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Gacaca Courts: Between Fantasy and Reality.

Fierens, Jacques
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Journal of International Criminal Justice. 3:896-919.

Faced with an overflowing caseload and imperatives of national reconciliation,
Rwandan authorities have established a system of justice, meted out through
gacaca courts under the legal framework created by organic laws. The following
contribution analyses this framework, within the context of national and international
legal systems, and pinpoints the shortcomings of the proposed form of
justice. These include legal issues such as the problem of retroactivity, as well as
the definition of crimes and concerns over due process and the right to a fair trial
for defendants. Practical and material obstacles arise in implementing the organic
laws, alongside broader implications owing to the traditional nature of such courts
and possible interference by political authorities. In this respect, the gacaca courts
may be victims of their own ambitions, by seeking to respond to judicial, societal and
philosophical concerns alike. (author’s abstract)


AbstractAfricaPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in Schools
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