Mock Trials of Genocidaires – links & resources
I’ve put together links to online material that can give you more insight into the effort to prosecute and defend those accused of genocide, war crimes, and other atrocities. Most of the links are about the international tribunal and the prosecution of key people accused of organizing and leading the genocide. There are bigger fish than we’re reading about in Hatzfeld’s Machete Season but I think they can be helpful nonetheless. I’ve grouped the links as follows:
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda – the legal framework for the tribunal
Defending Genocidaires – genocide trials from the perspective of lawyers for the defense
Prosecuting Genocidaires – genocide trials from the perspective of prosecutors
By Tarik Kafala
21 October 2009
The trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic at The Hague throws a renewed spotlight on the prosecution of war crimes.
But what exactly are war crimes? What body of laws do they refer to and who has the right to try a suspect for such crimes?
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (click on link to go to court website)
by Chris Maina Peter
International Review of the Red Cross
The classification of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity (not available)
03 Jul 2007
Article written in reference to the classification of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, as well as the necessity of such legal categorization and the limitations of domestic law related to such egregious violations.
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Home page for the Tribunal)
Fact Sheet No. 1 | Status of Cases
Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994
Adopted by Security Council resolution 955 (1994) of 8 November 1994
Amended by Security Council resolutions 1165 (1998) of 30 April 1998 , 1329 (2000) of 30 November 2000, 1411 (2002) of 17 May 2002 and 1431 (2002) of 14 August 2002
Having been established by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994 (hereinafter referred to as "the International Tribunal for Rwanda") shall function in accordance with the provisions of the present Statute.
Competence of the International Tribunal for Rwanda
The International Tribunal for Rwanda shall have the power to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994, in accordance with the provisions of the present Statute.
1. The International Tribunal for Rwanda shall have the power to prosecute persons committing genocide as defined in paragraph 2 of this article or of committing any of the other acts enumerated in paragraph 3 of this article.
2. Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
( a ) Killing members of the group;
( b ) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
( c ) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
( d ) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
( e ) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
3. The following acts shall be punishable:
( a ) Genocide;
( b ) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
( c ) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
( d ) Attempt to commit genocide;
( e ) Complicity in genocide.
Crimes against humanity
The International Tribunal for Rwanda shall have the power to prosecute persons responsible for the following crimes when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population on national, political, ethnic, racial or religious grounds:
( a ) Murder;
( b ) Extermination;
( c ) Enslavement;
( d ) Deportation;
( e ) Imprisonment ;
( f ) Torture;
( g ) Rape;
( h ) Persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds;
( i ) Other inhumane acts.
Violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and
of Additional Protocol II
The International Tribunal for Rwanda shall have the power to prosecute persons committing or ordering to be committed serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the Protection of War Victims, and of Additional Protocol II thereto of 8 June 1977. These violations shall include, but shall not be limited to:
( a ) Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment such as torture, mutilation or any form of corporal punishment;
( b ) Collective punishments;
( c ) Taking of hostages;
( d ) Acts of terrorism;
( e ) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault;
( f ) Pillage;
( g ) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples;
( h ) Threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.
The International Tribunal for Rwanda shall have jurisdiction over natural persons pursuant to the provisions of the present Statute.
Individual criminal responsibility
1. A person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of a crime referred to in articles 2 to 4 of the present Statute, shall be individually responsible for the crime.
2. The official position of any accused person, whether as Head of State or Government or as a responsible Government official, shall not relieve such person of criminal responsibility nor mitigate punishment.
3. The fact that any of the acts referred to in articles 2 to 4 of the present Statute was committed by a subordinate does not relieve his or her superior of criminal responsibility if he or she knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators thereof.
4. The fact that an accused person acted pursuant to an order of a Government or of a superior shall not relieve him or her of criminal responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the International Tribunal for Rwanda determines that justice so requires.
