Dilemmas of justice and reconciliation: Rwandans and the gacaca courts

Following the 1994 genocide, several justice initiatives were implemented in Rwanda, including a tribunal established by the United Nations, Rwanda’s national court system and Gacaca, a ‘traditional’ community-run conflict resolution mechanism adapted to prosecute genocide perpetrators. Since their inception in 2001, the Gacaca courts have been praised for their efficiency and for widening participation but criticized for lack of due process, trained personnel and attention to atrocities committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). To evaluate these criticisms, we present preliminary findings from a survey of 227 Rwandans and analyze their attitudes towards Gacaca in relation to demographic characteristics such as education, residence and loss of relatives during the genocide.
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