Unictr - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Challenging Impunity
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
You are here: About ICTR » General Information  

General Information


Recognizing that serious violations of humanitarian law were committed in Rwanda, and acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by resolution 955 of 8 November 1994. The purpose of this measure is to contribute to the process of national reconciliation in Rwanda and to the maintenance of peace in the region. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established for the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994. It may also deal with the prosecution of Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations of international law committed in the territory of neighbouring States during the same period.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is governed by its Statute, which is annexed to Security Council Resolution 955. The Rules of Procedure and Evidence, which the Judges adopted in accordance with Article 14 of the Statute, establish the necessary framework for the functioning of the judicial system. The Tribunal consists of three organs: the Chambers and the Appeals Chamber; the Office of the Prosecutor, in charge of investigations and prosecutions; and the Registry, responsible for providing overall judicial and administrative support to the Chambers and the Prosecutor.

By resolution 977 of 22 February 1995, the Security Council decided that the seat of the Tribunal would be located in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania.


RATIONE MATERIAE: genocide, crimes against humanity, violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II shall be punish-able;

RATIONE TEMPORIS: crimes committed between 1 January and 31 December 1994;

RATIONE PERSONAE ET RATIONE LOCI: crimes committed by Rwandans in the territory of Rwanda and in the territory of neighboring States, as well as non-Rwandan citizens for crimes committed in Rwanda.

Budget and Staff

For biennium 2010-2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved initial appropriations for ICTR of $245,295,800 gross ($227,246,500 net) and authorized 693 posts for 2010 and 628 posts for 2011. 77 nationalities are represented at the Tribunal (Arusha, Kigali, the Hague and New York).

Achievements of the ICTR (ICTR Completion Strategy)

Relevance for Peace and Justice

  • NEVER AGAIN. African countries must absorb the lessons of the Rwanda genocide in order to avoid a repetition of the ultimate crime” on the continent. Weak institutions in many African countries have given rise to a culture of impunity, especially under dictatorships that will do anything to cling to power.

  • EVOLUTION OF POLITICAL AND LEGAL ACCOUNTABILITY. It is usually individuals in power or authority that can in practice commit genocide and crimes against humanity. This is the first time high-ranking individuals have been called to account before an international court of law for massive violations of human rights in Africa. The Tribunal’s work sends a strong message to Africa’s leaders and warlords. By delivering the first-ever verdicts in relation to genocide by an international court, the ICTR is providing an example to be followed in other parts of the world where these kinds of crimes have also been committed.

  • COOPERATION OF AFRICAN COUNTRIES. The accused persons in the custody of the Tribunal in Arusha have been arrested and transferred from more than 15 countries. Several countries in Africa have increasingly cooperated with the Tribunal in the discharge of its mandate. There appears to have been a progressive realization in these countries that they cannot allow fugitives from international justice in their domain.

  • ENFORCEMENT OF PRISON SENTENCES. The Tribunal prefers, to the extent possible, enforcement of its sentences in Africa, for socio-cultural reasons. This will also have greater deterrent effect in the continent. By providing jails for the Tribunal’s genocide convicts, African countries would be demonstrating a serious commitment to the rule of law. On 12 February 1999, the Republic of Mali became the first country to sign an agreement with the ICTR to provide prison facilities for the enforcement of the Tribunal’s sentences. A similar agreement was signed with Benin on 26 August 1999. Todate, the ICTR has signed agreements with Senegal, Swaziland, Rwanda, Itali, France and Sweden. Negotiations with other African countries are continuing.

  • POLITICAL, MORAL AND MATERIAL SUPPORT by African countries for the court is essential. Much depends upon the ultimate success or failure of the ICTR because it is dealing with crimes committed in Africa, with more than 500,000 victims. African countries and Governments should make the point that the lives of these victims are as important as those of victims of mass atrocities everywhere by giving a higher profile to the work of the International Tribunal for Rwanda. The Tribunal’s work is providing important precedents for the future International Criminal Court and various national jurisdictions. It is making a fundamental contribution to international peace and justice in the twenty-first century