On the occasion of the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda identifies with the important goal of the United Nations to eliminate all forms of racism and intolerance.
Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are in themselves abhorrent manifestations in human history and society. These vices have led, and still lead, in our world today to crimes that have, as the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has put it, “disfigured the face of humanity”.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established by the Security Council to bring to justice the persons responsible for the commission of these kinds of crimes: the genocide and other serious violations of humanitarian law that occurred in Rwanda in 1994.
These crimes claimed the lives of more than 500,000 victims, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus. These crimes have their genesis in racist ideologies, ethnic discrimination, and intolerance. By bringing the accused perpetrators of these crimes to justice, through fair trials, the ICTR is contributing to the global struggle against racism and its sinister mutations and promoting a culture of individual accountability for crimes of hate.
As an international institution, the International Tribunal is cognizant that racism, racial discrimination or related tendencies, are difficult matters to confront and address. The Tribunal recognizes its responsibility to promote tolerance within its workplace, which is multiracial and multicultural.
By continuing its judicial work in dispensing justice for crimes with roots in discrimination and looking inward to ensure that, as an organ of the United Nations, the Tribunal continues to practice what it preaches, the ICTR intends to remain an important positive example of the ideal of tolerance.