Bringing Fugitives of International Crimes to Justice: Extraditions/Prosecutions in Different Countries

Thijs B. Bouwknegt, John Bosco Siboyintore

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


The 1994 genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda is characterised by both its mass victimisation and its mass participation. A criminogenic policy by extremists to destroy Tutsi civilians as a group created an extraordinarily large body of perpetrators of mass killing and many other atrocities. Immediately after the genocide was stopped, both Rwandan and international efforts commenced to pursue the criminal prosecution of over 1,000,000 Rwandans. In Rwanda, special chambers in military and conventional courts set out to investigate, prosecute and judge Rwandans suspected of genocide-related crimes; internationally, the United Nations set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR). To complement and speed up the conventional accountability process, Rwanda also implemented a countrywide system of Inkiko Gacaca. Despite already bringing to justice over a million Rwandans, both in Rwanda and the UNICTR, many suspects had remained elusive abroad, or out of the UNICTR’s reach. Initially, some third countries (mainly in Europe and Canada) tried Rwandans for international crimes by application of the principle of universal jurisdiction. At the same time, Rwanda increasingly sought to try fugitives at home before the High Court Chamber for International Crimes and Cross Boarder Crimes (HCICC). This Article discusses Rwanda’s challenges in its process of seeking referral of cases from the UNICTR and extraditions from third states – including the Netherlands – and how those challenges were overcome with the financial and operational assistance of the Dutch Government.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jun 2021
Event25 years of Rwanda-Netherlands Justice Cooperation - Marriott Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda
Duration: 01 Jun 202103 Jun 2021


Conference25 years of Rwanda-Netherlands Justice Cooperation
Internet address


  • Rwanda
  • Genocide


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