Rwanda, Britain to exchange prisoners

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EXPLAINED: Cannon Nicholas

KIGALI - Rwanda, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on Thursday signed an agreement for exchange of prisoners, a development that paves way for convicted criminals to be extradited to their respective countries to serve their sentences.

Under the deal, Rwanda will soon be able to receive some of its natives who are currently incarcerated in UK and Irish prisons.

According to the British High Commissioner to Rwanda, Cannon Nicholas, there are currently 15 Rwandans in UK prisons.

No British citizen in Rwandan prisons. 

The treaty is aimed at strengthening judicial cooperation between the countries regarding the exchange of persons who commit crimes away from their countries of origin.

“The reason behind this agreement is to have these prisoners serve their sentences from their countries of origin where their relatives can access them and be monitored by their governments,” said Cannon.

He however added that this agreement only applies on people who committed crimes outside their countries, implying that this treaty will not apply to Genocide fugitives who are either in the UK or Ireland. 

The treaty, a copy of which The New Times has obtained, takes into consideration multilateral agreements governing the transfer of sentenced persons to which both parties may be party.

“Provided both parties agree, a sentenced person may be transferred from the territory of the transferring State to the territory of the receiving State without the consent of the sentenced person in accordance with the provisions of this agreement in order to continue serving the sentence imposed on him or her by the transferring State,” reads a clause in the agreement.

The 16-article document also sets the conditions under which a sentenced person may be transferred.

“The sentenced person is a national of the receiving State,” reads the document. “he acts or omissions for which the sentence has been imposed (must) constitute a criminal offence according to the law of the receiving State or would constitute a criminal offence if committed on its territory,” it adds.

The subjects for transfer, according to the agreement, must have at least 6 months of the sentence to serve at the time the request for transfer is made.

It however leaves room for exceptional cases, where the two parties may agree to transfer someone even if the person had less than six months to serve.

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