Conference on the ICTR legacy from the defence perspective, 14-16 Nov. 2009, The Hague
The United Nations International criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has a few years to go
but discussions about its legacy for the International Criminal Law have started. While some
perceive that Tribunal as a major advancement, others, including defence lawyers who have
been defending genocide suspects for the last fourteen years, think that the ICTR and other ad
hoc courts, have created a regrettable precedent. For Kenyan defence attorney Kennedy Ogetto
‘the ICTR has been a big mistake’. For his colleague Charles Taku, from Cameroon, the ICTR is a
huge cover-up, and is guilty of complicity in the current ‘legal genocide against the Hutu’. Majority
of speakers blamed the ICTR for guaranteeing impunity to the former rebels now in control
of power in Rwanda. These views, and many others, were expressed during the 14-16 November
2009 self-sponsored conference organised in The Hague, the Netherlands, by defence attorneys.
The more or less 120 people, Rwandans, but also foreigners coming from all over the world listened
to presentations by the lawyers, scholars and experts. This short essay attempts to bring
together the main issues that were discussed, namely the illegality of the ICTR, the externallyengineered
distortion of truth, the conspiracy theory that serves as the cornerstone of the prosecution’s
strategy, witness-related issues, the fate of the ICTR archives, and post-judgement issues.
by Anthony D' Amato
Chicago Journal of International Law 459-469 (2000)
In August 1997, I was asked to represent Dr. Milan Kovacevic, a Bosnian Serb anesthesiologist
who had been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia ("ICTY") for
complicity in genocide. Had he lived through it, his trial would have been the first by the ICTY
for the crime of genocide. I would like to describe some of the tribulations of defending clients
accused of grave humanitarian offenses in the ICTY. Perhaps by relating stories of my
experiences there, some insights for reform can be drawn.
PROSECUTORS’ COLLOQUIUM - 25 -27 November 2004
Deputy Prosecutor General of Rwanda
For decades that before 1994, our country had known only regimes that had built their power on
the massive violation of human rights, discrimination and divisions of the people of Rwanda. I
have been asked to discuss a topic entitled “ Rwanda 10 years after the genocide: creating
conditions for justice and reconciliation”. I will give a brief background of the subject matter,
prior to 1994 so that we may get a basic understanding of what I will be talking about today.
As you may know, a post genocide Rwanda had difficult questions to answer and difficult choices
to make in order to restore order.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee | Report II/2002
Although Rwanda is outside of the geographical scope of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the organization decided to send a fact-finding mission to study the efforts of the government of
Rwanda to promote reconciliation after the 1994 genocide. A second aim of the mission was to evaluate the functioning of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which was established by
the UN Security Council in 1994.
by Fran Pilch
USAFA Journal of Legal Studies, Spring 2003
Srebrenica, a small town in the northeastern corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina, represents to many the turning point in the war in Bosnia. Declared a “safe haven” by a United Nations Security Council Resolution in 1993, Srebrenica became a focal point of controversy and collective guilt when it was overrun by the Serb Army in July 1995, an event which ultimately led to the massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys during nine days of horror after its occupation by the Serbs. It is widely acknowledged that United Nations policies on the ground during the Bosnian conflict represented moral and strategic failure on the part of the international community; the battleground after the Dayton Accords of 1995 shifted to the courtroom. On August 2, 2001, Trial Chamber 1 of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) rendered its judgement in Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic. The Trial Chamber found Krstic guilty of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This was the first conviction of the crime of genocide rendered by the ICTY, and Krstic is the highest-ranking person to be charged and convicted to date for events surrounding the fall of Srebrenica. His conviction for genocide is therefore a landmark in international humanitarian and human rights law, and has already had great implications for subsequent ICTY proceedings, notably the case against Slobodan Milosevic. The fall of Srebrenica and its aftermath, the case against Krstic, and the implications of this case for the future of international humanitarian law are the subjects of this paper.
By Samantha Power
The New York Review of Books
Volume 50, Number 1 · January 16, 2003