- An agreement for the transfer of genocide convicts to complete their jail terms in Rwanda has been signed between the government of Rwanda and the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
The Chief Registrar of the UN tribunal, Adama Dieng and Rwandan Foreign Minister, Dr. Charles Murigande, signed the agreement.
Tanzanian tribunal was created 14 years back to prosecute the 1994 Rwandan genocide suspects. It has already convicted more than 25 suspects. Six of the convicts, including the former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda and Georges Ruggiu, an Italian journalists, are serving their jail terms in Mali and Italy.
Since last year, Rwanda has been going through legal reforms to accommodate the transfer of genocide convicts. In this regard, Rwandan lawmakers legislated the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes, including those relating to genocide.
The promulgation of a law initiated by the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front of President Paul Kagame meant 600 Rwandan convicted of death penalty would have their convictions overturned to life imprisonment.
The UN-backed tribunal is expected to wind up proceedings in December, which makes the transfer of genocide suspects to Rwanda obvious.
But the Arusha tribunal conditioned Rwanda to scrap the death penalty ahead of the transfer of the 1994 genocide suspects to the Rwandan judiciary.
Dieng hailed the judicial transfer, believing that it would be an "important tool for reconciliation."
Murigande said Rwandan government would educate citizens that suspects cannot escape justice.
However, the New York-based Human Rights Watch unearthed 20 extra-judicial killings of detainees by Rwanda's national police officers last year. The killed detainees include genocide and murder suspects.
"Rwanda says it is striving to establish a state of law," Alison Des Forges, Senior Adviser to Human Rights Watch's Africa Division, held. "Killing detainees is not the way to do it. The Rwandan National Police must ensure that the killings end."
At least 800,000 people had been killed in the 100-day long genocide, which saw the mass slaughter of minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus by a Hutu milia.
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