Rwandan Mpanga International Prison commended

Employees of the US Embassy in Kigali have commended the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) for promoting better and safer environment for inmates of this prison.

Mpanga International Prison in Nyanza District is home to over eight thousand prisoners, many of them Genocide convicts. Also, among the detainees at this facility are eight Sierra-Leonean inmates who were convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The US team also visited Kigali's 1930 central prison and will visit another prison before winding up their tour.

In an interview with The New Times after the visit, Carolina Hidea, a Political and Economic Counsellor with the US Embassy, said they found the inmates well treated and that the facility "seems much in line with the international standards".

She commended the "cleanliness and spacing" inside the facility, education and other programs which she said were a sign of the government's commitment for safeguarding the lives of inmates.

"We very much appreciate the collaboration of the Government to make sure we access the facilities and share with the international community. I think it is an important step to see people transferred from other countries," Hidea said, citing cases of Jean Bosco Uwinkindi who was recently transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and Leon Mugesera, who was deported earlier this year by the Canadian Government.

On April 19, Uwinkindi became the first Rwandan Genocide suspect to be transferred to Rwanda by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Uwinkindi, a former pastor with the Pentecostal Church in Kanzenze, Bugesera, is accused of unleashing killers on thousands of Tutsi refugees during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Leon Mugesera, on the other hand, is charged with plotting and inciting genocide, and distribution of arms. He was deported to Rwanda from Canada in January this year.

According to Emmanuel Rukundo, a commissioner in charge of cooperation and social affairs with the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), the visit is in line with the collaboration and partnership between Rwanda and the United States of America.

He said the tour aimed at sharing information about best practices and to learning from each other.

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