Arusha, February 5, 2010 (FH) - The Spokesperson of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Roland Amoussouga, denied on Friday allegations that genocide-convicts serving their sentences in Benin were not given appropriate medical treatment.

1 min 10Approximate reading time

Nine ICTR convicts are imprisoned in the small West African country, amongst whom former Mayor of Mukingo Juvénal Kajelijeli, who has been handed down a 45 years term.

Called to the witness stand in Arusha to testify in favour of his old friend Joseph Nzirorera, Kajelijeli declared that several detainees were sick but did not receive any appropriate medical treatment.

"The United Nations continues to provide the ICTR convicts with all their basic needs (...) including adequate medical care as prescribed by their examining physicians", Roland Amoussouga declared in reaction to Kajelijeli's statement.

"Some of the ICTR convicts had chronic diseases prior to their transfer", he added, insisting that their transfer to Europe for medical reasons was out of the question: "It is clear that this option does not exist".

According to a reliable source at the ICTR, a seriously ill prisoner had asked to be treated in France.

In addition to Benin and Mali, where fourteen ICTR-convicts are serving their term, five other countries - Rwanda, Swaziland, France, Sweden and Italy - have signed Penalty enforcement agreements with the United Nations. The text subjects transferred detainees to their host countries prison system.

Roland Amoussouga highlighted that "the conditions of imprisonment of ICTR convicts are subject to regular inspection by ICTR Officials". He added: "The United Nations Organization ensures that the enforcement of ICTR sentences shall be carried out in compliance with the international minima standards of imprisonment".

ICTR considers that prison authorities in Benin are doing their best, treating their UN convicts much better than their own inmates, Amoussouga said.


© Hirondelle News Agency