Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 955 on November 8, 1994, in response to the genocide that took place in Rwanda earlier that year. The ICTR was created to prosecute individuals responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda in 1994.

The Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda sets out the legal framework and rules for the functioning of the tribunal. It outlines its jurisdiction, structure, powers, and procedures. Here are the key elements of the ICTR Statute:

  1. Jurisdiction: The ICTR has jurisdiction over four categories of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as well as violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II. These crimes must have been committed in the territory of Rwanda between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1994.
  2. Structure: The ICTR consists of two main organs: the Chambers and the Office of the Prosecutor. The Chambers include Trial Chambers and an Appeals Chamber, composed of judges appointed by the UN Secretary-General from different countries. The Office of the Prosecutor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting individuals accused of crimes within the ICTR’s jurisdiction.
  3. Cooperation: The ICTR Statute provides for cooperation with national courts, the UN Security Council, the International Criminal Court (ICC), and other international tribunals. States are required to cooperate with the tribunal, including in the arrest and surrender of indicted individuals.
  4. Fair Trial Rights: The Statute guarantees the rights of the accused, including the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair and public trial, the right to be informed of the charges, the right to counsel, and the right to confront witnesses.
  5. Penalties: The ICTR has the power to impose individual criminal responsibility, including imprisonment, fines, and other penalties. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
  6. Completion Strategy: The Statute includes provisions for the completion of the ICTR’s work. It states that the ICTR shall continue to operate until it completes all its functions, including the prosecution of pending cases and the enforcement of sentences. After the completion of its work, any remaining functions will be transferred to a residual mechanism, which was established to handle outstanding matters.

It’s important to note that the ICTR formally closed on December 31, 2015, after completing its mandate. However, a residual mechanism, known as the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), was established to carry out certain remaining functions of the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Please keep in mind that the information provided here is based on the knowledge available up to September 2021, and there might have been updates or developments since then.

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