One of the most wanted remaining fugitives of the Rwandan genocide, Fulgence Kayishema, has appeared before a court in the South African city of Cape Town following his arrest this week after 22 years on the run.
Kayishema is accused of taking part in the killing of 2,000 people sheltering inside a Catholic church in one of the 1994 Rwandan genocide’s bloodiest episodes.
He was arrested on Wednesday under the false name of Donatien Nibashumba on a grape farm in Paarl, 60km (35 miles) north of Cape Town.
South African police said the arrest was made in response to an Interpol red notice. Red notices go out to law enforcement agencies around the world.
They seek the location and arrest of fugitives wanted for prosecution or to serve prison sentences.
Entering court on Friday for an initial hearing with a Bible and book emblazoned with “Jesus First”, the 62-year-old was asked by a journalist if he had anything to say to victims.
“What can I say? We are sorry to hear what was happening,” he responded after coming up from holding cells at Cape Town Magistrates’ Court. “It was a war at that time. … I didn’t have any role.”
In his brief court appearance, Kayishema was accompanied by masked police officers with automatic weapons and bullet-resistant vests. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the case was postponed to June 2 to allow it time for further investigation.
He will be held at Cape Town’s Pollsmoor Prison ahead of extradition to Rwanda.