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.


Bagilishema (ICTR-95-1A)

Trial Judgment: 7 June 2001; Appeal Judgment: 3 July 2002

In the first ICTR case where the defendant was acquitted on all charges, Ignace Bagilishema, the former Bourgmestre (mayor) of Mabanza Commune, was indicted for allegedly ordering attacks on Tutsis in Mabanza Commune, ordering the detention of Tutsi refugees fleeing form violence, ordering the transfer of Tutsi refugees to locations where they would later be killed, and ordering roadblocks preventing the flight of Tutsi refugees. The prosecution charged Bagilishema with direct and superior responsibility for genocide; complicity in genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes for acts of violence to life and outrages upon dignity.

In 2001, an ICTR Trial Chamber acquitted Bagilishema on all charges after finding that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bagilishema was involved in or had sufficient control over individuals engaged in the crimes for which he was accused. Moreover, the Trial Chamber considered, on account of documentary evidence provided by the defense, that Bagilishema had taken specific measures to protect Tutsis during the massacres. In 2002, the Appeals Chamber dismissed all of the prosecution’s grounds for appeal and upheld the Trial Chamber’s acquittal.