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Eliminating fear through recreating community in Rwanada: The role of the Gacaca courts.

Venter, Christine M.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Texas Wesleyan Law Review 13(1): 577-598.

More than a decade after the Rwandan genocide, the sheer magnitude of what took place still has the power to shock us: 800,000 people brutally murdered in a 100 day period; 500,000 who participated in some way in the genocide or in genocide related crimes; and the fact that the U.N. and western powers could allow this to happen without intervention. … Therefore, this paper will argue that by means of the creation of the “gacaca” courts, the Rwandan people have sought from within their past a notion of justice and healing that, while flawed, provides an opportunity to reforge Rwandan society and reestablish notions of community that were decimated by the genocide. … Hutus regarded them-selves much more as victims of colonial rule than the Tutsis. … According to surveys conducted in Rwanda, 70% of the Rwandan population supports the gacaca process. … Gacaca judges are required to be persons of “integrity, honesty, and good conduct who have never been sentenced to more than six months in prison and are above suspicion of involvement in genocide or crimes against humanity. … ” The real value of gacaca may come in the form of it providing a kind of truth commission, a community-wide discussion about what really took place during the genocide, and a beginning of the response to the question – How do we form a common society, knowing that one portion of society was bent upon the complete destruction of the other? (Author’s abstract)


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