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Overview of the violence against women around the world

The situation of women and girls, facts and figures all over the world*


Gender and HIV/AIDS:

  • Nearly a third of all adults living with HIV/AIDS are under the age of 25 and 2/3 of them are women.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are getting infected faster and earlier than boys. In the group from 15 to age 24, two girls are infected for every boy. According to surveys that indicate women who have some post primary schooling compared to women with no education are 5 times more likely to lack basic information about HIV/AIDS.
  • In 2002, an estimated 800,000 children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV as a result of parent-to-infant transmission.

Gender and girls education:

  • Over 110 million of the world’s children, 2/3 of them being girls are not attending school.
  • Of the world’s 875 million illiterate adults, 2/3 is women.
  • Half of the girls who live in developing countries (excluding China) will be married before their 20th birthday. Increasing girl’s time in school is one of the best ways for the girls to get married in an older age.

Gender and violence against women and girls and child protection issues:

  • One in every 3 women is a survivor of some form of gender based violence, most often by someone in her family. Between 15 and 76% of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Girls between 13 and 18 years constitutes the largest group in the sex industry and it is estimated that around 500,000 girls below the age of 18 are victims of trafficking each year.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) affects around 130 million girls and women globally and places 2 million at risk but the last decades this problem has improved.
  • In some cultures, the preference for boys results in pre-natal sex selection and death of many girls. In India for example; there are 933 Indian women for every 1000 men resulting in 40 million missing women.

Gender and the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and other health issues:

  • 1,400 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes, 99% of them in developing countries.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, a woman has 1 in 3 chance of dying in child birth. In industrialized countries the risks are 1 in 4,085.
  • Direct obstetric deaths account for about 75% of all maternal deaths in developing countries.

Emergencies

  • More than 80% of the world’s 35 million refugees and displaced people are women and children.
  • Emergencies put women at risk of extreme sexual violence and abuse. In Rwanda, 2,000 women and many of them are being survivors of rape tested positive for HIV during the 5 years following the 1994 genocide.

Femicide

  • In Guatemala, two women are killed every day.
  • In India, 8,093 cases of dowry-related death were reported in 2007 and unknown number of murders of women and young girls were labeled as “suicides” or “accidents”.
  • Between 40 and 70% of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States.
  • In Chihuahua, Mexico, 66% of murders of women were committed by husbands, boyfriends or other family members.

Violence and young women

  • Up to 50% of sexual assaults worldwide are committed against girls under the age of 16.
  • An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002.
  • The first sexual experience of some 30% women was forced and the percentage is even higher among those who were under 15 at the time of their sexual initiation.

Harmful practices

  • Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide have experienced female genital mutilation leaving more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.
  • Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides and married before the age of 18. The numbers are divided as; South Asia-31, 3 million and Sub-Saharan Africa-14, 1 million. Violence and abuse characterize married life for many of these girls. Women who marry early are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might sometimes be justified in beating his wife.
  • Trafficking
  • 80% from the estimated number of 800,000 people being trafficked across the national borders is women and girls.
  • One study in Europe found that 60% of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.

Sexual harassment

  • Between 40 and 50% of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
  • Across Asia, studies in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea show that 30 to 40% of women suffer workplace sexual harassment.
  • In Nairobi, 20% of women have been sexually harassed at work or school.
  • In the United States, 83% of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.

Rape in the context of conflict

  • Estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
  • Between 50,000 and 64,000 women in camps for internally displaced people in Sierra Leone were sexually assaulted by combatants between 1991 and 2001.
  • In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996: the actual numbers are believed to be far higher.

