Prosecutor v. Semanza

Mr. Semanza was a former mayor of Bicumbi commune, and was accused of aiding and abetting genocide in connection with two massacres of Tutsis.  He was specifically alleged to have directly participated in murder and torture, and for inciting a crowd to rape Tutsi women prior to killing them, and to have personally participated in the same.  The Trial Chamber found that Mr. Semanza was guilty of a crime against humanity for his rape, torture, and murder of Tutsi women.  This case is notable for scaling back the definition of rape adopted by the Appeal Chamber of the ICTR in the Akayesu and Musema judgments.  Relying on the Kunarac decision of the Appeal Chamber of the ICTY, the Trial Chamber in this case adopted a more limited view of the definition of rape, relying on the mechanical definition requiring physical “non-consensual penetration” of the victim.  The Trial Chamber did acknowledge that other acts of sexual violence that do not satisfy this definition of rape may still be prosecuted as crimes against humanity “such as persecution, enslavement or other inhumane acts.”



Avon Center work product