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Rwanda genocide suspect to say asylum in South Africa, lawyer says, complicating extradition

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa — One of many final remaining suspects accused of orchestrating the brutal massacres of the Rwandan genocide practically 30 years in the past plans to use for political asylum in South Africa, his lawyer mentioned Tuesday.

The U.N. tribunal charged Kayishema in 2001 with being a central determine within the slaughter of greater than 2,000 folks searching for refuge at a church.

Now 62 years {old}, he was arrested final month within the small city of Paarl close to Cape City, South Africa, having been on the run for half his life.

Greater than 800,000 folks had been killed when militias made up primarily of members of Rwanda’s Hutu ethnic group turned on their Tutsi neighbors. The killings, an try and wipe out the minority Tutsis, had been triggered on April 6, 1994, when a aircraft carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down, killing him.

Kayishema is accused of being one of many leaders of a Hutu mob that killed Tutsi males, ladies and kids who had been hiding within the Catholic church to flee the sudden eruption of violence. Kayishema and others tried to burn down the church and, when that failed, they used a bulldozer to smash it down, crushing to demise the Tutsis inside, based on the fees in opposition to him.

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Finally, greater than 2,000 folks had been killed in and across the church, the genocide indictment in opposition to Kayishema says.

The U.N. tribunal desires Kayishema to be despatched to one of many seats of the tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, after which to Rwanda for trial, nevertheless it’s unclear how lengthy it will take for South Africa to extradite him.

Following his Might 24 arrest, Kayishema additionally was charged in South Africa with 54 counts of immigration offenses and fraud. He allegedly used pretend names and different falsified data to accumulate paperwork to enter and reside in South Africa, the place he had been for no less than 20 years, based on the fees filed by prosecutors.

He appeared in courtroom Tuesday for that case. The proceedings might have delayed his extradition even when Kayishema didn’t intend to hunt asylum, a transfer that requires additional proceedings.

His lawyer, Juan Smuts, informed reporters Tuesday that Kayishema left Rwanda in 1994 “out of worry for his life.”

He hid in no less than three different African nations — Congo, Mozambique and Tanzania — earlier than arriving in South Africa someday between 2000 and 2002, Smuts mentioned, including that Kayishema was 62 years {old} and never 61, as South African police beforehand said.

Smuts mentioned the immigration and fraud case in opposition to Kayishema must be placed on maintain whereas his utility for asylum was thought of. South African prosecuting authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila disputed that and mentioned the asylum declare had no bearing on Kayishema’s prison case.

Nonetheless, any extradition will doubtless be delayed for no less than two months after the choose postponed Kayishema’s South African courtroom case till Aug. 18. He has not entered a plea on any of the fees and stays jailed.

The bloodbath on the Nyange church in western Rwanda was one in every of many horrific episodes within the 1994 genocide. A memorial to the victims now stands rather than the church.

Aloys Rwamasirabo, who lived within the Nyange space and knew Kayishema, survived the bloodbath however mentioned 9 of his youngsters had been killed. Rwamasirabo mentioned Kayishema, who held the rank of police inspector on the time, ordered most of the killings.

“My want is that he’s introduced again to Rwanda (to) face justice within the presence of survivors whom he dedicated crimes in opposition to,” Rwamasirabo mentioned. “He carried plenty of energy, and his orders had been obeyed.”

Kayishema did not communicate throughout his newest courtroom listening to and stood and confronted the choose via most of it whereas surrounded by seven armed cops. However he smiled, waved and gave a thumbs-up to a few of his members of the family sitting within the courtroom.


Related Press author Ignatius Ssuna in Kigali, Rwanda, contributed to this report.


Extra AP Africa information: https://apnews.com/hub/africa

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