Source: (2011) International Criminal Justice Review. 21(1):39-66.

This paper provides a theoretically based comparison of sentencing circles practiced by the First Nations Peoples of Canada with the Gacaca courts in Rwanda. It presents a description of each justice-oriented model and compares them engaging a restorative justice theoretical framework. It employs McCold’s typology and Zehr’s continuum in determining the relative ‘‘restorativeness’’ of each model. It then compares the models by exploring some key theoretical elements posited in the purist—maximalist debate in restorative justice and Braithwaite’s theory of responsive regulation. Using the comparisons this paper seeks to contribute to the purist—maximalist debate, providing insight into contentious concepts through their examination in two very different contextual settings. It is posited that Braithwaite’s theory of responsive regulation provides a structure that addresses the concerns noted in the two models as well as provides for the pursuit of holistic restorative practices while accommodating other restorative processes. (author's abstract)