Human Rights Watch has just published the definitive tome on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. “Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity” meticulously documents all of the cases, convictions, precedents set by the court. In this 522-page beast, HRW even details which local bars the ICTR justices frequent.
This digest is an excellent follow up to Alison des Forge’s, “Leave None to Tell the Story”, giving HRW a monopoly on all exhaustive accounts surrounding the Rwandan genocide. Before embarking on the body of its legal content, the book uses its dedication to des Forge to indict the current regime in Kigali and highlight the shortcomings of the court:
Despite having documented the killings of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans during the genocide, Alison drew the wrath of the current Rwandan government by insisting on justice not only for those responsible for the genocide but also for those in the Rwandan Patriotic Forces (RPF), the precursor to today’s government, who were themselves responsible for serious crimes. Although the RPF defeated the genocidal regime, Alison believed passionately that senior RPF officials should also be held to account for the crimes that they directed or tolerated, including the murder of up to 30,000 people during and just after the genocide. To date, the ICTR and Rwandan authorities have rarely pursued these cases and even then only in a way that downplayed the nature of the crime and the involvement of senior level officials.
In memory of des Forges, HRW’s report mixes serious academic scholarship with refreshing defiance. This piece will undoubtedly be remembered as a cannon. You can read the report for free online, or, if you a purchase a copy it is thick enough to use a weapon.