One of the last remaining suspects accused of orchestrating the brutal killings of some of the hundreds of thousands of people massacred in the Rwandan genocide nearly 30 years ago will apply for political asylum in South Africa after he was finally tracked down and arrested, his lawyer said Tuesday,
The move will potentially further delay Fulgence Kayishema’s extradition to his home country to face long-awaited justice at a genocide trial.
Kayishema, a former police officer in Rwanda, is one of the last four fugitives being sought by the United Nations’ International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for genocide and crimes against humanity related to the 100 days of horror that unfolded in the East African nation in 1994.
He has denied any involvement in violence during the genocide but has said he was “sorry” for the killings.
Kayishema is currently facing 54 charges in South Africa, mainly related to contravening the Immigration Act but including several counts of fraud, and could face additional charges, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement.
The NPA said the 62-year-old accused “has abandoned his bail application and will instead launch an asylum application today”.
Now 62 years old, he was arrested last month in the small town of Paarl near Cape Town, South Africa, having been on the run for half his life.
Kayishema is accused of being one of the leaders of a Hutu mob that killed Tutsi men, women and children who were hiding in the Catholic church to escape the sudden eruption of violence.
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