Conservative

  • The following figures are some of the facts of violence done on women compiled by Amnesty International and Feminist.com from various researches done by individuals and/or organizations all over the world;
  • An estimated 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually for sexual exploitation or labor (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2000).
  • One in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime (WHO 1997).
  • In USA a woman is raped every 90 seconds (US Department of Justice, 2000).
  • Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds (UN Study on the Status of Women, Year 2000).
  • Up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners (WHO 2008).
  • In Kenya more than one woman a week was reportedly killed by her male partner while in Zambia, five women a week were murdered by a male partner or family member (Joni Seager, 2003).
  • In the Russian Federation 36,000 women are beaten on a daily basis by their husband or partner, according to Russian non-governmental organizations (OMTC, 2003).
  • More than 135 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation and an additional 2 million girls and women are at risk each year (6,000 everyday) (UN, 2002).
  • 82 million girls who are now aged 10 to 17 will be married before their 18th birthday (UNFP).
  • In India there are close to 15,000 dowry deaths estimated per year. Mostly they are kitchen knives designed to look like accidents (Injustice Studies, Vol. 1, November 1997).
  • 4 million women and girls are trafficked annually.
  • An estimated one million children, mostly girls, enter the sex trade each year (UNICEF).
  • A study in Zaria, Nigeria found out that 16 per cent of hospital patients treated for sexually transmitted infections were younger than five (UNFPA).

Population and families

  • The world’s population tripled between 1950 and 2010 to reach almost 7 billion.
  • There are approximately 57 million more men than women in the world, but in most countries there are more women than men.
  • There is a “gender spiral” with more boys and men in younger age groups and more women in the older age groups.
  • Fertility is steadily declining in all regions of the world but still remains high in some regions of Africa.
  • Life expectancy is steadily rising as women lives longer than men.
  • International migration is increasing and there are more and more women migrants and in certain areas they outnumber men.

Health

  • Women live longer than men in all regions.
  • 2 out of every 5 deaths of both women and men in Africa are still caused by infectious and parasitic diseases.
  • Women are more likely than men to die from cardiovascular diseases, especially in Europe.
  • Breast cancer among women and lung cancer among men tops the list of new cancer cases globally.
  • Women stand for the majority of HIV positive adults in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.
  • The majority of over half a million maternal deaths in 2005 occurred in developing countries.

Education

  • 2/3 of the 774 million adult illiterates worldwide are women.
  • The global youth literacy rate has increased to 89%.
  • 72 million children of primary school age are not attending school out of which over 39 million (54%) are girls.
  • Women in tertiary education are significantly underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering but remain predominant in education, health and welfare, social sciences, humanities and arts.
  • Worldwide, women account for slightly more than a quarter of all scientific researches that is an increase compared to previous decades.
  • Use of and access to the Internet grew in the past decade as it narrowed the gender digital divide, however, women still don’t have the same level of access as men in most countries whether it is more developed or not.

Work

  • Women are predominantly and increasingly employed in the services sector.
  • Vulnerable employment – own-account work and contributing family work – is prevalent in many countries in Africa and Asia, especially among women.
  • The informal sector is an important source of employment for both women and men in the less developed regions but more so for women.
  • Occupational segregation and gender wage gaps continue to persist in all regions.
  • Part-time employment is common for women in most of the more developed regions and some less developed regions, and it is increasing almost everywhere for both women and men.
  • Women spend at least twice as much time as men on domestic work, and when all work – paid and unpaid – is considered, women work longer hours than men do.
  • Half of the countries worldwide meet the new international standard for minimum duration of maternity leave – and two out of five meet the minimum standard for cash benefits – but there is a gap between law and practice, and many groups of women are not covered by legislation.

Violence against women

  • Women are subjected to different forms of violence – physical, sexual, psychological and economic, both within and outside their homes.
  • Rates of women experiencing physical violence at least once in their lifetime vary from several per cent to over 59% depending on where they live.
  • Current statistical measurements of violence against women provide a limited source of information, and statistical definitions and classifications require more work and harmonization at the international level.
  • Female genital mutilation is the most harmful mass perpetuation of violence against women shows a slight decline.
  • In many regions of the world longstanding customs put considerable pressure on women to accept abuse.

Environment

  • More than half of rural households and about a quarter of urban households in sub-Saharan Africa lack easy access to sources of drinking water, and most of the burden of water collection falls on women.
  • The majority of households in sub-Saharan Africa and South-Eastern Asia use solid fuels for cooking on open fires or traditional stoves with no chimney or hood, disproportionately affecting the health of women.
  • Fewer women than men participate in high-level decision-making related to the environment.

