The former mass grave remains open at the Murambi Genocide Memorial in Nyamagaba, southern Rwanda, on April 21, 2022.

  • Suspected Rwandan war criminal Fulgens Kaishema is said to live in South Africa.
  • The UN has accused South Africa of non-cooperation.
  • South African authorities have allegedly told investigators hunting Rwandan war criminals that there is no legal basis for arresting Kaishama.

The United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) has focused on Fulgense Kaishem, a suspect in the genocide in Rwanda, which he says is in South Africa.

MICT Attorney General Serge Brammertz said this on Wednesday after his team found that another fugitive from the genocide, 74-year-old Feneas Munyarugarama, had died of “natural causes” in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002.

“My office is now fully focused on keeping track of the last four refugees who remain at large. Our top priority now is Fulgens Kaishema, which we used to find in South Africa, ”he said.

Kaishema, 62, was a judicial police inspector during the genocide. He allegedly ordered the killing of Tutsis at Nyanga Church and brought fuel for use by the militia to burn the church. About 2,000 civilians were killed in the attack alone.

READ | Harare denies asylum to refugees from genocide in Rwanda

On December 11, 2019, Brammertz wrote to President Cyril Ramaphos, in which he expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of South African cooperation in the arrest of Kaishema.

In a letter, he said: “I deeply regret South South’s continued non-compliance with the arrest warrant mechanism. Since my office was officially notified in August 2018 that one of the refugees was in South Africa, I sought to work with South Africa. African authorities to secure the arrest of the fugitive ”.

He also added that “South Africa has led to a change in the reasons” why it cannot comply with the request to arrest Kaishama.

In response, South Africa informed the MICT that it did not have the necessary legislation to carry out this task.

Breakthrough in other countries

As of Wednesday, three targets were lowered within a month, and four remained after the MICT announced its findings on Munyarugarama.

Munyugarama was a lieutenant colonel in the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR). He was wanted for genocide, rape and other crimes against humanity.

The revelation of his death came days after the remains of another war crimes suspect and former Munyugarama colleague, Potrais Mpiranha, were traced to a 2006 grave in Harare buried under the name Ndume Sambao.

genocide in Rwanda

This undated file shows a combination of images published by the United Nations – International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) Potrais Mpiranha, who commanded the protection of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habiarimana at an unknown location.

Another fugitive from the genocide, Major Pierre-Claver Caranga, was awaiting deportation from the Netherlands, where he was granted asylum status.

Of the three taken into account, only four key suspects, namely, Kaishema, Charles Sikubwaba, Charles Ryandikayo and Alois Ndimbati remained at UN target.

For each of them there is a reward of 80 million rupees ($ 5 million).

Hunting for Munyarugarama

Brammertz, who heads a small group of UN investigators involved in prominent war crimes in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, described the latest breakthrough as “another important step in my office’s efforts to ensure justice for Tutsi genocide victims in Rwanda in 1994 and complete our mandate.”

He added that the authorities of Belgium and Rwanda played a major role in discovering the remains of Munyarugara.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to the national partners, including the Belgian and Rwandan authorities, whose assistance has greatly contributed to this investigation,” he said.

Prosecutors found that Munyugarama “died of natural causes around February 28, 2002” in the east of the DRC.

MITC reported that Munyarugarama, a lieutenant colonel in the Rwandan Army (FAR), was first indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2002 for crimes he committed as commander of the Gak military camp in the Bugesera region, Kigali. -rural prefecture, in 1994.

The ICTR charged him with eight counts, including genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.

READ | A soldier linked to the genocide in Rwanda has been arrested in the Netherlands

Munyarugarama is said to be responsible for the mass killings, attacks and sexual violence against Tutsi civilians in various places in the Bugesera region, including attacks on Tutsi refugees in the Ntarama and Niamata Catholic churches.

“We hope that for the victims and survivors of Munyugarama’s crimes in the Bugesera region, this result will lead to some closure,” Brammertz said.

The DRC factor

Like Mpiranha, who fled to the DRC via Cameroon to fight alongside Zimbabwe’s National Army in World War II in Congo as a soldier of fortune, Munyarugarama found himself in the DRC recruiting former Rwandan soldiers for the Rwandan Democratic Liberation Force (DSOR Group).

Prosecutors said he died after seven months of walking in the jungle on the road to Kinshasa to negotiate with various Hutu supremacy movements about the possibility of reunification.

But after an illness he died in the village of Kanqwala in North Katanga, where he was buried.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hans Seidel Foundation. The stories prepared by the African Bureau, as well as the opinions and statements that may be contained in this article, do not reflect the stories of the Hans Seidel Foundation.

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