International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Chronology
17 December 2003: In the Kamuhanda case, the Trial Chamber postpones the judgment, which was scheduled to be released December 18. It will now be issued on January 22, 2004.
17 December 2003: In the Military I case, the trial is adjourned until January 19, 2004.
15 December 2003: In the Government II case, the trial is adjourned until early 2004.
11 December 2003: In the Government I case, the trial is adjourned until January 19, 2004.
3 December 2003: In the Media I case, all three defendants are found guilty of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity (including extermination and persecution). Both Ferdinand Nahimana, a founding member or the RTLM radio station, and Hassan Ngeze, the owner and editor of the Hutu extremist newspaper Kangura, are sentenced to life imprisonment. The third defendant, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, also a founder RTLM, is sentenced to 35 years in prison. Barayagwiza's sentence was reduced from life in prison as compensation for abuses he suffered during his arrest and transfer to the Tribunal.
1 December 2003: In the Kajelijeli case, former mayor of Mukingo, Jevenal Kajelijeli, is found guilty of genocide, one count of crimes against humanity (extermination), and direct and public incitement to commit genocide. Kajelijeli receives life imprisonment for the first two counts, and 15 years for the third count. He was acquitted on six other charges against him.
1 December 2003: In the Government I case, the Prosecution accuses Defense Counsel of intimidating witnesses. Prosecutors claim that their witnesses felt threatened when Defense attorney Peter Robinson (USA) visited the safe house for protected witnesses unannounced. The witnesses claim they felt unsafe. They also feared that since Robinson was accompanied by an assistant, who hailed from the same region of Rwanda as the witnesses, their identities might be revealed. Robinson defends his actions saying that he was with a team from the Prosecution's Witness and Support Unit. The Chamber ruled that no one may visit the other side's witnesses without that party's knowledge.
28 November 2003: In the Ndindabahizi case, the Defense rests. Closing arguments will begin on February 19.
27 November 2003: The Government I case begins. Mathieu Ngirumpatse, the former Minister of Justice; Edouard Karemera, the former Minister of Internal Affairs; Joseph Nzirorera, the former Minister of Public Works and former Speaker of the Interim National Assembly; and Andr� Rwamakuba, the former Minister of Primary and Secondary Education are all charged with conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.
25 November 2003: In the Gacumbitsi case, the Defense rests.
25 November 2003: In the Zigiranyirazo case, Protais Zigiranyirazo pleads not guilty to additional charges of genocide and crimes against. Zigiranyirazo pled not guilty in 2001 to two initial counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination). His indictment was recently amended to include the three new charges.
24 November 2003: News reports say that the ICTR and ICTY have been forced to borrow $41 million from the UN Peacekeeping budget, creating further problems there. 123 UN member nations are behind on their payments toward the budgets of the ICTY and ICTR, resulting in a $96 million shortage. Diplomats complain that they are frustrated with the slow pace of the Tribunals and their hefty price tag. Each country's full contribution is due by the end of January, 2004.
19 November 2003: The United States re-launches its reward campaign aimed at capturing the ICTR's most wanted fugitive. The U.S. is offering up to $5 million in rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any of the 10 indictees currently still at large. The announcement comes ahead of the U.S. war crimes envoy's official discussions with Kenyan officials about the ICTR's top fugitive, Felicien Kabuga, who is believed to be hiding in Kenya. Since the reward was announced last year, four fugitives have been turned over to the Tribunal.
19 November 2003: Judge Florence Mumba (Zambia) is sworn in as a judge for the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY and ICTR. She replaces Judge David Hunt (Australia) who left on November 17. Judge Mumba has been a trial judge at the ICTY since 1997.
13 November 2003: Chief Prosecutor Hassan Jallow and groups representing survivors of the Rwandan genocide say they are establishing new channels of communication aimed at resolving long-standing differences between the ICTR and survivors. In 2002, genocide survivor organizations severed ties with the ICTR accusing the tribunal of mistreating witnesses, employing genocide suspects at the court, and generally operating at a very slow pace. Since then, the court has had trouble convincing genocide survivors to testify, leading to the adjournment of some trials.
6 November 2003: The Bizimungu et al. case, formerly known as Government II, begins. Four former ministers from the Interim Government of Rwanda-Casimir Bizimungu (Health), Justin Mugenzi (Trade and Industry), Jer�me Bicamumpaka (Foreign Affairs), and Prosper Mugiraneza (Civil Service)-are accused of atrocities. All four are charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, rape) and violations of Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions (violence to life or person, outrages on personal dignity).
