International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was an international tribunal established by the United Nations Security Council to prosecute individuals responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The genocide claimed the lives of approximately 800,000 people, predominantly from the Tutsi ethnic group, and lasted for about 100 days.

The ICTR was created on November 8, 1994, by the UN Security Council Resolution 955 in response to the widespread atrocities committed during the genocide. Its primary mandate was to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed in Rwanda between January 1 and December 31, 1994.

The tribunal was based in Arusha, Tanzania, due to security concerns in Rwanda at the time. It operated under the statute that outlined its jurisdiction, procedures, and mechanisms for the investigation and prosecution of crimes. The ICTR employed a mixture of international and Rwandan judges and staff.

During its existence, the ICTR indicted and prosecuted numerous individuals responsible for the genocide, including high-ranking military officials, politicians, and media personalities. Notable cases tried by the tribunal include the prosecution of Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of Taba commune, who was the first individual to be convicted of genocide by an international court.

The ICTR completed its mandate in December 2015. By that time, it had prosecuted and convicted several individuals, sentenced others to varying prison terms, and conducted a significant amount of judicial work related to the genocide. It played a crucial role in establishing legal precedents for international criminal justice, particularly regarding the prosecution of genocide.

After the closure of the ICTR, its functions were transferred to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), which was established by the UN Security Council in 2010. The MICT handles the residual functions of both the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Its main role is to complete the remaining work of the tribunals, including hearing appeals and conducting retrials, if necessary.

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