Arusha, October 15, 2009 (FH) -  Rwanda and Burundi will sign an extradition treaty to facilitate arrest and transfer of Rwandans suspected of participation in the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan daily New Times reported on Thursday.

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The move follows reports that a number of Rwandan suspects trying to escape prosecution by the Gacaca Courts have crossed into Burundi since July.

Inspired by Rwandan tradition, the Gacaca Courts (gacaca meaning "lawn") are charged with trying alleged participants in the 1994 genocide, with the notable exception of "planners at the national level". The courts are presided not by professional judges, but by local notables who command high esteem.

The New Times, which did not disclose further details, however said that Kigali and Bujumbura have agreed that the signing of  the treaty should take place "as soon as possible" .

In another development, the League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region (Ligue des droits de la personne dans la region des  grands lacs, LDGL) disclosed that Rwanda and Kenya have amended in September their extradition treaty to include crimes of genocide and terrorism. The earlier treaty has been in force since 1990.

Rwanda intends to sign, or to amend, similar treaties with Malawi, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where genocide fugitives are allegedly sheltered, added LDGL. The victims of the  genocide were mainly ethnic Tutsis.


© Hirondelle News Agency