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President Joensen addresses Members of the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee at International Tribunals Event

The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (“ICTR”), Judge Vagn Joensen, alongside Mr. Stephen Mathias, Assistant-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, and Judge Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”) and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals addressed Members of the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee at an event reflecting on the legacy of the ICTR and ICTY.

In his address, Judge Joensen discussed the legacy that the Tribunal will leave for posterity, particularly the substantial body of jurisprudence it helped to create over the past two decades and emphasised that the ICTR has, through its judgements, codified various facets of international criminal law and international humanitarian law that were, at the time of its creation in 1994, either undeveloped or non-existent. President Joensen emphasised that the ICTR has been at the forefront of many “firsts”, including the first conviction by an international court for the crime of genocide, the first conviction for rape and sexual violence as a form of genocide by an international court, and the first Court to hand down a judgement against a Head of Government since the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals.

In providing his view on the legacy of the ICTR, President Joensen concluded by stating “that the ICTR’s legacy is made up of the voice it provided to the countless victims and survivors of the Rwandan Genocide, the vast contributions it made to the development of international law, and the initiatives it created to ensure that the world it left behind was stronger and better equipped to continue and hopefully, someday soon, end the fight against impunity once and for all”.

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