3 November 2003: The Bizimungu et al. case, formerly known as Government II, originally scheduled to begin today, is postponed until 6 November due to the delayed arrival in Arusha of key members of the defense team.
3 November 2003: The Military I case resumes with the Defense presenting its case.
30 October 2003: The Tribunal announces plans to create video links connecting the Tribunal in Arusha with the Hague and Kigali, Rwanda. The satellite link, planned to be working by the end of the year, will allow witnesses to give testimony by video rather than having to travel to Tanzania. The Tribunal says it also opens the possibility of televising court proceedings in Rwanda.
30 October 2003: The start of the Government I trial, originally scheduled for November 3, had been postponed until November 26. The delay will allow the Defense to complete investigations regarding Prosecution witnesses.
27 October 2003: Security Council Resolution 1512 increases the number of ad litem judges allowed to serve on the Tribunal at any one time from four to nine. The resolutions are in response to a September request from the Tribunal. Three new ad litem judges are sworn in today: Judge Flavia Lattanzi (Italy), Judge Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroon), and Judge Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya). The three had been appointed in October. The fourth new ad litem judge, Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda) was sworn in in September.
27 October 2003: In the Ndindabahizi case, the Defense begins presenting its case.
21 October 2003: In the Gacumbitsi case, the trial is adjourned until mid-November due to the extended absence of one of the judges. Under Article 15 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, trials can continue in the absence of one of the judges as long as the absence does not exceed five days. Judge Reddy left for Fiji last week for a family matter. The trial has been adjourned as it is clear he will not return before the five day limit.
16 October 2003: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appoints four ad litem judges to the ICTR: Ms. Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda), Mr. Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya), Ms. Flavia Lattanzi (Italy), and Ms. Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroon). The appointment follows Security Council Resolution 1431 establishing a pool of 18 ad litem judges, of which up to four are allowed to serve on the Tribunal at any one time, in an effort to expedite cases.
9 October 2003: Chief Prosecutor for the ICTR, Hassan Jallow, announces that he is reviewing the ICTR's case load to determine "realistic" figures for when the work of the Tribunal is to be completed. He announces several strategies that the Office of the Prosecutor is taking to speed up the work of the Tribunal: (1) reviewing the cases of each accused awaiting trial in order to determine whether indictments against them should be suspended and referred to national jurisdictions; (2) accepting more guilty pleas through plea bargains in an attempt to reduce the number of those awaiting trial; (3) increasing its effort to use the Rules of Procedure and Evidence aimed at shortening trials; and (4) reviewing witnesses in order to avoid duplicating testimony of previous witnesses.
9 October 2003: The Security Council President confirms that the ICTR can fund the renovation of prison facilities in States that have concluded agreements with the UN to take in defendants sentenced by the Tribunal.
9 October 2003: ICTR President Judge Erik M�se tells the Security Council that the Tribunal needs to start looking at transferring lower priority cases to national jurisdictions in an attempt to speed up trials.
9 October 2003: ICTR President Judge Erik M�se addresses the Security Council. In presenting the ICTR annual report, M�se stresses the need for the Tribunal to be granted additional ad litem judges in order to achieve it's mandated by 2008. He requests that the number of ad litem judges be increased from four to nine, which will enable the Tribunal to create six permanent Trial Chambers, instead of the current three.
6 October 2003: The Gacumbitsi case resumes.
3 October 2003: The Military I case is adjourned until November 3.
3 October 2003: Newly appointed Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, officially takes up his duties at the ICTR.
1 October 2003: In the Butare case, the Appeals Chamber rules that the case will continue where it left off last March. A motion filed by five of the defense attorneys requested that the trial begin from scratch after one of the three judges, Judge Winston Churchill Mantazima Maqutu (Lesotho), was not re-elected to the court. A clause introduced to Tribunal regulations last May allows for the continuation of a trial in the event one of the judges is not re-elected.
29 September 2003: In the Ndindabahizi case, the Prosecution rests.
22 September 2003: The Ndindabahizi case resumes.
18 September 2003: The Ndindabahizi case is adjourned for lack of witnesses.
14 September 2003: Carla del Ponte officially hands over the office of Chief Prosecutor for the ICTR to Hassan Jallow. The UN Security Council approved Jallow as del Ponte's successor last month.
