|HOW TO REFORM THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL
AUF Shares the Position of HRW with regard to the ICTR
Below: Excerpt for Human Rights Watch Report on the ICTR
Title: Promote accountability in Africa
The costs of impunity for human rights abuses in Africa are manifest in the ongoing cycles of violence against civilians, huge refugee flows, destabilization of neighboring countries, economic devastation, and, ultimately, new waves of violence and repression. Two immediate situations requiring attention are the Great Lakes region of central Africa and Sierra Leone.
The United States has been a strong supporter of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), established to address the Rwandan genocide. However, atrocities continue to be perpetrated in conflicts linked to that genocide, while the ICTR's mandate is limited to crimes committed before 1995.
The slaughter of Hutu refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1996-97, the current ethnic tensions in the Kivu provinces of the DRC, and the ethnic killings in Burundi, are all interlinked. To show that genocide and crimes against humanity will be punished no matter where or by whom they are committed, the United States should support the creation of an international jurisdiction to try atrocities from Burundi, the DRC, and Rwanda since 1994, which would reinforce the impact of judgments from the ICTR.
These crimes should be prosecuted, either within separate but coordinating divisions that draw on existing jurisprudence created by the ICTR and with recourse to the same appeals chamber, or within a new international tribunal. Like the Yugoslavia war crimes court, these tribunals should have no fixed date for the end of their mandates. By creating a jurisdiction able to prosecute crimes not yet committed as well as those of the past, the world would deliver a clear warning to extremists of all kinds to resist temptation.
Such a strategy also demands that the United States work to change the mandate of the ICTR so that it has ongoing jurisdiction for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since December 31, 1994. In addition, the United States should encourage the ICTR to fulfill its current mandate by also prosecuting crimes against humanity committed in the process of ending the genocide by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the dominant force in the current government.