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Death Penalty Information

Monday, October 30, 2006

Rwanda - death penalty debate continues
Death Penalty - Debates Extend to Districts

After meeting various bodies at national level, the Judiciary has extended
their campaign of conducting debates on having the death penalty scrapped
from the Rwandan Penal Code, to the district level.
"It is true we have started the debates at the district level and I have
been to a number of them and recently, I asked the Cabinet meeting to have
ministers help me in these campaigns. They will soon begin," Tharcisse
Karugarama, the Justice Minister said yesterday.
According to Karugarama, the government has assigned different ministers
to different districts and every minister will go to their designated
districts for the campaigns.
He said that the government has given itself a deadline of November 20, to
have the draft law ready for Parliament.
"Our aim is to have this law ready at least by the end of the year, but we
don't set the programme of parliament and that is why we (government) want
to finish it as soon as possible," he said on phone.
Asked how this has been perceived by the populace, Karugarama said that
people like the idea.
"Many people we met think it is for the common good, but of course, we
have also met others who had reservations about it, they think waiving it
would promote criminal acts but we try to explain to them," he added.
He said that right now, officials in IBUKA, the umbrella organisation for
Genocide survivors are holding consultative meetings "and we are planning
to meet them in due course," Karugarama said.
"The judiciary has also met a number of human rights activists on the
issue, and among these include; CLADHO, LDGL (Ligues de Droit de l"Homme
duns les Grands Lacs) and others.
"They are all enthusiastic to have this penalty lifted," Karugarama said.
The debates on the lifting of this penalty have gone far, after members of
the judiciary met the University community, members of the press and local
government officials, among others.
It has been widely said that after the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda indicated that if Rwanda fulfills what it is required of (lifting
death penalty), transfers will start in January and the government is said
to be working around the clock to see that the law is ready by this time.
(source: New Times)
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