Poverty

  • Households of single mothers with young children are more likely to be poor than households of single fathers with young children.
  • Women are more likely to be poor than men when living in one-person households in many countries from both the more developed and less developed regions.
  • Women are overrepresented among the older poor in the more developed regions.
  • Existing statutory and customary laws limit women’s access to land and other types of property in most countries in Africa and about half the countries in Asia.
  • Fewer women than men have cash income in the less developed regions, and a significant proportion of married women have no say in how their cash earnings are spent.
  • Married women from the less developed regions do not fully participate in intrahousehold decision-making on spending, particularly in African countries and in poorer households.

Harmful tradition practices include;

  • Forced marriage
  • Child marriage
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Honour killings
  • Dowry related violence
  • Female infanticide
  • Trafficking of women and girls

Afghanistan at a glance*

  • Only about 15% of births are attended by trained health workers while more than 90% of the births take place at home. According to UNICEF, the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is the second highest in the world with an estimated 15,000 women dying each year from pregnancy related causes.
  • The infant mortality rate is 165 per 1,000 and less than 5 mortality rate is 257 per 1,000 with 1 in 4 children in Afghanistan dying before the age of 5 from preventable diseases.
  • Only 23% of the population has access to safe water, and only 12% have access to adequate sanitation which increases the incidents of diseases. 15,000 Afghans die of tuberculosis every year and of this 64% are women.
  • Malnutrition of women which affects pregnancies negatively is caused by the food scarcity linked to the war and drought.
  • The poor health situation has been aggravated by the lack of basic health services and resources, especially in rural areas because of the small number of trained female doctors, nurses and midwifes that remained in the country after the rise of Taliban.
  • 23 years of war have destroyed the infrastructure of the educational system and increased the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan. Only 10% of women are able to read and write.
  • 54% of girls under the age of 18 are married. Families of girls and young women were forced to marriage for several reasons and often for the purpose of dowry for the family’s survival.
  • *Source; Report of the Secretary-General on Discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/5)

Rwanda, the forgotten genocide

Paul Rusesabagina is a Rwandan humanitarian who has been internationally honoured for saving 1,268 refugees during the Rwandan Genocide. He was the assistant manager of the Sabena Hôtel des Mille Collines before he became the manager of the Hôtel des Diplomates in Kigali, Rwanda. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Rusesabagina used his influence and connections as temporary manager of the ‘Mille Collines’ to shelter 1,268 Tutsis and moderate Hutus from being slaughtered by the Interahamwe militia. Rusesabagina’s efforts were also the basis of the Academy Award nominated film Hotel Rwanda (2004). He currently lives in Brussels, Belgium with his wife, children, and two adopted nieces.

Earlier life

Rusesabagina was born in the Central-South region of Rwanda called Murama to a farming family on June 15, 1954. He wanted to be a pastor when he grew up, but currently is a lapsed Seventh-day Adventist. He had three children (Roger, Diane, Lys) with his wife Ester Rusesabagina. After they separated in 1981, he graduated from the Hotel Management program of Utalii College in Nairobi, Kenya, which included a trip to Switzerland. When he returned from Switzerland, he was employed in the Hôtel des Mille Collines as assistant general manager from October 1984 until November 1992, at which time he was promoted to general manager of the company’s Diplomate Hotel in Kigali. He met his current wife Tatiana in 1987 at a wedding party. Tatiana was a Tutsi suffering discrimination at her job as a nurse; Rusesabagina arranged for her to be moved closer to him for this reason, and to get to know her better. After they married, they had a daughter, who died only a few days after her birth. They later had a son, Tresor.

