GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- The United Nations' top human rights official on Friday praised Rwanda's decision to end capital punishment, a move that should allow suspects in the 1994 genocide to be extradited to stand trial in the country.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour praised Rwanda's abolition of capital punishment.
Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, called the abolition which took effect this week "a powerful endorsement of the importance of pursuing justice while repudiating violence in all its forms."
Many suspects accused of involvement in the killings of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994 are believed to be at large in Europe, North America and West Africa.
Rwanda's parliament voted in June to end capital punishment to smooth the transfer of genocide suspects from countries which refuse to extradite people to nations that practise the death penalty or torture. The law was signed on Thursday.
"With the promulgation of the law banning the death penalty, Rwanda simultaneously takes an important step forward in ensuring respect for the right to life and makes further progress in bringing to justice those responsible for the heinous crimes of the 1994 genocide," Arbour said in a statement. E-mail to a friend
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