In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

  • Introduction

International Law International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
Anne-Marie de Brouwer
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 March 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 March 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199796953-0177


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR, Tribunal, or Rwanda Tribunal) was set up in 1994 by UN Security Council Resolution 955 to deal with the suspects of the crimes that had taken place during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. As one of the pioneer tribunals in international criminal law—together with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and its predecessors at Nuremberg and Tokyo—it had to pave the way in almost all aspects in the field of international criminal justice. In terms of Substantive Law, the ICTR had to interpret the crimes over which it had jurisdiction, namely Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, and War Crimes, and link these crimes to the suspects under the different modes of liability that can be found in its Statute (see the section on Substantive Law). In terms of procedural law, the ICTR had to deal with issues such as arrest and transfer, investigation and case selection, state cooperation, trial and appeal, evidence, rights of the accused and of victims, and sentencing (see Procedural Law). Twenty-one years after having been set up, the ICTR completed all pending cases and closed its doors in December 2015, having issued its last appeal judgment in the Nyiramasuhuko, et al. (Butare) case on 14 December 2015. A total of seventy-three people had been prosecuted before the ICTR, many of whom were political and military leaders. A number of questions can be raised in the aftermath of the Tribunal: What did the ICTR achieve in the field of international criminal law, peace and reconciliation; what challenges did it come across; and what lessons can be learned from all of this (see, in particular, Contributions of the ICTR)? All the above themes and questions, and the literature that goes with them, are addressed in this article.

Substantive Law

How the ICTR dealt with the interpretation of the core crimes over which it had jurisdiction—Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, and War Crimes—and how these were linked to the suspects of these crimes are the topics of concern in this section on substantive law.

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