The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [ICTR] has dealt with a number of gender-related issues in its ten years of existence. The Prosecutor has brought rape and sexual violence charges against a number of indictees, some of whom have been convicted of these crimes. The ICTR's decisions have advanced international legal understanding of the elements of crimes of sexual violence, and the linkages between such crimes as torture and rape. The ICTR has also received criticism because of its treatment of certain female witnesses, the Office of the Prosecutor's methods of investigation for sexual violence cases, and the dropping of or failure to include sexual violence charges in certain indictments. These positive and negative experiences provide valuable lessons for the International Criminal Court [ICC].
The ICTR's experience with gender-based crimes over the past ten years provides a number of important lessons for the ICC. The ICC is facing, and will continue to face, many of the same issues as the ICTR. An example of one of these similar issues is how to access, protect, and avoid re-traumatizing victims and witnesses, many of who live in relatively remote or rural places. As a result of lessons learned from the ICTR's history, those involved in the ICC negotiations worked to codify positive approaches to gendersensitive justice into the Rome Statute, the ICC's Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and the ICC's Elements of Crimes. It is in this way that the ICTR's experiences are reflected in the ICC's policies and procedures. The test will be whether such codification of lessons learned has the intended result of ensuring gender-sensitive justice. We cannot expect that the ICC will operate in a perfectly sensitive manner at all times: it will undoubtedly face new challenges not faced by the ICTR and other tribunals, and will make some missteps along the way. However, given that the ICC can rely on the lessons of the ICTR and other tribunals on the conduct of gendersensitive investigations and prosecutions, it should experience fewer problems than its predecessor tribunals.