Mpanga, a stronghold for the UN in Rwanda

05 May 2008 by Louis-Martin Rugendo

With the announced closing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), some of its detainees could be transferred to Rwanda for trial. In anticipation of these still hypothetical transfers, the UN is converting a detention block within the Mpanga prison at great expense.

Mpanga is located in the south of the country, eight kilometers from Nyanza, the former capital of the kingdom of Rwanda. The prison is surrounded by high, wooded hills. Built on the hillside, it covers nearly 8 hectares on a plot of 72 hectares. The remaining land is dotted with fields, eucalyptus trees and housing for guards as well as a few houses expropriated from villagers. The prison comprises two imposing blocks for male prisoners accused of genocide, one block for women, one block for ordinary prisoners, the "UN block", a dispensary, the registrar's office, an administration building and an area for visits.

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