Seven countries have until now signed a bilateral agreement with ICTR to receive persons convicted that will serve their sentences.
Mali and Benin signed their agreements in 1999 and Swaziland in August 2000. They were joined last week by Rwanda, even if article 26 of the statute stipulates that since 1994 that persons convicted were suppose to return to their country. Until now, the United Nations has backed down from sending persons convicted to this destination, which has caused sharp concerns amidst the prisoners. The first person convicted to leave Arusha went to Mali. Six of them have been there since December 2001.
Three European countries have also signed this enforcement of sentences agreement: France in 2003, and Italy and Sweden in 2004. Italy, two weeks ago, received Georges Ruggiu, only non-Rwandan to be indicted, tried and convicted. His dual citizenship, Italian and Belgian, undoubtedly explains his transfer to Italy. Interviewed by the Hirondelle Agency, his lawyer, Jean-Louis Gilissen, regretted not being informed of the transfer of his former client. "To the eyes of the tribunal, the designation of the lawyer] ended with the end of the appeal time limit". Annoyed, Mr. Gilissen would wish to know where he was transferred, "at least to know if he is assisted by counsel".
© Hirondelle News Agency