[JURIST] Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said Thursday that Rwanda has signed extradition treaties with countries in Africa, Europe, and North America following its abolition of the death penalty [JURIST report] in July. The law ending the death penalty, which took effect July 25, was largely motivated by Rwanda's desire to receive extradited suspects accused of crimes in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Death sentences issued before the new law took effect were commuted to life imprisonment or life imprisonment with special provisions, which prevents early release unless a prisoner has already served at least 20 years. A Ministry of Justice [official website] official indicated that those convicted of crimes like genocide, crimes against humanity, acts of terrorism resulting in death, rape of children, sexual torture, torture resulting in death, and the murder or other killings conducted with dehumanizing acts on dead bodies may be subjected to special provisions, which require detention in isolation.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website], which is expected to complete its work by December 2008, has began the process of transferring genocide cases [JURIST report] to Rwandan courts after the abolishment of the death penalty. IRIN has more.