9 September 2003: In the Military I case, Trial Chamber I denies defense counsel's motion to separate Ntabakuze's case from that of his co-defendants.
5 September 2003: In the Military I case, the defense counsel for Major Aloys Ntabakuze files a motion to separate Ntabakuze's case from that of his co-defendants. The defense counsel says that the joint trial is a "conflict of interests." Ntabakuze is being tried alongside Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, General Gratien Kabiligi, and Lt. Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva.
5 September 2003: The Prosecutor in the Military I case announces that she will not be finished presenting evidence until June 2004. The Prosecution had previously planned on wrapping up its case by the end of 2003.
4 September 2003: The Military I case resumes.
4 September 2003: The UN Security Council approves the appointment of Judge Hassan Jallow (Gambia) as the new Chief Prosecutor for the ICTR.
3 September 2003: The Military I case is adjourned again for lack of witnesses.
2 September 2003: The Tribunal announces that the Government I case is set to begin November 3, 2003. Government I is the joint trial of four former high-ranking Rwandan officials-Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former Minister of Justice; Edouard Karemera, former Minister of Internal Affairs; Joseph Nzirorera, former Minister of Public Works and former Speaker of the Interim National Assembly; Andr� Rwamakuba, former Minister of Primary and Secondary Education-charged with conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. All four have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
2 September 2003: In the Ndindabahizi case, the Prosecution says it will be able to present its entire case within one month.
2 September 2003: The Military I case resumes.
1 September 2003: The Military I case is adjourned after the Prosecution says it has met unforeseen difficulties in getting a hold of its witnesses.
1 September 2003: Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda) becomes the first ad litem judge to be sworn in at the ICTR. She was one of 18 judges elected by the UN General Assembly in June to serve in the non-permanent post.
1 September 2003: The Ndindabahizi case begins. Former Rwandan Minister of Finance Emamanuel Ndindabahizi is charged with genocide and two counts of crimes against humanity (extermination and murder). Ndindabahizi plead not guilty to all charges in October 2001.
29 August 2003: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan nominates Judge Hassan Jallow (Gambia) as the new Chief Prosecutor for the ICTR. Jallow is currently a Judge at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
28 August 2003: The UN Security Council votes to remove Carla del Ponte as Chief Prosecutor for the ICTR. Del Ponte retains her post as Chief Prosecutor for the ICTY.
28 August 2003: The Kamuhanda case closes.
27 August 2003: In the Kamuhanda case, the Prosecution ends its closing arguments by asking for the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Former Rwandan Education Minister Jean de Dieu Kamahunda is charged with eight counts, including genocide, complicity in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity (rape, extermination, inhumane acts, murder).
22 August 2003: The Media case closes after three years. A decision is expected by the end of the year or early 2004. Defense counsel for the third defendant, radio-television station co-founder Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, ends closing arguments arguing his client is innocent. Barayagwiza has boycotted the entire trial, refusing to recognize the court or his attorney. The attorney for his co-defendant, former newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze, claims that Ngeze was also innocent.
22 August 2003: Judge Khalida Rachid Kahn (Pakistan) is sworn in as a permanent judge for the ICTR.
20 August 2003: In the Media case, the Defense begins its closing arguments. The Defense for the first of three defendants, radio-television station co-founder Ferdinand Nahimana, says that there is no need to call defense witnesses because the prosecution has not proven its case. The Defense asks for acquittal on all charges.
19 August 2003: In the Media case, the Prosecution ends its closing arguments by asking for life imprisonment for all three accused.
18 August 2003: The Prosecution begins its closing arguments in the Media case. Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, and Hassan Ngeze are charged with varying crimes including conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide for their part in allegedly using radio broadcasts and newspaper articles to urge Rwandans to kill at least half a million people. Last September, the three accused were acquitted of crimes against humanity (murder) after the prosecution acknowledged that it didn't have enough evidence to support the charge.
15 August 2003: Juvenal Rugambarara pleads not guilty to nine charges, including genocide, at his initial appearance before the Tribunal.
14 August 2003: After nearly three years, the Cyangugu case comes to a close. The Defense ends closing arguments by asking for the acquittal of Emmanuel Bagambiki, claiming that the Prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
13 August 2003: Indictee Juvenal Rugambarara is transferred from Uganda to ICTR detention in Arusha, Tanzania.
12 August 2003: In the Cyangugu case, the Defense begins its closing arguments. Attorneys for Andr� Ntagerura ask the Tribunal to acquit their client claiming he is being charged solely because he was a member of the Rwandan interim government following the genocide.
