The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda began operating from its seat in Arusha, Tanzania in 1995, in the near-immediate aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Rwandans lost their lives when the government incited the country’s majority ethnic group to attack the minority group. The ICTR, which was established pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 955 of November 8, 1994, was responsible for prosecuting the individuals believed to be most responsible for the Rwandan genocide. After more than 20 years of operating, the ICTR issued its final judgment and closed its doors in December 2015.
See IJRC’s Table of Cases for links to a summary of each indictment and its outcome at the ICTR. (Note: IJRC has also summarized and indexed the cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).)
The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), established by the UN Security Council in 2010, will continue to operate offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands to conclude the remaining work of the ICTR and its counterpart the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The IRMCT is responsible for locating and arresting indicted individuals who are still at large; hearing appeals against judgments and sentences issued by the ICTR, ICTY, or IRMCT; reviewing judgments based on new facts; conducting retrials; and managing investigations and court proceedings in alleged cases of contempt of court and false testimony; monitoring cases referred to national courts; protecting victims and witnesses; supervising the enforcement of sentences and deciding requests for pardon, commutation, or early release; assisting national authorities in relevant prosecutions; and maintaining the ICTR, ICTR, and IRMCT archives.
Overview of ICTR’s Mandate & Results
The ICTR’s jurisdiction was limited to acts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, as defined in its Statute, committed in Rwanda or by Rwandan nationals in neighboring States between January 1, 1994 and December 31, 1994. The ICTR’s Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence establish the substantive and procedural norms applicable to its work.
The ICTR indicted 93 individuals, resulting in 61 convictions and 14 acquittals. The ICTR withdrew two indictments, and three individuals died before the conclusion of their trials before the ICTR. The ICTR transferred five cases to national courts in Rwanda and France.
Six indicted individuals remain at large, as of May 2020. Since its closure, the ICTR has relinquished jurisdiction over five individuals to Rwanda (Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikubwabo, Aloys Ndimbati, Pheneas Munyarugarama, and Charles Ryandikayo), and three to the IRMCT (Félicien Kabugam, Protais Mpiranya, and Augustin Bizimana). See ICTR, Key Figures of Cases. Félicien Kabuga was arrested in France in May 2020, will face trial at the IRMCT; Augustin Bizimana was confirmed dead in May 2020. [IRMCT]
The IRMCT is handling the prosecution of Maximilien Turinabo and five other defendants on charges of contempt of court and incitement to commit contempt, in connection with the Ngirabatware case. The IRMCT handled Augustin Ngirabatware’s appeal against his conviction by the ICTR, as well as his request for review of the IRMCT’s July 2016 judgment concerning that appeal. The IRMCT issued a review judgment on September 27, 2019, in which it upheld the appeal judgment sentencing Ngirabatware to 30 years in prison for inciting genocide, among other crimes.