Minister Hirsch Ballin Signs Declaration of Intent with Rwandan Colleague

Last weekend Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin signed a declaration of intent in Kigali together with his Rwandan colleague Karugarama to strengthen the judicial cooperation between the Netherlands and Rwanda. The aim is to create a situation in which an extradition treaty can be concluded. Both Ministers expressed the wish that suspects of war crimes and genocide who are presently detained in the Netherlands can in future be extradited to Rwanda. The principles of due process of law will be guaranteed on both sides. In the spring of 1994, over the course of a hundred days nearly a million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide. Minister Hirsch Ballin emphasized that the Netherlands cannot be a refuge for war criminals.

The closer cooperation especially concerns the exchange of knowledge and skills. Witness protection will be one of the areas in which the Netherlands will share its expertise with Rwanda. In addition, training courses will be given to judges, public prosecutors and other professionals within the chain of Justice. The Netherlands will also continue to support the Rwandan Institute for Legal Practice and Development in the years to come.

In Rwanda Minister Hirsch Ballin paid working visits to the Mpanga prison, the Institute for Legal Practice and Development and a camp where convicted genocidaires perform community services. He also met with representatives of the international community and visited the Genocide Memorial Center and the Nyamata church near Kigali, where more than 10,000 people were killed during the genocide.