11 August 2003: In the Cyangugu case, the Prosecution ends its closing arguments by requesting that the three accused be sentenced to life imprisonment. Former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki, former Minister of Transport and Communications Andr� Ntagerura, and former military commander Lt. Samuel Imanishimwe are accused of a total of 20 genocide-related crimes related to organizing and supervising the massacres in Cyangugu, Rwanda in 1994.
11 August 2003: Rwandan doctor and ICTR indictee Juvenal Rugambarara is arrested in Uganda. Rugambarara faces nine charges including genocide.
29 July 2003: The Tribunal increases efforts to strengthen relations with the Rwandan Genocide Survivor Groups. The announcement follows five days of talks with groups in Rwanda aimed at giving greater support to witnesses and victims.
29 July 2003: UN officials say Secretary-General Kofi Annan has sent a letter to the Security Council requesting that it renew Carla del Ponte's term as Chief Prosecutor at the ICTY for another four years, but that it divide the post of Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY and ICTR and name a new prosecutor for the ICTR.
28 July 2003: Testimony begins in the Gacumbitsi case. Sylvestre Gacumbitsi is charged with genocide and three counts of crimes against humanity (extermination, murder, and rape).
28 July 2003: ICTR Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss her continued role at the ICTR. Mr. Annan says that, due to the level of work, it may be necessary for Ms. del Ponte to relinquish her position at the ICTR in order to focus completely on her role as Chief Prosecutor for the ICTY. Del Ponte's office issued a statement saying that separating the jobs would undermine the credibility of both Tribunals.
24 July 2003: Carla del Ponte says she will fight Rwanda's attempts to have her removed as Chief Prosecutor of the ICTR. According to del Ponte's office, the Rwandan Government is unhappy with her investigations of possible crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which fought those responsible for the 1994 genocide and has since become the regular army in Rwanda.
23 July 2003: A group of 60 non-governmental organizations operating within Rwanda send a joint letter to the United Nations saying that Carla del Ponte should not continue to be Chief Prosecutor of the ICTR. The letter claims that del Ponte has not done enough to bring to justice those responsible for the genocide in Rwanda.
18 July 2003: The Military I case is adjourned. Trial will resume 1 September 2003.
17 July 2003: The Prosecution in the Military I case says it will finish presenting evidence by the end of the year. The announcement surprised many trial observers who had previously believed the Prosecution would take two years to present its case.
14-16 July 2003: Closing arguments take place in the Kajelijeli case. The Prosecution asks the Tribunal to convict the accused and imprison him for life.
14 July 2003: The UN Secretary-General appoints Judge Khalida Rashid Khan (Pakistan) to the ICTR. Judge Khan replaces Judge Mansoor Ahmed (Pakistan) who resigned on 22 May 2003 for personal reasons. Judge Khan's appointment is effective from 7 July 2003 through 24 May 2007.
25 June 2003: The UN General Assembly elects 18 ad litem judges to the ICTR. Each is elected to a four-year term beginning today. The 18 will join the Tribunal's 16 permanent judges in an attempt to speed up proceedings and complete the work of the Tribunal by 2008.
17 June 2003: Judge In�s M�nica Weinberg de Roca of Argentina is sworn in as a judge of the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY and ICTR.
16 June 2003: Closing arguments in the "Cyangugu" are postponed until 12 August 2003. Closing arguments were scheduled for 23-27 June 2003, but both the Prosecution and Defense teams indicated they would not be ready at that time.
16 June 2003: The Military case resumes.
9 June 2003: A status conference is held in the Military case to determine whether the case, which is now being heard by a panel of three new judges, will resume from where it had been adjourned or be retried from the beginning.
6 June 2003: The Butare case, which was adjourned on 26 March 2003 and scheduled to resume on 9 June 2003, is adjourned indefinitely following changes affecting the composition of ICTR trial chambers.
6 June 2003: The Military case is re-assigned to Trial Chamber I composed of three new judges, two of whom were sworn in 26 May 2003. Although ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence were recently amended to allow for the continuation of a trial with a substitute judge, no provision was made for cases in which the entire panel is recomposed. Thus, it remains unclear whether or not the ICTR will have to retry the case in its entirety.
