article
13 June 2005 by our correspondent

When ICTR judges handed down a life sentence to the former Minister of Higher Education, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, they based their decision in the main on the testimony of three witnesses. All claimed that they had seen Kamuhanda on 12 April 1994 in the protestant parish of Gikomero, thirty kilometres from Kigali. The judgement states that Kamuhanda had given the signal to start massacring the Tutsis in Gikomero. On appeal, one witness retracted his testimony.

article
23 May 2005 by Mary Kimani

Since trials began at the gacaca courts on 10 March, over 600 verdicts have been delivered. This is an impressive result, but one that has not been achieved easily. Attendance is proving a constant problem. For a hearing to be valid, the courts require a quorum of at least nine judges and a hundred members of the community. The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has also signalled a new problem: thousands of Rwandans have started fleeing to neighbouring countries to avoid standing trial.

article
23 May 2005 by Emmanuel Chicon

The second "Rwandan" trial that opened in Brussels on 9 May failed to attract the crowd of impassioned spectators who had gathered for the judgement of the Butare Four in 2001. This time, two small-time businessmen appeared in the dock, a successful beer wholesaler and his half-brother, the patron of a street bar and local bus company. Both are accused of actively participating in the execution of the genocide in the prefecture of Kibungo.

article
23 May 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

Of the 17 charges in the Kosovo indictment against Slobodan Milosevic, the massacre at Racak is the only crime that took place before the NATO bombings of May 1999. At his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the former Serb president is trying to prove that he was fighting a just war in Kosovo against insurgents and terrorists.

article
09 May 2005 by KELVIN LEWIS

In April, the trial of three ex-members of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) - the ousted military junta that ruled Sierra Leone in 1997- 1998 and returned to invade Freetown in 1999 - opened at the new chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The three recently arrived judges were faced with a number of new challenges in court, including the decision by all three defence counsel to stop defending their clients in protest at the suspension of one of their investigators (see inset).

article
09 May 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

On 9 May, four years after the trial of the "Butare four", Belgium reopened the Rwandan genocide file with the trial of two businessmen from Kibungo, Étienne Nzabonimana and Samuel Ndashikirwa. Other proceedings are expected to follow, including the long-awaited trial of Major Bernard Ntuyahaga, suspected of involvement in the death of ten Belgian peacekeepers in Kigali on 7 April 1994. But the most secret and spectacular of all is the pending trial of a certain Ephrem Nkezabera, former banker and a member of the national committee of the Interahamwe militia.

article
25 April 2005 by ARNAUD GRELLIER

On 19 April, the Spanish Supreme Court sentenced former Argentine naval captain Adolfo Scilingo to 640 years' imprisonment for crimes against humanity committed during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. This landmark conviction of a foreign national for crimes committed outside Spain's borders endorses the Spanish government's new stance in favour of universal jurisdiction.

article
25 April 2005 by Mary Kimani

Within two weeks of Gacaca restarting its operations in March, three of the community courts have summoned three high Rwandan dignitaries - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, Minister of Defense General Marcel Gatsinzi, and the prefect of Ruhengeri province in northern Rwanda, Boniface Rucagu - to answer charges relating to the 1994 genocide. Gatsinzi and Rucagu are directly accused of taking part in the genocide. The appearance of these important Hutu officials, who became members of the governing Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), has sparked debate. Some see it as the determination of ordinary Rwandans to prise answers from everyone, even from prominent Hutus who have been successfully integrated into the government. Others see it as a ploy to tarnish the reputation of the few remaining Hutu leaders.

article
25 April 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

When the defence case in the military trial opened on 11 April before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), there was an inevitable feeling of vertigo. "The first word that springs to mind is: Finally! Eleven years after the crimes, nine years after his arrest, eight years and three months after his arrival in Arusha, Colonel Bagosora can finally begin to explain himself. Raphaël Constant, the lawyer for the most famous Rwandan genocide suspect, is one of only two people in the courtroom to have followed the lengthy proceedings against Théoneste Bagosora and his three co-accused from the start.

article
11 April 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

The Security Council's referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been hailed as a giant step in the history of international humanitarian law. It has also been criticised for applying double standards by exempting the United States from the ICC's jurisdiction.

Pages