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Rwanda senate approves death penalty abolition

[JURIST] The Rwandan senate has approved a bill to abolish the death penalty [JURIST news archive], according to Wednesday reports by Radio Rwanda. The bill, proposed last year by Rwandan President Paul Kagame [official website; BBC profile] with the support of his party [JURIST report] and passed by the lower house of parliament [JURIST report] last month, is expected to come into force by the end of July. The abolition of the death penalty may encourage other countries to extradite defendants facing trial for the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] back to Rwanda. The measure was unanimously approved by all members present.

The Rwandan genocide saw almost a million people murdered over a time span of 100 days. Many countries, including Tanzania, the current site of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website], have refused to extradite suspects while Rwanda's death penalty remains in effect. Following last month's action by the lower house of parliament, ICTR began the process of transferring one such genocide case [JURIST report] to Rwanda. AFP has more.

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