At closing time, has Rwanda tribunal delivered enough?

17 December 2014 by Clive Muhenga, Arusha (Tanzania)

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), officially closing at yearend, has contributed tremendously to the global fight against impunity. Over 20 years, it has issued 60 convictions and produced a treasure of jurisprudence. But it has not fulfilled its entire mandate, say analysts who point to a failure to prosecute former rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the country’s leading party.

ICTR plaque
Image caption: 
ICTR plaque (Flickr/adam_jones)

According to a March report by human rights watchdog FIDH: “The ICTR constitutes an important justice effort undertaken by an international community that had failed to mobilize to prevent genocide.” André Guichaoua, a French sociologist who gave testimony on the genocide’s sociopolitical context in most ICTR cases, also shares praise. “Despite its geographic isolation in the middle of Africa, the ICTR has made a huge contribution to a change in international public opinion on the issue of criminal justice in post-conflict contexts,” he told IJT.

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