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Kigali, 5 April 2007 (FH) – The law project abolishing the capital punishment in Rwanda for all crimes, even genocide is still pending under revision of the parliamentarian commission, the General Secretary of the Chamber of Representatives, Anicet Habarurema, indicated to Hirondelle Agency on Thursday. “The text is still under examination before the commission” he said, underlining that the Representatives left for the two months’ parliamentarian holidays on Wednesday. He did however not exclude the possibility of extraordinary sessions during these parliamentarian holidays. Retaining the death penalty in the Rwandan criminal code is one of the main obstacles preventing the transfer of accused of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, to Rwanda. The ICTR Prosecutor, the Gambian Hassan Bucar Jallow, promised, in case of the abolition of capital punishment, to start filing requests aiming at transferring 12 Accused at large and 5 others currently in the hands of the Tribunal to Rwanda during this month. In April 1998, 22 Accused of genocide were shot on several public places. Since then, the death penalty has not been executed anymore, even if Rwandan prisons count almost 600 persons that have been convicted to capital punishment. The new law text was adopted by the Council of Ministers last January. In March, after having voted its opportunity, the Representatives confided the text to a commission which will render a report to the Plenary Assembly. If the sentence is abolished, it will be undisputedly one of the main events to mark the 13th genocide commemoration. Still in conjunction with the massacres of 1994 in Rwanda, around the end of the month, the ICTR and the Rwandan government could sign an agreement to clear the way for transfers of convicted persons by the United Nations Tribunal to the country. According to the ICTR, a prison which corresponds to the required international norms was renovated to this end in Mpanga, south of Rwanda. Able to hold 7500 prisoners, it currently accommodates 6500, according to the New Times. Recently asked by the governmental newspaper, the director of this prison, Mr. John Bihingiro, explained that separated cells were constructed in order to hold convicts of the ICTR who will not be in contact with the other detainees. ER/PB/CV © Hirondelle News Agency