This case summary is part of a collection of summaries describing the cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). See the Online Resource Hub pages on the ICTR and International Criminal Law, and table of ICTR case summaries for additional information.


Kambanda (ICTR-97-23-S)

Trial Judgment: 4 September 1998; Appeal Judgment: 19 October 2000

In the ICTR’s first plea deal, Jean Kambanda, the former Prime Minister of the Interim Government of the Republic of Rwanda, was indicted for allegedly providing arms to individuals who would use them to perpetrate massacres and also for his failure to intervene and stop the massacres as would be expected in light of his de facto and de jure authority over senior civil servants and military officers. The prosecution charged Kambanda with direct and superior responsibility for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity for acts of murder and extermination.

In 1998, an ICTR Trial Chamber accepted Kambanda’s guilty plea on all counts levied against him. In 2000, the ICTR Appeals Chamber rejected Kambanda’s claim that he was entitled to a retrial because he was not allowed to choose his lawyer. The Appeals Chamber upheld the Trial Chamber sentence of life imprisonment.