A Ministerial Order recently paroled 788 prisoners, including 48 women.
They were serving sentences for different categories of crimes that included armed robbery, forgery, fraud and deceit, circulation of counterfeit money, drug dealing and abuse, infanticide, child neglect, arson, assault and battery.
Others are threats to harm a person, battery or manslaughter, human trafficking, embezzlement, corruption, tax evasion, cyber-crimes and theft.
Some of the beneficiary convicts still had to serve months or years in prison.
The criteria for being considered for parole include having served at least three-quarters of the sentence and good behaviour.
Johnston Busingye, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, told The New Times that the rationale behind their release is that they met requirements, pointing out that the Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) works with convicts to try to achieve individual transformation.
“What it means to justice in Rwanda is that justice functions to provide the benefit of doubt to eligible convicts and gives them an opportunity for a fresh start,” he said.
According to the Ministerial Order, upon release, the parolee must report to the Prosecutor at the primary level of their residence and give a full address within fifteen days of release.
In addition, they have to appear before the prosecution office once in a month on a day to be fixed by the Prosecutor. In case of impediments to appear on the fixed day, they request not to appear in a letter addressed to the Prosecutor in advance.
They should also seek authorisation from the Minister in charge of justice every time they wish to travel outside the country.
Revocation of release on parole
The Minister in charge of justice, upon request by the Public Prosecution, may revoke the release on parole due to various reasons such as notorious misconduct or when the beneficiary breaches one of the conditions.
A person whose release on parole is revoked serves part of the remainder of the previous sentence, which is counted from the day the release on parole is revoked.