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UJ to host important conference on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

​​​​​​​University Announces ‘Legacy of the ICTR’ Conference​​​

During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, over 800 000 people were killed in 100 days. Following the genocide, which was largely committed by the ethnic Hutus against the minority Tutsis, the United Nations established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (‘ICTR’) with a view to hold accountable the perpetrators of this atrocity. Pursuant to this, 95 individuals were indicted on international crimes including crimes against humanity and genocide. The ICTR is reaching a close of its work and is expected to cease operations on 31 December 2014.


As the end date of the ICTR approaches, it becomes important to reflect on the accomplishments and shortfalls of the Tribunal” said Professor Hennie Strydom, National Research Foundation Chair in International at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). To this end, the University will host a conference on ‘The Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’. The conference will be held on 31 October – 1 November 2013 at the Madibeng Council Chambers at the University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park Campus.​

Professor Strydom reflects that “the ICTR has made a significant contribution to ending impunity for gross human rights violations on the African continent, particularly in the context of sexual violence against women. However, the ICTR continues to be marred with some difficulties. These concerns require critical reflection at this time so we can build on the legacy of the ICTR for the future of international criminal justice.”

The manner in which it is possible to move beyond the genocide and establish a new society will also be discussed at the conference. South Africa also has its own history of injustice and sought to address it through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Rwanda, a series of more informal judicial processes through gacaca courts were held. The differences between these domestic processes and the international criminal process will be a key theme of the conference.

“In light of the current controversy regarding African discontent with the International Criminal Court it is an important moment to reflect upon the Rwandan experience to draw inspiration for creative solutions for international criminal justice in Africa” said Professor Mia Swart, Professor of International Law at UJ.

The conference will have presentations by more than twenty high profile scholars, judges, prosecutors and defense counsel all reflecting on the ICTR’s contribution to justice and reconciliation in Rwanda, Africa, and beyond.

The Conference is co-hosted by the National Research Foundation Chair in International Law at the University, the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights, and International Law, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as well as the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Anyone interested in attending the conference should please RSVP to Dolores Joseph at Attendance at the conference is free.

About the NRF Chair in International Law, UJ

In 2013 the National Research Foundation (NRF) awarded the Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg a Research Chair in International Law. The research activities of the Chair are broadly informed by and related to the three pillars on which the United Nations is founded, namely international peace and security, economic and social development and the protection of human rights.


The South African Institute for Advanced, Constitutional, Public, Human Rights, and International Law (SAIFAC) is a research centre of the University of Johannesburg. SAIFAC is a leading research centre in South Africa producing advanced research in its focus area. To visit the SAIFAC website click here.​

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