Prosecutor v. Karemera, Ngirumpatse, & Nzirorera. Case No. ICTR-98-44-AR73(C). Decision on Prosecutor's Interlocutory Appeal of Decision on Judicial Notice. At <http://www.ictr.org>.
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Appeals Chamber, June 16, 2006.
In an interlocutory appeal in Prosecutor v. Karemera, the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) held that the commission of genocide against the Tutsis in 1994 is a “fact of common knowledge” of which trial chambers must take judicial notice (Appeals Decision, paras. 35, 38). The decision represents a significant reversal in ICTR practice: although some trial chambers have been willing to take notice of “widespread and systematic attacks” against Tutsis in Rwanda, they have uniformly insisted that the question of whether the attacks amounted to genocide is so fundamental that formal proof is required.
As noted in the indictment, Edouard Karemera and Jospeh Nzirorera were minister-level officials in the Rwanda’ interim government (Indictment, paras. 1, 3) and served, along with Mathieu Ngirumpatse, as the national executive leadership of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) (id., para. 9). They are charged with, inter alia, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, genocide, and—alternatively—complicity in genocide (id.). The prosecution alleges that they created, recruited, and organized the Interahamwe, the vicious youth wing of the MRND; provided members of the Interahamwe with weapons and military training; and helped formulate and implement policies of the interim government of April 8, 1994, that were intended to incite, encourage, and abet killings of Tutsis (id., para. 14).