24.07.07 - ICTR/BENIN - PRISON CELLS AVAILABLE TO THE ICTR IN BENIN

Arusha, 24 July 2007(FH) - Benin has just made available to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) prison cells where persons convicted to prison sentences by this tribunal could be held, it was learnt Tuesday in Arusha.   
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"Benin gave us twenty-three prison cells", indicated to the Hirondelle news agency the spokesperson of the ICTR, Roland Amoussouga.
 
The Togolese lawyer declared that the Registrar of the ICTR, Adama Dieng, recently visited a brand new detention center in Benin in which a section has been reserved for the ICTR.
 
The spokesperson specified that the cells will nevertheless require some upgrading.
 
Benin is one of six countries which have signed an agreement with the ICTR in order to receive in their prisons persons sentenced to prison terms.
 
The other countries on the list are Mali, Swaziland, France, Sweden and Italy. Only Mali has already received prisoners. Six persons, including former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda convicted to life in prison, have been held at the central prison of Bamako since 9 December 2001.
 
No other decision to transfer prisoners has been made since. 14 people who have been definitively convicted are being held in Arusha while awaiting to go to another country to serve their sentences. Some were tried in appeal three to four years ago.
 
The rules of the ICTR stipulate that "imprisonment shall be served in Rwanda or any State designated by the Tribunal from a list of States which have indicated their willingness to accept convicted persons for the serving of sentences".
 
Prior to a decision on the place of imprisonment, the Chamber shall notify the Government of Rwanda. Rwanda ardently wishes that all convicts be handed over to it.
 
AT/MM
© Hirondelle News Agency