Rwandan fugitive Fulgence Kayishema has been arrested again – this time on an order for his transfer to Arusha, Tanzania, to stand trial for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Kayishema was already in custody after he was traced to Paarl and initially brought in on allegations of Refugees Act and immigration law violations.

However, the latest development – at the request of the United National International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) – caught his legal team unawares.

While he waited in the holding cells of the Western Cape High Court for his first appearance on the latest arrest, his large legal team scrambled on the sidelines.

Advocate Juan Smuts said that the arrest on Tuesday took him and Kayishema’s family by surprise. They had expected to visit him in Helderstroom Prison on Tuesday morning.

He was also only due back in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for a consultation ahead of his appearance in that court on Friday on the local immigration and Refugees Act charges he had initially been brought in on, pending an extradition request.

The tribunal said he was wanted specifically to answer to charges that he allegedly orchestrated the killing of approximately 2 000 Tutsi refugees – women, men, children and elderly – at the Nyange Catholic Church during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi

Advocate David Simonsz, who had not even had time to robe, stood on the side of the court as Judge Robert Henney asked what the position was with the appearance that he was supposed to preside over.

Henney stood the matter down and called them to his chambers. Later he returned, having changed from his red criminal matter attire to a black civil matter robe.

Henney revealed that Kayishema had indeed been arrested on Tuesday morning on the strength of a warrant granted by Acting Judge President Patricia Goliath.

The order was that Kayishema should be arrested for transfer to the regional branch of the IRMCT, based in Arusha, Tanzania.

A statement of the indictment was given to Kayishema, as was a statement of his rights at the tribunal.

However, Henney said there was a jurisdictional issue over whether the High Court had the power to transfer him to Arusha ahead of his trial.

He said Tuesday’s appearance was only to abide by the rule that anyone arrested appear in court within 48 hours.

Henney stressed that Tuesday’s matter was not “criminal” because it involved a transfer process.

It was postponed to 30 August, to give the State and Kayishema’s lawyers time to respond to the arrest and transfer order.

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