First Conviction for Genocide
September 2, 1998
With the conviction of Jean-Paul Akayesu, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) issues the world's first conviction, in an international tribunal, for genocide.
Akayesu was judged guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for acts he engaged in and oversaw as mayor of the Rwandan town of Taba. The ICTR was established in November 1994 in order to judge those responsible for the Rwandan genocide and other serious violations of international law either in Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between January 1 and December 31, 1994. The tribunal's jurisdiction covers genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. While these tribunals and the emerging International Criminal Court help establish legal precedents and investigate crimes within their jurisdictions, the punishment of genocide remains a difficult task.