Judicial Responses to Genocide: The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Rwandan Genocide Courts

by Paul J. Magnarella, University of Florida


Following Rwanda’s 1994 appalling eruption into genocide, the UN Security Council, having created an international criminal tribunal for humanitarian law violators in the European States of the former Yugoslavia, decided it could do no less for African Rwanda. Because the Rwandan conflict was internal rather than international, the statute for its tribunal complements rather than replicates that of its Yugoslavian counterpart. The statute for the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda contains a number of legal innovations; as a result, it will contribute significantly to the development of the humanitarian law of internal armed conflict. In addition to analyzing these innovations and the creation of the Tribunal, this article briefly discusses the background to the genocide and Rwanda’s own attempts at judicial justice.

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