Senegal offers to put up jails for Rwanda genociders

Genocide suspects line up before re-entering Kigali's central prison. Senegal has offered to put up prisons for genocide suspects in Dakar. AFRICA REVIEW | FILE 

The Senegalese government has accepted to offer prison facilities for an undisclosed number of Rwandan genocide suspects following their conviction by a Special Court based in Arusha, Tanzania.

An agreement was this week signed in Dakar between the bailiff of the International Court of Justice for the United Nations and Senegal's justice ministry.

The UN's Mr Adama Dieng and Senegal’s justice minister Cheikh Tidiane Sy on signing the deal said the agreement was in line with Article 26 of the ICJ.

The article stipulates that the prison terms should be carried out in Rwanda or in another state designated by the special court and which has expressed a readiness to the UN Security Council to receive the convicts.

Senegal will be required to construct adequate prisons facilities in conformity with UN standards well ahead of the convicts' incarceration.

Although neither the exact number of prisoners nor the date for their transfer or duration was made known, it is expected that the facilities will constructed in Dakar before the end of 2011.

With the latest agreement, Senegal joins eight other countries which have accepted to receive prisoners convicted by the UN-backed special court for Rwanda.

They include Mali, Benin Italy, France, Sweden, Swaziland and Rwanda. But only Mali, Benin, Italy and Sweden are already hosting the convicted genocide criminals.

Like the UN-backed court for Sierra Leone, the special court for Rwanda which is based in Arusha has been trying people accused of responsibility during the 1994 genocide that claimed nearly one million lives in the southern Africa country.

Rwanda is presently providing prison facilities for the leader of Sierra Leone’s former rebel Revolutionary United Front Mr Issa Sesay who was handed a 42 year-imprisonment last year by the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown.

Mr Sesay was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture during the 11-year civil war that killed over 200,000 people and left thousands with mutilated.

Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?

Read Story:Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?