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Searching for the Final Suspects of the Rwandan Genocide


They then took a look at rental contracts in the area, set up surveillance, and on May 16, 2020, they were able to make the arrest. Since then, Kabuga has been behind bars in The Hague, waiting for his trial to begin. Brammertz’s eyes light up when he talks about the day of the arrest. Nobody had thought that such a success was still possible 26 years after the genocide.

Sometimes, though, his investigators find themselves facing unnecessary procedural hurdles, and that infuriates Brammertz. In South Africa, for example, where his unit located the fugitive Fulgence Kayishema in 2019. The police inspector from the village of Nyange was enjoying a nice life in Cape Town, surrounded by his family, as the investigators learned. But when they submitted an application for his extradition, it was denied.

Only after months of back-and-forth did South African officials finally agree to Kayishema’s arrest and stormed the wanted man’s apartment. Not surprisingly, he was no longer there. “That really made me angry,” says Brammertz. Since then, he has vented his anger every year in the UN Security Council.

Just a few weeks ago, the prosecutor was again in South Africa with his team. There has been a bit of movement on the issue and the country now wants to assemble an investigative team of its own. But they’ll have to start again from scratch, because since the unsuccessful raid of Kayishema’s apartment, the suspect has gone underground. “We believe, though, that he is still in the region. That makes things a bit easier,” says Brammertz.

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