02 June 2003: The ICTR announces that several provisions of its Rules of Procedure and Evidence were amended at its 13th Plenary Session to facilitate and expedite proceedings.
26 May 2003: The Appeals Chamber confirms the conviction of Georges Rutaganda on charges of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. In addition, the Appeals Chamber enters two new convictions for murder as a violation of common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, marking the first time the ICTR convicts an accused for war crimes. However, the Chamber quashes the conviction for murder as a crime against humanity because of inconsistent evidence. Rutaganda’s sentence of life imprisonment is upheld.
26 May 2003: The permanent judges of the ICTR elect a new President and Vice-President. They name Judge Erik Møse of Norway as President and Judge Andrésia Vaz of Senegal as Vice-President of the Tribunal. Three new judges are also sworn in—Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca of Argentina, Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji, and Sergei Aleckseievich of Russia. The three were elected to the ICTR in January by the UN General Assembly.
20 May 2003: ICTR receives the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Human Rights Award, becoming the first international tribunal to be thus acknowledged. The award recognizes the Tribunal’s dedication to the due process of law and contribution to national reconciliation following the Rwandan genocide.
19 May 2003: The UN Security Council passes a resolution extending the terms of office for four ICTR judges to allow them to finish cases they had started. Judges Pavel Dolenc and Yakov Ostrovsky will continue in office until the end of the Cyangugu case. Judge Winston Maqutu will stay on through the end of the Kajelijeli and Kamuhanda cases and Judge Navanethem Pillay will stay on through the end of the Media case.
15 May 2003: The Court hands down judgments in two separate trials, sentencing former Rwandan Minister of Information, Eliézer Niyitegeka, to life in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity and Laurent Semanza to 25 years in prison for complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.
8 May 2003: The ICTR Registrar, Adama Dieng, urges the international community to create a special fund for the victims of the genocide in Rwanda. Speaking at the Second Ministerial Conference on Human Rights in Africa, the Registrar called for increased psychological and financial assistance for the victims, recognizing that the Tribunal’s work to deliver retributive justice doesn’t answer all individual victims’ needs.
28 April 2003: The President of the ICTR, Judge Navanethem Pillay, requests that the UN extend the terms of office of four ICTR judges, including her own, to allow them to complete cases that are expected to continue beyond 24 May 2003, the date on which the terms of office will expire.
28 April 2003: The Kamuhanda case resumes.
24 April 2003: The Kajelijeli case is adjourned until 28 May 2003.
14 April 2003: In the Kajelijeli case, the accused begins to testify in his own defense and denies participating in the killing of Tutsis in Northwest Rwanda. The accused has been charged with 11 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.
7 April 2003: In the Kajelijeli case, an expert witness begins his testimony in defense of the accused.
2 April 2003: In the Media case, accused Hassan Ngeze denies that he ever called on ethnic Hutus to unite and fight Tutsis in the run up to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
1 April 2003: In the Cyangugu case, accused Emmanuel Bagambiki denies playing any role in the death of 17 Tutsis killed in April 1994.
31 March 2003: The Kajelijeli case resumes.
26 March 2003: The Butare case is adjourned until June 9, 2003.
26 March 2003: In the Cyangugu case, accused Emmanuel Bagambiki begins testifying in his own defense.
24 March 2003: In the Media case, accused Hassan Ngeze begins testifying in his own defense.
14 March 2003: France signs agreement with UN allowing individuals convicted by the ICTR to serve their sentences in France.
13 March 2003: The Media case resumes after 10 days of interruption.
28 February 2003: During his initial appearance, Ildephonse Hategekimana pleads not guilty to 5 counts, including genocide and crimes against humanity for rape and other inhumane acts.
19 February 2003: In a unanimous verdict, medical doctor, Gérard Ntakirutimana, is convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity. His father, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a senior pastor with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Mugonero, is convicted of aiding and abetting in genocide. Gérard Ntakirutimana is sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and Elizaphan Ntakirutimana to 10 years imprisonment.
31 January 2003: UN General Assembly elects 11 permanent judges to serve on the ICTR for a 4 year term. The 11 judges include 7 re-elected judges and 4 new judges: Sergei Aleckseievich Egorov (Russian Federation), Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca (Argentina), Jai Ram Reddy (Fiji) and Mansoor Ahmed (Pakistan).