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Law and Atrocity: Settling Accounts in Rwanda.

Drumbl, Mark A
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Ohio Northern University Law Review. 31: 41-74.

Genocidal violence afflicted Rwanda in the spring and early summer of 1994 when extremist Hutus tried to eliminate Tutsis and moderate Hutus from the country. In trying to rebuild and reconcile in the wake of this violence, Rwanda has employed law in a prominent role in various policy mechanisms. According to Mark Drumbl, criminal trials for perpetrators of the violence are intended to pursue several goals: retribution; reconciliation; deterrence of future violence; expression of victims’ stories and perspectives; peace-building; and cultivation of a culture of human rights. Drunbl explores the extent to which trials have achieved these goals. He does so by examining the following: the history of the violence; the current state of criminal prosecutions; results of the prosecutions in terms of the stated goals; the emergence of gacaca mechanisms to deal with perpetrators of violence; and lessons learned from Rwanda’s attempt to impose law in the wake of the genocide.


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