In a show of confidence for Rwanda’s judicial institutions, the United Kingdom and Rwanda have signed a prisoner transfer agreement that will see convicts from both nations repatriated to serve their prison terms in either country of origin.
The agreement stipulates that provided both parties agree, a convicted individual may be transferred from the territory where the crimes were committed to their country of origin, where the sentence would be completed, without necessarily the consent of the sentenced person.
This therefore, means that a Rwandan convicted in the UK for crimes committed on that territory may be transferred to Rwanda to serve their prison sentence and vice versa.
The agreement did not spell out whether cases of genocide perpetrators convicted in the UK will be addressed by this new arrangement. Indeed this pact can serve Rwandans even better if the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, convicted in UK are not left out.
The agreement with the UK comes at an opportune moment given the on-going cases in London of four suspected genocide perpetrators.
It also comes at a time when the UK is amending its law on war crimes to back-date it to 1991, so as to enable its courts try those accused of Genocide in Rwanda.
It, therefore, serves a greater purpose if those convicted are easily transferred to serve their prison terms in Rwanda.
This has been the position of the Rwandan people for a long time, especially the survivors of Genocide.