Rwanda genocide

The Rwandan Genocide started on April 6, 1994 as the Hutu-led Interahamwe began to slaughter the Tutsi population, a mass murder of an estimated number of 850,000 to 1 million people in the small East African nation of Rwanda counting as much as 20 % of the country’s population. The violence had raised and was influenced mainly by the Belgian colonization which favoured the Tutsi minority group because of their more “European” appearance of longstanding ethnic competition and the tension between the minorities Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries. The majority Hutu people had come to power in the rebellion of 1959-1962 as they overthrew the Tutsi monarchy.  In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group composed mostly of Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from Uganda in an attempt to defeat the Hutu-led government. They began the Rwandan Civil War, fought between the Hutu regime, with support from Francophone nations of Africa and France, and the RPF, with support from Uganda. This exacerbated ethnic tensions in the country. In response, many Hutu gravitated toward the Hutu Power ideology, with the prompting of state-controlled and independent Rwandan media.

The Hutu’s thought that the Tutsi’s intended to enslave the Hutu’s and they had to resist this at all cost. This ethnic strife resulted in large numbers of Hutu’s displaced in the north and Tutsi killings in the south.

Though Rusesabagina was of mixed heritage – his father was Hutu and his mother Tutsi, he was relatively safe from the Interahamwe due to his position and business connections with important Hutu military leaders. His wife Tatiana was a Tutsi and their children were considered mixed, so he could not escape the war zone with his family without outside help, however, no foreign aid came from the United Nations or its more powerful Western member states; the USA until after over 800,000 Rwandans had been murdered.

When the heinous violence broke out, Rusesabagina brought his family to the Hôtel des Mille Collines for safety. As other managers departed, Rusesabagina phoned the hotel’s corporate owners, Sabena, and secured a letter appointing him the acting general manager of the Mille Collines. Despite some difficulty in getting the staff to accept his authority, he was able to use his position to shelter orphans and other refugees who came to the hotel. His neighbours had moved into his house for safety, though Rusesabagina did not even own a gun. For protection against bullets and grenades they put mattresses against the windows. He described the hardships they faced, which included having to drink the water from the hotel’s swimming pool.

When a murderous Hutu militia threatened to enter the Mille Collines, Rusesabagina ensured that his wife and children fled safely in a truck past the militia’s roadblocks and the truck set out for Kigali airport so they could flee to another country for safety. He himself remained in the hotel because the refugees needed him. Rusesabagina and his wife discussed this decision for hours, because he had promised her he would never leave her in this situation but he couldn’t leave these people behind. He feared that the remaining refugees would be killed and feeling that he would never be able to forgive himself.

Tatiana was a specific target for the brutal attack because she was the wife of the manager of the Mille Collines; the Hutu militia knew she and her children were in the truck owing to radio messages sent out by presenter Georges Ruggiu. Ruggiu was an Italian-Belgian who was part of the radio station conspiracy to incite ethnic tension and encourage the Hutu population to kill all the Tutsis. Ruggiu called Rusesabagina’s family “cockroaches that were fleeing, but would return later to kill all the Hutus”. Tatiana’s mother, four nieces and nephews died in the genocide. Her brother and sister-in-law were missing and her father paid to be executed so he would not die a more painful death.

We all knew we would die without any question. The only question was how. Would they chop us in pieces? With their machetes they would cut your left hand off. Then they would disappear and reappear a few hours later to cut off your right hand. A little later they would return for your left leg etc. They went on till you died. They wanted to make you suffer as long as possible. There was one alternative: you could pay soldiers so they would just shoot you. That’s what her [Tatiana’s] father did.

— Paul Rusesabagina in Humo, nr. 3365, March 1, 2005

The Interhamwe left nearly 1 million corpses behind and the Tutsi rebels pushed the Hutus into Congo in July 1994, after over half of the Tutsis in Rwanda had been murdered. Rusesabagina took orphans from the camp behind Tutsi rebel lines with him to Tanzania, to keep them safe and away from Rwanda. Rusesabagina, his wife and children, and the refugees eventually managed to escape to Tanzania, thanks to the Rwandan Patriotic Front and after staying in Rwanda for two more years, Rusesabagina applied for asylum in Belgium and moved to Brussels in 1996 after receiving credible threats on his life.

  • In October 2005, Rusesabagina was awarded the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan in recognition of his rescue and defence of Tutsi citizens who took refuge in the Milles Collines Hotel.
  • Rusesabagina received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 9, 2005 from President George W. Bush.

