Back to RJ Archive

Justice at the Grassroots? Gacaca Trials in Rwanda

Longman, Timothy
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Javier Mariezcurrena, Ed., Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century, Beyond Truth versus Justice. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. Pg. 206-228.

“The purpose of this paper is to assess the gacaca process as a response to mass atrocity with particular attention to relevant human rights issues and logistical and political considerations. To support my analysis, I draw extensively on research conducted under the auspices of the Human Rights Center of the University of California, Berkeley. As part of a wide-ranging study of the process of social reconstruction in Rwanda, we have conducted an extended qualitative analysis of three local communities in Butare, Byumba, and Kibuye provinces, including observation of gacaca trials; a survey of over 2,091 individuals in four Rwandan communes; and interviews with numerous individuals. Based upon this research, I contend that despite some human rights, political, and logistical concerns, gacaca has the potential to make an important contribution to the fight against impunity and the search for reconciliation in Rwanda. The ultimate success or failure lies primarily in the will of the public to make the process work, whatever structural and political constraints it confronts.” (excerpt)


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now