International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

    Rwanda tribunal ex-convict tries to go to Burundi

    Captain Innocent Sagahutu is back in the “safe house” in Arusha, Tanzania, where he has been living for several years alongside others freed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). For the last three weeks or so he had been in the hands of Tanzanian security services, who accused him of trying to cross into Burundi without travel documents.  Sagahutu, an officer in the former Rwandan army, was convicted for the murder of Belgian UN peacekeepers in Kigali in April 1994 at the start of the Rwandan genocide. Captain Innocent Sagahutu was stopped on March 10 in the Tanzanian...

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    Can satellite imagery still prove war crimes?
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    A few years ago, satellite images were seen as a decisive technological advance that could reveal the truth about war crimes. Satellite images provided essential confirmation of atrocities in Srebrenica and Sudan. But those who violate human rights have learned from this, and are now devising counter-strategies.   When Bosnian Serb forces massacred some 8,000 Muslims in the enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995, photos gathered by US secret service satellites gave the lie to Bosnian Serb nationalist denials. The images of prisoners standing for execution and freshly dug ground at the sites of...

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    Turkey jails a UN judge
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    For four months, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) has been trying to obtain the release of one of its judges, Judge Aydin Sefa Akay, who was  detained in Turkish government purges. The judge, who was appointed by the UN, has diplomatic immunity. Turkish authorities were summoned to The Hague for a hearing on January 17 but failed to attend. It was with apparent indifference that Ankara met the summons of the MICT, the UN body charged with handling residual matters of the ad hoc tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The Turkish authorities, who had been...

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    Early release for two well-known Rwandan genocide convicts

    Historian Ferdinand Nahimana and Father Emmanuel Rukundo, who are among the most well-known convicts of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), could not have asked for more. They will start 2017 as free men. In two separate decisions of December 5, published Wednesday on the website of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), Judge Theodor Meron approved their request for early release.  Ferdinand Nahimana and Father Emmanuel Rukundo, who were sentenced to 30 and 23 years respectively, have been held in Koulikoro, Mali, under an agreement between the...

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    Nuanced Memory in Rwanda and Uganda : Responsibilities of justice practitioners
    Samantha Lakin (M.A.)

    The international community has established memorialization as a key transitional justice mechanism that holds symbolic value for societies recovering from conflict. As such, memorial efforts can help victims feel a sense of validation by the post-conflict community by recognizing and symbolically redressing the harms they suffered (Hamber et al. 2010). According to a key report about violence in Northern Uganda published by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), “memorials are intended to preserve memories of people or events. Many are designed to promote a specific...

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    Kigali deems Catholic Church genocide apology “inadequate”
    Emmanuel Sehene Ruvugiro, correspondent in Kigali

    In a pastoral letter read out on November 20 in most Rwandan churches, the bishops of nine dioceses in the country asked forgiveness for all “people of the Church and Christians” implicated in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The nine prelates nevertheless stress that the Church “did not send anyone” to commit genocide. The Rwandan government called the statement “profoundly inadequate”, and urged an apology from the Vatican.  “Given the scale of the crimes, there is ample justification for an apology from the Vatican,” says a Rwandan government statement. “As they apologise on behalf of a few...

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    Rwanda to probe French officials' genocide role

    Rwanda on Tuesday opened a formal probe into 20 French officials suspected of playing a role in the 1994 genocide, in a move likely to further sour diplomatic ties with France. Kigali has long accused France of complicity in the genocide of some 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis, at the hands of Hutu extremists, angering Paris and straining relations. "The inquiry, for now, is focused on 20 individuals whom, according to information gathered so far, are required by the prosecution authority to explain or provide clarity on allegations against them," said prosecutor general Richard Muhumuza...

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    Extradited genocide suspects say Rwanda undermining their defence
    Emmanuel Sehene Ruvugiro, correspondent in Kigali

    Several genocide suspects have been extradited to Rwanda by third countries or the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which closed its doors at the end of 2015. Most of them accuse the Rwandan government of denying them adequate means for their defence. The Justice Ministry, which oversees legal aid, denies the accusation. The first accused person to be sent to Rwanda by the ICTR was Pentecostal pastor Jean Uwinkindi, who was transferred in April 2012. The ICTR judges approved his transfer after receiving assurances from Rwanda that the accused would get a fair trial there....

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    Week in Review: Hunger strike in The Hague, and looking back on a fiasco in Rwanda
    François Sergent,

        It was a rich and varied week in transitional justice, with its high and low points.   In the Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) faced new difficulties in trying former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, who no longer wants to cooperate with the Court. Ntaganda, who has been in the ICC prison in the Netherlands for 36 months, is boycotting his trial. He has also gone on hunger strike to protest restrictions on his family visits, imposed by the judges because of his suspected attempts to intimidate witnesses through intermediaries. Ntaganda is accused of crimes against...

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    The UN’s Rwanda Tribunal and how it failed a Rwandan victim
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    It was the longest, most expensive and possibly most failed trial in international justice. The so-called “Butare trial” that ended less than a year ago was full of mistakes, dysfunctions and inadequate behaviour at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), to the detriment of the victims. Here is the autopsy of a resounding failure, at the end of which the Appeals Chamber recognized there had been prejudice… to the genocide perpetrators¨! This article is co-published by Le and   Justice! At last, after so much killing and so much suffering. At least...

