Source: (2005) Journal of African Law, 49, 2, P.101. School of Oriental and African Studies.

In what follows, I present the argument that in the context of postgenocidal Rwandan society, the imposition of a formal legal structure by the United Nations in the form of a criminal tribunal fails to address the specific public needs generated by the crimes of genocide. I begin by discussing the historical importance played by an ideology and politics of ethnicity in creating a framework for genocide in Rwanda. The next section traces the legal paradigm structuring the interpretation of genocide by international criminal jurisprudence and examines its set of codified practices and institutions designed to appropriate the facts of genocide. In the final section, I argue that the application of this legal paradigm as a mechanism to address to genocidal violence in Rwanda fails fundamentally to overcome the profound diremption inscribing the social geography of Rwanda. As a descriptive strategy, I suggest the introduction of alternative practices and institutions rooted in a shared cultural and historical framework resonating across both Hutu and Tutsi communities. (Excerpt)