KIGALI - The Government and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday signed an agreement that would see convicted Genocide perpetrators transferred to Rwanda to complete their sentences.
The agreement was signed between Adama Dieng, the Chief Registrar of the Tanzania-based UN tribunal and Rwandan Foreign Affairs minister Dr Charles Murigande.
After the agreement, Murigande said that the move, though long overdue, was welcome.
"We are only signing this agreement on the service of the sentences in the Republic of Rwanda almost 14 years after the creation of the ICTR, and after some of those found guilty have been sent to countries such as Mali and Italy," said Murigande.
Five convicts, including former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, are currently serving their sentences in Mali, while last week, the tribunal transferred Belgian national Georges Ruggiu to complete his sentence in Italy.
Murigande said that as part of efforts to have the convicts transferred to Rwanda, the Government sought to educate Rwandans by showing them that you cannot commit such a heinous crime and escape justice. Dieng said that bringing the convicts to complete their sentences in Rwanda would be a boost to national unity and reconciliation drive.
"I remain a fervent supporter of the Rwandan reconciliation through the Rwandan judicial process…having Rwandan convicts serve their sentences in Rwanda and eventually settling in Rwanda upon completion of their prison terms, would be an important tool for reconciliation, said Dieng. He said that Rwanda has proven its commitment to host these convicts. So far six convicts have been transferred from the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania, to Mali and Italy.
The UN Security Council has said that there would not be renewal of the mandate of the ICTR when it expires in December and Murigande said that the tribunal’s archives should be brought to Rwanda.