Arusha, 2 July 2007 (FH) - The Rwandan authorities will use every means possible to block any transfer elsewhere than to Kigali of a person convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), warned on Monday the government representative to the tribunal, Aloys Mutabingwa.  

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"We are ready to use every means possible to block that", indicated the diplomat in an interview with the Hirondelle news agency.

Six ICTR convicts are currently being held in Bamako, Mali under the terms of an agreement made between that country and the tribunal.

Several definitive convicts remain in detention at the seat of the tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania while waiting for their transfer towards another country.

"It is necessary that they are transferred to Rwanda. The UN does not have any more pretext; we have built a prison meeting international standards ", indicated Mutabingwa.  

The diplomat explained that the fact of holding the convicts in their country would have "a teaching value" for Rwandans.

"Those who were not convicted to life in prison will be freed at the end of their sentences", ensured the Rwandan diplomat.

He estimated that the transfer to Rwanda of ICTR convicts exempts the tribunal of the difficult responsibility of finding host countries for those finishing their sentences.

According to the ICTR statute, « Imprisonment shall be served in Rwanda or any of the States on a list of States which have indicated to the Security council their willingness to accept convicted persons, as designated by the tribunal".

"Such imprisonment shall be served in accordance with the applicable law of the State concerned, subject to the supervision of the tribunal", adds the text.

In addition to Mali, the countries which signed the agreement on the enforcement of sentences are Benin, Swaziland, France, Sweden and Italy. These 5 countries have not, however, yet received ICTR convicts.

In September 2004, the registry of the ICTR and the Rwandan authorities had announced to have had finalized the text of an agreement on the enforcement of sentences in Rwanda.

The two parties had indicated that they were only waiting on the green light from New York to place their signatures at the bottom of the text.

"There is a lack of will somewhere", stated Mutabingwa; stressing that this delay "is damaging to Rwanda".


© Hirondelle News Agency