The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established by UN Security Council Resolution 955 (1994) as a response to serious violations of humanitarian law committed in Rwanda and neighbouring states, and the threat to peace and security which they posed.
The ICTR has authority to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II, committed between 1 January and 31 December 1994 by Rwandans in the territory of Rwanda and in the territory of neighbouring States, as well as non-Rwandan citizens for crimes committed in Rwanda.
The ICTR delivered the first ever decision by an international tribunal on the crime of genocide and convicted, for the first time, a former head of state for the crime of genocide. In addition, the case law of the Tribunal has particularly contributed to the treatment of sexual offences in international criminal law.
The ICTR was established to respond to the particular circumstances in Rwanda as an ad hoc measure to contribute to the restoration and maintenance of peace. As it had completed much of its work, and as the time for its closure approached, it was acknowledged that there was a need to establish an ad hoc mechanism to carry out a number of essential functions of the ICTR, which will diminish over time. Therefore, the United Nations Security Council decided, by resolution 1966 (2010) adopted on 22 December 2010, to replace ICTR with a Residual Mechanism which took over a number of functions of the ICTR with effect on 1 July 2012. This mechanism is called the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), and it also took over a number of the functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, with effect on 1 July 2013. The purpose of MICT is to take over any essential competences and functions of the ICTR in relation to all completed cases and any cases that may be brought before it (MICT has, the power to prosecute, supervise sentences, deal with the protection of witnesses, issue and receive requests for co-operation and assistance and to manage archives).