Background Information on the Justice and Reconciliation Process in Rwanda

by UN Outreach Program on the Rwanda Genocide
access: 04 April 2013

(C) Rwanda Partners

During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, up to one million people perished and as many as 250,000 women were raped, leaving the country’s population traumatized and its infrastructure decimated. Since then, Rwanda has embarked on an ambitious justice and reconciliation process with the ultimate aim of all Rwandans once again living side by side in peace.

Justice after the genocide

In the years following the genocide, more than 120,000 people were detained and accused of bearing criminal responsibility for their participation in the killings. To deal with such an overwhelming number of perpetrators, a judicial response was pursued on three levels:

– the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,

– the national court system, and

– the Gacaca courts.


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established by the United Nations Security Council on 8 November 1994. The Tribunal has a mandate to prosecute persons bearing great responsibility for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda between 1 January and 31 December 1994.

The first trial started in January 1997, and by December 2012, the Tribunal had completed the trial phase of its mandate. Of the 93 persons indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, 83 have been arrested with 75 of them prosecuted to judgement; 65 of those tried were found guilty and convicted, while 10 of the accused have been acquitted. Nine accused are still at large.

(Download full Information Sheet)

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