29.08.07 - RWANDA/ITALY - KAGAME TO RECEIVE AN AWARD FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY

Arusha, 29 August 2007 (FH) - Rwandan President Paul Kagame will receive Thursday in Rome (Italy) from the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, an award presented by the Italian non-governmental organization "Hands off Cain" for the abolition of the death penalty in his country, it was learned Wednesday from a Rwandan official source.   
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"President Kagame will receive the award of the abolitionist of the year 2007; this award is presented by the organization Hands Off Cain, President Kagame will receive it from the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi ", reported Wednesday morning the governmental station Radio Rwanda. During his stay in Rome, the Rwandan president will also meet with the President of the Italian Senate, Franco Marini, added the radio.
 
The organization Hands off Cain fights for the abolition of the death penalty and will present Thursday its report of executions still practiced in the world. The site of the organization, presided by Mr. Marco Pannella, European deputy and renowned leader of the Italian Radical Party, confirmed the choice of the Rwandan president.
 
Rwanda abolished last month the death penalty for all crimes including the 1994 genocide which resulted, according to Kigali, in nearly a million killed, primarily Tutsis. At the end of the genocide, Rwandan courts sentenced hundreds of people to death. Twenty two, including a woman, were shot publicly in Kigali in April 1998 when Paul Kagame was a Vice-President. According to an organization for the defence of human rights, last year 606 persons sentenced to death were still in prison in Rwanda. They had their sentences commuted to life in prison.
 
The elimination of the death penalty removed one of the principal obstacles for the transfer to Rwandan courts of individuals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) based in Arusha, northern Tanzania. This tribunal, where the maximum sentence is life in prison, must finish by the end of next year its first instance trials. It is also constrained to transfer certain cases to national courts, including Rwanda.
 
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