transitional justice in Rwanda

2273 words 10 pages
Transitional Justice in Rwanda How did the use of combined strategies of the ICTR and the Gacaca work in the Rwandan case, could it be seen as modern day model for transitional justice?

In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the international community and the Rwandan government embraced criminal prosecution as the primary approach to the restoration of law and order in the country. Leaders and policy makers inside and outside Rwanda cited breaking “the culture of impunity” and “the cycle of hatred” as the reasoning behind the retributive approach. Another key reason behind the quest for retributive justice is that the main organizers of the genocide were easily identifiable political,
…show more content…

Furthermore, these objectives speak to the importance of local ownership over the outcomes of justice in terms of reconciling individuals and communities and building local capacity. With regard to the justice process, there are three restorative justice elements to the Gacaca courts that facilitate local ownership: community participation, truth-telling, and compensation. The degree to which each of these elements is achieved affects the perceived legitimacy of the process and its ability to achieve its reconciliation objectives. The Government of Rwanda (GOR) requires all Rwandans to attend Gacaca during the information collection phase of the trial; attendance is voluntary during the judgment/sentencing phase. Participation is also enforced as citizens can be reprimanded or punished for not participating if it can be shown that they know something about the crime or criminal. Local researchers and survivors agree that there are significant regional disparities in the levels of attendance and participation. The largest disparity is between Gacacas in Kigali-city and the rest of Rwanda. Local authorities force Rwandans outside of the capital city to attend Gacaca by requiring shop closures and rounding up the community. The GOR, in particular the NSGJ, claims that Rwandans freely and happily participate in Gacaca courts. This is not necessarily true in all Gacacas for several reasons.