/ 26 May 2023

Rwandan genocide fugitive appears in Cape Town court

Kayishema Fulgence
Ukiliho Kayishema Fulgence, one of the last fugitives sought for their role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, sits in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court in Cape Town on May 26, 2023, two days after being arrested following 22 years on the run. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP)

Rwandan fugitive, Ukiliho Kayishema Fulgence, who was wanted for his alleged role in the killing of about 2 000 people during the 1994 genocide in that country, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate court on Friday after his arrest in Paarl earlier this week. 

The matter was postponed to 2 June.

The 61-year-old has been wanted since 2002, when he was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda over his alleged role in the Nyange church massacre. 

Fulgence, who was locally known as Donatien Nibashumba, faces five charges including fraud and contravening the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 and the Refugee Act 130 of 1998. 

In its case against Fulgence, the state alleges that he falsely presented himself as Fulgence Dende-Minani in two separate cases to the home affairs department when he applied for asylum in South Africa in January 2000 and for refugee status in June 2004. He also falsely acted as a Burundian citizen.

Fulgence’s refugee status expired on 9 June 2006 and he was working on a grape farm in Paarl when the police apprehended him on Wednesday. 

The Rwandan fugitive was listed on the global policing authority Interpol’s Red Notice for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. 

A South African task team composed of several state departments including crime intelligence, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) and the justice department, together with Interpol, acted on information received about the fugitive’s whereabouts. 

According to the international criminal tribunal indictment against Fulgence, he was a police inspector in Rwanda who played a critical role in the planning and execution of genocide where over 2 000 people were killed. 

Altogether, over half a million people died during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the majority of whom were Tutsis. 

Fulgence remains in custody, pending his extradition to Rwanda, where he is expected to stand trial in the capital Kigali.