History of violence

Ethnic tension in Rwanda has always existed and there have always been disagreements between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, but the animosity between them has grown since the colonial period even though the two ethnic groups are actually very similar as they speak the same language, inhabit the same areas and follow the same traditions however, the Tutsis are often taller and thinner than Hutus, with some saying their origins lies in Ethiopia. During the genocide, the bodies of Tutsis were thrown into rivers, as the killers said they were being sent back to Ethiopia.

It all started with the Belgians arriving to Rwanda in 1916 and took the responsibility to produce identity cards to classify people according to their ethnicity but considered the Tutsi’s to be more superior to the Hutu’s and the Tutsi’s was satisfied with this idea and for the next 20 years they had the privilege of better jobs and educational jobs than the Hutu’s. The frustration and anger among the Hutu’s gradually built up by time and resulted in a series of riots in 1959 where more than 20,000 Tutsi’s were killed and many others had to flee to the neighbouring countries of Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. When Belgium granted Rwanda independence in 1962, the Hutu’s took their place and over the next decades, the Tutsi’s were targeted as guilty for every crisis.

Civil war

Large numbers of Tutsi refugees in Uganda had joined the victorious rebel National Resistance Movement during the Ugandan Bush War and created a separate movement. Some 6,000 Tutsi refugee warriors invaded Rwanda to try to regain power as they threatened the Hutu’s since independence.

The beginning of the genocide

The killing was well organized by the government as the Rwandan militia numbered around 30,000, or one militia member for every ten families. It was organized nationwide, with representatives in every neighbourhood. Weapons, such as grenades were widely distributed by the government and many members of the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi were armed only with machetes. Even after the 1993 peace agreement signed in Arusha, businessmen close to General Habyarimana imported 581,000 machetes for Hutu use in killing Tutsi, because at the time, machetes were cheaper than guns. Rwandan PM Jean Kambanda revealed in his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal that the genocide was openly discussed in cabinet meetings and that “one cabinet minister said she was personally in favour of getting rid of all Tutsi; without the Tutsi, she told ministers, all of Rwanda’s problems would be over

Hutus and Tutsis were forced to use ID cards which specified their ethnic group and these cards served as symbols that the Interahamwe could check via the threat of force. Skin colour was also a way to figure out the “ethnic” identification as the lighter-coloured Rwandans were Tutsi, the minority group, while the darker-skinned Rwandans were typically Hutu, the majority group in Rwanda. In many cases, Tutsi men, women, and children were separated from the general population and sometimes forced to be Hutu slaves. As for the Tutsi women, they were often referred to as “gypsies” and frequently fell victim to sexual violence.

Media and the propaganda

The news media played a crucial role in the genocide; local print and radio media fuelled the killings while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued events on the ground. The print media in Rwanda was believed to have started hate speeches against the Tutsis, which was later continued by radio stations. According to commentators, anti-Tutsi hate speech became systematic and the state-owned newspaper Kangura had a central role, starting an anti-Tutsi and anti-RPF campaign in October 1990.

Due to high rates of illiteracy at the time of the genocide, radio was an important way for the government to deliver messages to the public. Two radio stations key to inciting violence before and during the genocide were Radio Rwanda and Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). In March 1992, Radio Rwanda was first used in directly promoting the killing of Tutsi in Bugesera, south of the national capital Kigali. Radio Rwanda repeatedly broadcast a communiqué warning that Hutu in Bugesera would be attacked by Tutsi, a message used by local officials to convince Hutu that they needed to attack first. Led by soldiers, Hutu civilians and the Interahamwe attacked and killed hundreds of Tutsi.

Genocide and massacre

The Rwandan military and Hutu militia groups, notably the Interahamwe, systematically set out to murder all the Tutsis they could reach, regardless of age or sex, as well as the political moderates among the Hutu. They incited Hutu civilians to participate in the killings or be shot in turn, using radio broadcasts to tell them to kill their Tutsi neighbours. Most nations evacuated their nationals from Kigali and abandoned their embassies in the initial stages of the violence. As the situation worsened, the national radio advised people to stay in their homes and not to go out. The militia put up hundreds of roadblocks around the country, using them to block off areas and attack the citizens.

