Africa: Genocide Suspect Kayishema Seeks Asylum in South Africa

Fulgence Kayishema, a genocide suspect accused of ordering the brutal deaths of 2,000 people during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Tuesday, June 20. His lawyer revealed that Kayishema intends to apply for asylum in South Africa while facing trial.

In a previous hearing held on June 9, the prosecution presented 54 charges against Kayishema, including nine counts of fraud, 10 counts of contravention of the Refugees Act, and 35 counts of contravention of the Immigration Act.

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During Monday’s court session, Kayishema’s lawyer, Juan Smuts, announced that his client would seek political asylum in South Africa following his arrest. Smuts claimed that Kayishema fled Rwanda in 1994 out of fear for his life.

According to Smuts, Kayishema sought refuge in several African countries before eventually arriving in South Africa between 2000 and 2002. Smuts further explained that the immigration and fraud charges against Kayishema would be put on hold while authorities consider his asylum application.

However, Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila disputed this claim, asserting that the asylum application would not affect the ongoing criminal case against Kayishema.

Ntabazalila also revealed that prosecutors would soon initiate extradition proceedings to take Kayishema back to Rwanda for his genocide trial.