UN Court ‘approached’ Rwanda on Charles Taylor prison options

The Government is ready to make appropriate deliberations and decide on whether to let former Liberian President Charles Taylor serve his sentence in a Rwandan jail, Justice minister Johnston Busingye said yesterday.
Charles Taylor will serve 50 years in jail.
Charles Taylor will serve 50 years in jail.

The Government is ready to make appropriate deliberations and decide on whether to let former Liberian President Charles Taylor serve his sentence in a Rwandan jail, Justice minister Johnston Busingye said yesterday.

Busingye said some officials from The Hague-based Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) have already contacted government on the matter, but that the Kigali administration would only make the next step after an official request has been brought before it.

Considerations

Taylor, 65, was convicted for 11 war crimes committed in Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 conflict, in which some 50,000 people died. He was handed a 50-year prison sentence.

Busingye said the official request to have Taylor jailed in the country can be sent to Government of Rwanda by the Registrar of the UN-backed court.

“Rwanda would then consult all the line institutions and take a decision,” the minister said.

He said government officials and other relevant partners would consider several factors such as the country’s foreign policies and other international considerations before taking in the convict.

Taylor, the first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes since World War II—has asked to serve his sentence in Rwanda, instead of the UK where he said he is afraid he would be attacked by other inmates and his family would find it expensive to visit him.

Conviction

The former president was convicted of aiding rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war.

Busingye said officials from The Hague-based SCSL have already contacted Rwandan officials asking about how the process to officially request Rwanda to host the inmate would work.

“Our decision would be a government decision,” he said, also explaining that Rwanda is yet to receive the official request.

If brought to Rwanda to serve his jail term, Taylor would join eight other foreign convicts brought to the country to serve their terms after the SCSL found them guilty.

The UN court convicts are currently serving their sentences in the ultra-modern Mpanga Prison in Southern Province, where a special holding facility for convicts of international nature has been set up.

 

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