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Rwanda; Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Convicts to Serve Time in Rwanda

(Mar. 27, 2009) On March 18, 2009, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the Sierra Leone-based Tribunal established in 2002 to try individuals who perpetrated crimes during the civil war in that country, signed an agreement with the Rwandan government that will make it possible for some individuals convicted by the SCSL to serve their sentences in Rwanda. Speaking about what necessitated the convict transfer option, Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama, who witnessed the signing ceremony, noted that this agreement will make it possible for individuals convicted by the SCSL to serve their time under conditions that meet international standards and, given its recent history, Rwanda is glad to contribute to “international justice.” (James Karuhanga, War Crime Convicts to Serve Sentences in Rwanda, THE NEW TIMES, Mar. 19, 2009, available at http://allafrica.com/stories/200903190004.html.)

The agreement was signed after an SCSL team concluded an inspection of Rwanda's detention facilities and was satisfied with their quality. After touring the Rwandan facilities, SCSL Registrar Herman Von Hebel declared that he was convinced that a “maximum of eight” SCSL convicts could receive an “enforcement which meets international standards” in Rwanda. (Id.)