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Arusha, January 24 2007 (FH) - The Rwandan government is to release 8.000 prisoners, many of which avowed genocide criminals, the pro-government paper Imvaho Nshya published in Kinyarwanda reports this Wednesday.

According to the paper, which quotes the Minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama, this operation is to begin in February.

It will be the third wave of releases of « repentant genociders ». The first one, in 2003, had concerned 22.000 inmates, the second one, in 2005, had been smaller. The estimated number of prisoners for the first quarter of 2006 is close to 68.000, 80% of these accused of having participated in the genocide.

According to Ibuka, the number one organization of genocide survivors, several persons accused of genocide who were released in 2003 and 2005 have threatened the security of survivors and witnesses bound to testify before a gacaca court.

These tribunals perpetrate the Rwandan tradition of justice rendering; they are in charge of trying the majority of alleged criminals who have acted during the 1994 genocide which made, according to Kigali, almost one million victims, mostly within the Tutsi community.

In its 2006 report, Ibuka reveals that some survivors and persons testifying before gacaca courts were killed by released prisoners in 2003.

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