Geography and Justice: Why Prison Location Matters in U.S. and International Theories of Criminal Punishment

By Koh, Steven Arrigg | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, November 2013 | Go to article overview

Geography and Justice: Why Prison Location Matters in U.S. and International Theories of Criminal Punishment


Koh, Steven Arrigg, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


3. Sentencing Designation Procedures of the ICTR

Individuals in detention on remand are held in the United Nations Detention Facility (UNDF) in Arusha, Tanzania, which is situated on the premises of a local Tanzanian prison. (137) Like the ICTY's UNDU, the UNDF also holds prisoners found guilty of contempt or perjury, as well as convicts whose appeals have completed and who are awaiting transfer to another prison facility. (138) It contains eighty-nine individual cells, as well as a kitchen, medical facilities, a classroom, and a gymnasium. (139) Furthermore, similar to the arrangement with the ICC and ICTY, Tanzania has stated that it will not serve ICTR sentences unless it indicates its willingness to the Security Council. (140)

Article 26 of the statute of the ICTR, however, provides:

   Imprisonment shall be served in Rwanda or any of the States on a
   list of States which have indicated to the Security Council their
   willingness to accept convicted persons, as designated by the
   International Tribunal for Rwanda. Such imprisonment shall be in
   accordance with the applicable law of the State concerned, subject
   to the supervision of the International Tribunal for Rwanda. (141)

Pursuant to this article, the ICTR first negotiates a series of bilateral enforcement agreements highly similar to those of the ICC and ICTY. (142) After an ICTR chamber sentences an individual, appellate proceedings have concluded, and time remains to be served on the sentence, (143) the registrar engages in communications with States that have declared their willingness to accept convicted persons and have signed an agreement with the ICTR. (144) The registrar requests that the States provide an indication of their readiness to receive a convict. (145) Upon receipt of this response, the registrar gives the following information to the State: (1) a certified copy of the judgment; (2) a statement indicating how much of the sentence the individual has already served; (3) any medical or psychological reports regarding the convicted person, any recommendations regarding treatment for the person, and other information relevant to the enforcement of the sentence; and (4) certified copies of the identification papers of the convicted person. (146)

On the basis of such communications, the registrar then prepares a confidential memorandum to the president of the tribunal, enumerating the States which may enforce the sentence. (147) The memorandum will also include information about: (1) the marital status, dependents, and other family relations of the convicted person and usual place(s) of residence of such individuals, as well as their financial resources; (2) whether the individual may serve as a witness in future ICTR proceedings; (3) whether the person is expected to be relocated as a witness and which State(s) have entered into relocation agreements with the tribunal; (4) any relevant medical or psychological reports; (5) linguistic skills of the convicted person; and (6) the "general conditions of imprisonment and rules governing security and liberty" in the State(s); and (7) any other considerations. (148) On the basis of this and other inquiries the president makes, the president will designate a particular country as the State of enforcement and request that the government of that State enforce the sentence. (149) If the government declines, the president will designate another State on the basis of the information already received from the registrar. (150)

The ICTR has concluded enforcement agreements with the governments of Benin, France, Italy, Mali, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Sweden. (151) In practice, sentences have been enforced in Benin and Mali. (152)

As noted only briefly in previous scholarship, (153) the ICTR differs from the ICC and ICTY by explicitly providing for the enforcement of sentences within Rwanda itself in Article 26 of its statute. (154) The meaning of this article was illuminated in remarks made by the registrar (155) of the ICTR, Mr. …

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