/ 2 June 2023

State likely to add more charges against Rwandan fugitive

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)

More charges against Rwandan fugitive Ukiliho Kayishema Fulgence are likely to be added when he makes his third court appearance on 9 June. 

Fulgence, who was wanted for his alleged role in the killing of about 2 000 people during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Friday. 

State prosecutor Nathan Adriaanse told the court that new evidence against Fulgence had surfaced on Thursday after they received two lever arch files from the South African Police Service.

When Fulgence appeared in court on Friday, the state had a total of 17 charges against him. The spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila, said more charges were likely to be added. 

Fulgence, who was known as Donatien Nibashumba, initially faced five charges including fraud and contravening the Immigration Act 13 and the Refugee Act. 

Adriaanse said the state would provide a full charge sheet to the accused’s legal team on Monday. 

In its case against Fulgence, the state alleges that he falsely presented himself as Fulgence Dende-Minani on 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 said he was a Burundian citizen.

Fulgence’s refugee status expired in June 2006. He was working on a grape farm in Paarl when the police apprehended him on 24 May. 

Adriaanse told the court that the state would oppose Fulgence’s bail application, which the defence indicated he intends to make.

Fulgence remains in custody, pending his extradition to Rwanda.

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 in which more than 2 000 people were killed. 

The Rwandan fugitive was listed on global police organisation Interpol’s red notice for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. 

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