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contribution 24 - PROSPER Pierre-Richard

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Sentence and detention

Pierre-Richard PROSPER

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Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to challenge my friend Thierry’s point regarding the sentences. The interesting thing about an international tribunal is that we all come in with our unique experiences, our cultural differences and our different legal cultures as well. I think your comment regarding that the sentences are too harsh is based on you coming from your perspective, which is more of a European perspective, where, I think, the sentences are generally more lenient than, for example, in the United States and other parts of the world. We are dealing with genocide where people are responsible for deaths of thousands of people. It doesn’t even have to be genocide. It could be crimes against humanity or war crimes where the death of persons still warrants life imprisonment. In the United States, you kill one person and it’s first degree murder, you’re looking at life imprisonment. I know some people may think that’s harsh, but that is the process that we have and other communities may have as well.

So I’m not sure that it’s always definitively that people must get life, but I don’t think that, on the other hand, we should be looking at what some of the sentences have been in either the former Yugoslavia or elsewhere, where someone is convicted for genocide or crimes against humanity and maybe gets, you know, ten years of imprisonment in a nice prison that has fax, computer, email, Internet and a window of the ocean or something.


Several persons want to have the floor. President Byron, then François Roux and François-Xavier Nsanzuwera.