ICTR International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

UN Entity Layer: 
Security Council

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is a United Nations (UN) court of law prosecuting individuals for genocide and other mass atrocities that occurred in the territory Rwanda from January 1, 1994 to December 31, 1994 [1]. The ICTY was established by the Security Council on November 8, 1994 by Resolution 955 in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter[2].

Crimes of Sexual Violence

In the Rwandan conflict, which primarily involved atrocities committed against the dominant Tutsi minority by the Hutu majority, it is claimed that a deliberate strategy of sexual violence against Tutsi women was employed. In total, an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 rapes occurred. Systematic mass rape also included inadvertent as well as knowing and willful infection of the HIV/AIDS virus to exterminate the Tutsi population. While the ICTR's statute recognized and codified rape as a crime against humanity, the ICTR's Akayesu decision ruled for the first time that rape, if committed with the intention to destroy a group, could be considered a component of genocide. Akayesu also marked the first time an international court punished sexual violence in a civil war.

Despite the ICTR's accomplishments in addressing sexual violence, prosecutions have been hampered. For example, female witnesses report a lack of confidentiality, discovering that their stories become publicly known or they become victims of anonymous threats and harassment. The ICTR has responded by supporting gender parity, streamlining and gender-sensitive investigation, among other recommendations, through the development of best practices specifically targeting cases of sexual violence. However, in order to sufficiently hold violators accountable and provide victims adequate redress, it remains important that the ICTR continue and increase women's participation at all levels of the justice system. 

Source: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda 

Contact information

For more information, please visit the official ICTR website.