The decision by the ICTR, (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) to give the criminals ‘maximum liberty’, by extending conjugal rights to them while in prison is offending the already offended.
Genocide is a crime that already dehumanized the offended. I am afraid they are likely to be further dehumanized because of the so-called international prisoners’ rights. Recently, ICTR said that there is a possibility to allow prisoners who committed genocide in Rwanda, to meet their wives.
The decision is lamentable!
Giving those proven guilty an appropriate punishment is important. Punishment should try to have some degree of equality to the offence committed. For example, a person who stole bread from a grocery store does not deserve the same punishment as one who committed genocide.
The latter deserves a more severe punishment. Ironically, the former is given more precise and accurate punishment.
One is therefore likely to face a tougher punishment for killing one person than killing a thousand. What a paradox!
Punishment that does not serve as a deterrent is meaningless.
Deterrence is all about punishing somebody as an example to avoid that crime taking place again either as committed by the same person or others. Some countries, advocate the death penalty, because it is one of those extreme punishments that would create fear in the mind of any sane person.
Everybody fears death; even animals and most criminals would think twice if they knew their own lives were at stake. In the absence of the death penalty, life imprisonment can be a good alternative – an option Rwanda chose. Otherwise, I do not see why prisoners, who are treated like the ones I am seeing in Arusha, cannot commit another murder/genocide in future. They are living such a decent life that does not allow them to fear.
You will not be surprised if inmates in Arusha started committing further crimes within the prison especially that, they are already facing the maximum punishment, as it is the case of the genocide criminals.
If the rights of prisoners go as far as claimed by the ICTR judges in Arusha, I do not see its essence because it will not stop the prisoners to commit crimes. If the trend continues the way it is, then we shall only continue to be excited by trials whose logical outcome of justice and accountability will remain a mirage to us.
It actually beats logic of any sane mind to give a criminal, such rights. A genocide criminal, who did not only kill, but raped women and sexually molested boys.
It is sheer mockery! Imagine such a person who after pleading insanity, stays in custody, eating three square meals a day, sleeping on a mattress with a blanket in air-conditioned comfort, having a roof over his head and watching world television channels.
As if that is not enough, the criminal of that nature is going to get more conjugal rights. We in fact call upon severe punishment not only to show survivors that no one can escape answering crimes committed, but also to rehabilitate criminals.
We need punishment that gives definite purpose of reducing crime as well as bringing justice to the criminals and healing to the victims. In order to serve its purpose, punishment must be adjusted and made more effective and efficient.
Justice and punishment in Arusha (however much remote it is) for that matter must ensure that the safety of the society brings justice to those who have suffered and most importantly helps in reducing crime and criminals in our society.
Much as we should not justify punishment according to either the deontologists or utilitarian, we must ensure that if someone has committed a crime, he or she must be punished.
The deontologists will justify punishment purely on duty that must be fulfilled while utilitarian justify punishment solely based on its consequences.
The justification of punishment should be guided by questions such as; what do you want to achieve as you punish? On the other hand, are you punishing as a duty?
An obligation to punish should rise from its social utility.
This means that overall; the good not only of the person but also of the society must act as a reference point. That is why I find what ICTR is doing bad and actually, going to harm the society. Why create a great paradox?