On April 9, UN observers witnessed the massacre of children at a Polish church in Gikondo. The same day, 1,000 heavily armed and trained European troops arrived to escort European civilian personnel out of the country and on April 9–10, US Ambassador Rawson and 250 Americans were evacuated. Most of the victims were killed in their own villages or in towns, often by their neighbours and fellow villagers. The militia typically murdered victims by machetes, although some army units used rifles. The Hutu gangs searched out victims hiding in churches and school buildings, and massacred them. Local officials and government-sponsored radio incited ordinary citizens to kill their neighbours, and those who refused to kill were often murdered on the spot. “Either you took part in the massacres or you were massacred yourself.”

Another massacre occurred at Nyarubuye on April 12th, where more than 1,500 Tutsis sought refuge in a Catholic church in Nyange. Local Interahamwe, acting in concert with the authorities, used bulldozers to knock down the church building and the militia used machetes and rifles to kill every person who tried to escape. Local priest Athanase Seromba was later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison by the ICTR for his role in the demolition of his church; he was convicted of the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Because of the chaotic situation, there is no consensus on the number of people killed between April 6 and mid-July unlike the genocides carried out by Nazi Germany and by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, authorities made no attempts to record deaths. The succeeding RPF government has stated that 1,071,000 were killed, 10 % of whom were Hutu. The journalist Philip Gourevitch agrees with an estimate of one million, while the UN estimates the toll as 800,000. James Smith of Aegis Trust noted, “What’s important to remember is that there was genocide. There was an attempt to eliminate Tutsis — men, women, and children and to erase any memory of their existence.” Out of a population of 7.3 million people, 84 % of whom were Hutu, 15 % Tutsi and 1 % Twa–the official figures published by the Rwandan government estimated the number of victims of the genocide to be 1,174,000 in 100 days. That is 10,000 murdered every day, 400 every hour, 7 every minute. It is estimated that about 300,000 Tutsi survived the genocide, thousands of widows, many of whom were subjected to rape, are now HIV-positive. There were about 400,000 orphans and nearly 85,000 of them were forced to become heads of families.

Several individuals were active in attempting to halt the Rwandan genocide, or to shelter vulnerable Tutsi, as it was taking place. Among them there are Romeo Dallaire, Pierantonio Costa, Antonia Locatelli, Jacqueline Mukansonera, Paul Rusesabagina, Carl Wilkens, André Sibomana and Captain Mbaye Diagne.

Aftermath

Approximately 2 million Hutus, participants in the genocide, and the bystanders, with anticipation of Tutsi retaliation, fled from Rwanda, to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and for the most part Zaire. Thousands of them died in epidemics of diseases common to the squalor of refugee camps, such as cholera and dysentery and the United States staged the Operation Support Hope airlift from July to September 1994 to stabilize the situation in the camps. After the victory of the RPF, the size of UNAMIR (henceforth called UNAMIR 2) was increased to its full strength, remaining in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.

International criminal court

In 2001, the government began implementing a participatory justice system, known as Gacaca, meanwhile, the UN sat up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, currently based in Arusha, Tanzania. The UN Tribunal has jurisdiction over high level members of the government and armed forces, while Rwanda is responsible for prosecuting lower level leaders and local people. 22 people were executed in public for their role in the massacre in 1998 and 18 of them in provincial towns where the massacres had occurred, while 4 were executed at a football field in Kigali by firing squad. The executed included Silas Munyagishali, a Kigali assistant prosecutor, and Froduald Karamira of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development.

Tensions arose between Rwanda and the UN over the use of the death penalty, though these were largely resolved once Rwanda abolished the punishment in 2007, however, domestic tensions continued over support for the death penalty, and the interest in conducting the trials at home. In ten years the Arusha tribunal only succeeded in sentencing 20 people.

On Thursday, December 18, 2008, Theoneste Bagosora was found guilty of crimes against humanity. He was charged by UN judge Erik Møse, and sentenced to life in prison. The court also found Bagosora responsible for the deaths of former Rwandan Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers.

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