By Ms. J. Abdullé.
On 19 June 2015, His Excellency Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals delivered a lecture in the Historical Reading Room of the Peace Palace, on the topic The Contribution of the ICTR to the Struggles against Impunity. This lecture was organized by the African Association of International Law (AAIL) and the African Foundation for International Law (AFIL) and hosted by The Hague Academy of International Law, as part of AAIL-AFIL Distinguished Lecture Series.
In his lecture, Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow reviewed the work of the ICTR, focusing on its challenges, achievements, the impact of its jurisprudence on Rwanda and the overall contribution of the ICTR on the global struggle for criminal justice and accountability. Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow explained that so far, the ICTR has indicted 93 high level personalities and all the indictments were based on pre-determined objective criteria, which was made public by the tribunal. The objective criteria focused on the status of the offender, the nature of the offense and the extent of participation.
According to Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow, the ICTR has improved the quality of international criminal jurisprudence, namely because the tribunal was the first to interpret the Genocide Convention (1948), taking judicial notice of genocide, interpreting and defining genocide rape, freedom of speech, hate speech, and public incitement to violence. The Tribunal considered sexual violence for instance as an international crime where rape was broadly interpreted and it led to the first conviction of a woman for rape.
With respect to Rwanda, Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow noted that the ICTR has also assisted in the reconstruction of the Rwandan legal system, where it ensured the legal system met the requirements to transfer cases of those indicted, such as the creation of witness protection. Also the referral of cases to Rwanda opened the door for other countries to extradite Rwandan fugitives back to the country and it leaves the country with resources and a network of information sources on the ICTR and international criminal law.
Mr. Justice Hassan B. Jallow, concluded that, the legacy of the ICTR is connected to the techniques as well as the quality of the prosecutorial, defense and judicial expertise that were used during its mandate. Also, the success of the ICTR was dependent on the importance of involving the local community to assist in the process of prosecuting such crimes.