Mario Pereira, of Edmonton, north London, a British national of Mauritian origin, was also charged with conspiring to pervert the cause of justice. He was remanded in custody to reappear in court later this month.
Mr Menson, 30, was set alight in a street in Edmonton in January 1997. He died two weeks later.
Police initially believed Mr Menson, who had a history of psychiatric illness, had set fire to himself and only reinvestigated the case after campaigning by the family and friends of the dead man.
Mr Pereira yesterday appeared before Enfield magistrates in north London, where he will next appear on 18 March.
During the hour-long hearing, attended by five of Mr Menson's brothers and sisters, the defendant spoke only to confirm his name.
Mr Pereira is charged with the murder of Mr Menson on or before 13 February 1997, and also with conspiring to pervert the course of justice on or before 9 March 1999.
Reporting restrictions remain in force and no application for legal aid was made.
Two other men, aged 50 and 26, who were arrested on Tuesday by officers from the Metropolitan Police's racial and violent crime task force, remain in custody.
Scotland Yard were yesterday granted an extension to hold the men who will undergo further questioning. When that permission expires, police must either charge the men, release them, or obtain a further extension from a magistrate.
Mr Menson, was the son of a Ghanaian diplomat, and was born in Moscow. As a child he lived in several countries.
He was a member of the band Double Trouble which had a series of top 10 hits in the late Eighties. The band broke up in 1993.Reuse content