The transfer of the eight convicts from Sierra Leon, to serve time in Rwanda’s prisons, proves that the country has not only the necessary judicial institutions, but also well equipped and international standards facilities to accommodate UN convicts.
After this vote of confidence in her institutions, the argument that Rwandan convicts at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) should not be transferred to serve their terms here, rings hollow.
A decade ago, the Rwandans convicted of the Genocide crimes, would never be transferred to Rwanda owing to the existence of the death penalty on the books in the country.
Today, Rwanda has done away with capital punishment, and consequently, there should be no more excuses, not to have the Rwandan convicts do their time in the country where they committed the crimes.
The fact that the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) has agreed to transfer eight convicts to serve time in Rwanda’s prisons, sends out a loud and clear message, that exposes the double standards that have been applied where Rwanda is concerned.
These eight Sierra Leonians are no less criminals than the Rwandans tried at the ICTR, in Arusha, and there is no need to have Genocide convicts serve time in other parts of the world, when they can come to terms with their past in their own home country Rwanda, which is the scene of their crimes, an act that would demonstrate to the survivors that the perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi, are indeed facing justice.