Eswatini has garnered international recognition for the pivotal role it played in the apprehension of Fulgence Kayishema, a fugitive wanted for his involvement in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
This was expressed by the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) team which comprised IRCMT Deputy to the Prosecutor Kevin Hughes and IRCMT Security Inspector in Kigali Bram van der Erden and Ewan Brown when they visited the Prime Minister’s office on Monday.
They lauded the Eswatini government for creating a task force at the request of IRCMT and working hand in hand with the IRCMT tracking force, which led to the arrest of the notorious genocide perpetrator after more than two decades on the run.
The IRMCT Office of the Prosecutor Fugitive Tracking Team, along with South African authorities, successfully apprehended Kayishema in Paarl, South Africa, on May 24, 2023.
The arrest marked the end of an arduous manhunt for the fugitive, who had been charged with orchestrating the brutal killing of over 2,000 Rwandans, including women, children and the elderly, at the Nyange Catholic Church during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
For years, Kayishema evaded justice by utilizing various aliases, false documents, and a network of trusted supporters who shared the genocidal Hutu Power ideology. He once found refuge in the Kingdom of Eswatini, further complicating efforts to bring him to justice.
The cooperation of the Kingdom’s government was crucial in his eventual arrest, as they worked hand in hand with the IRMCT Fugitive Tracking Team to create a task force dedicated to tracking and capturing the fugitive.
IRMCT Deputy to the Prosecutor Kevin Hughes conveyed the appreciation of the IRMCT, the UN Security Council and the Government of Rwanda to Eswatini for their unwavering cooperation in this critical mission and pledged the IRMCT willingness to support Eswatini in any means as a way of expressing gratitude.
In response, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu, representing the Prime Minister, expressed her gratitude for the recognition and update.
She emphasized that the families of the victims of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide could now finally find closure with the fugitive’s apprehension.
Beyond receiving accolades, the Kingdom of Eswatini used the opportunity to request support from IRCMT for training on fugitive tracking.
This proactive approach reflects the nation’s commitment to enhancing its capabilities in combating international crimes and ensuring the swift apprehension of fugitives involved in heinous acts.
The successful arrest of Kayishema is not only a testament to the Kingdom of Eswatini’s dedication to upholding justice but also highlights the importance of international cooperation in tackling transnational crimes.
It reinforces the notion that no matter how long it takes, the international community remains resolute in ensuring that the perpetrators of genocide face justice for their actions.