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    German Arrest of Top Aide to Rwandan Ex-President Raises Questions
    JusticeInfo correspondents in Frankfurt, Brussels and Wellington

    The news didn’t make a big splash in the international media, despite the person’s stature.  Enoch Ruhigira, who was the last head of presidential staff under Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, was arrested in July in Germany on the basis of a Rwandan arrest warrant accusing him of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity committed between 1990 and 1994.  The Hutu former dignitary is being detained on the basis of accusations which were found to be baseless in New Zealand, the country where he had citizenship, and Belgium, where he had also spent some time. It was mostly the...

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    “Access and Security” for Tribunal Archives on Rwanda and ex-Yugoslavia
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    The  UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) has just published its access policy for the records it holds, some of which are classified. These records include all the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which closed at the end of 2015,  and many of the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is due to close at the end of 2017. This Access Policy “constitutes the foundation of the organization’s information security and access regime,” the MICT says in a news release on its website. Records...

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    Women Drove Transitional Justice In Rwanda, Says Expert
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    Women were among the main victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They saw husbands and family killed. Tutsi women were raped, often infected with HIV and some had to bear the unwanted children of their rapists. Hutu women became refugees and saw surviving husbands jailed. Justine Mbabazi is a Rwandan gender expert, who lost her own husband and parents in the genocide. She was active in discussion forums on constitutional reforms in Rwanda, the review of the Family and Inheritance Law, Children’s Rights Law and in drafting the Gender Based Violence Law. Mbabazi is currently working on an...

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    The “Life without Life” of Rwandan Children Born of Rape in Genocide
    Emmanuel Sehene Ruvugiro, Kigali, Remera-Rukoma (special envoy)

    In Rwanda, children born of women who were raped during the 1994 genocide are often rejected by the community and receive no specific aid. Their mothers, who are also stigmatized, are often their only support in what one of them calls “a life without life”. Twenty-two years ago Maria was raped, damaged in her body and soul. Four months ago Fiston, the child born of her rape, hardly noticed his 21st birthday. What could have been a joyous occasion for the young man and his mother served rather to bring back the worst memories for Maria, now 40. “A part of me died with what happened to me,”...

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    Kinshasa and Kigali Face Off over Ntaganzwa Arrest
    Habibou Bangré, Kinshasa

    The case of former Rwandan mayor and genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa, recently arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is turning into a headache. The UN’s Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), which has taken over residual functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has asked for his rapid extradition to Rwanda. But the procedure is likely to drag on. In exchange for handing over the former mayor of Nyakizu (southern Rwanda), accused of murder and rape during the 1994 genocide, Kinshasa wants Kigali to hand over in exchange a...

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    Kigali Tones Down Criticism as Rwanda Tribunal Closes
    Emmanuel Sehene, Kigali

    As the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) closes its doors, Kigali’s assessment of its work is less critical than in the past. The virulent tone of the past is sometimes even replaced by praise, although Rwanda still points to some failings. Relations have never been easy between the Rwandan government and this Tribunal, which was set up by the UN in November 1994 and handed down its last judgment this December 14.   “The ICTR has done formidable work,” says Rwandan Attorney General Richard Muhumuza. He cites in particular an ICTR ruling that says the genocide...

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    Was the UN’s Rwanda Tribunal Independent?
    Julia Crawford,

    The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which has officially closed its doors and handed down its last judgment after some 20 years of work, is a bit like the United Nations that set it up after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It was costly, slow and much criticized, but also ground-breaking, precedent-setting and necessary. But was it independent, as international justice claims to be? Can justice ever be independent of politics?  The ICTR was only the second international tribunal (after the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY) with a mandate to try...

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    Rwanda Tribunal Cuts Sentences in Last Judgment

    The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday handed down its last judgment, reducing on appeal the sentences of six genocide convicts. They include ex-Minister of Family Affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the only woman tried by the court.  The six were tried for genocide and crimes against humanity committed in 1994 in their native prefecture of Butare, southern Rwanda.  In essence, the ICTR Appeals Chamber headed by Italian judge Fausto Pocar said the sentence reduction was for “prejudice” to the six because their right to trial within a reasonable time had been...

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    Rwanda Tribunal Breaks Myth of Genocide Mastermind, says Lawyer
    Ephrem Rugiririza,

     “Seemingly hopeless battles are the finest ones,” lawyer Raphaël Constant told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) one day as he was arguing a defence motion for his client Théoneste Bagosora, who was portrayed as the “mastermind” behind the Rwandan genocide. So at the end of a legal battle lasting several years, this lawyer from Martinique was relatively satisfied when Bagosora was convicted in effect only for “omissions”. Bagosora also escaped a life sentence, the maximum penalty at the UN’s ICTR which  closes its doors this December.     How did Constant come to be...

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    Hirondelle News Agency, Covering the ICTR All the Way
    Hirondelle News

    Throughout nearly 20 years of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which officially closed on Tuesday, its work has been covered by a small but important project of Fondation Hirondelle, the Hirondelle News Agency in Arusha, Tanzania. Based at the ICTR's headquarters, it provided daily news and analysis in four languages (French, English, Swahili and the Rwandan language Kinyarwanda). Hirondelle News Agency is the only media outlet to have done so on a regular basis.  Hirondelle News Agency's archives provide an important independent record of the ICTR’s work. The Agency’s...

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