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Rwandan Gacaca: An Experiment in Transitional Justice.

Goldstein-Bolocan, Maya
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Journal of Dispute Resolution. 355-400.

For a country trying to deal with past injustice and violence while forging a democratic present and future, many challenges, complexities, and ambiguities arise. In this context, how does a country pursue a balance between victims and their families, perpetrators of injustice and violence, and a society that wants recognition of the past as well as stability and peace? In response to the horrific genocide by many Hutus against Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the spring and early summer of 1994, Rwanda has sought this balance through administration of state-run gacaca jurisdictions or processes. According to Maya Goldstein-Bolocan, these gacaca courts blend retributive and restorative justice approaches in ways that are highly innovative in the sphere of transitional justice. Goldstein-Bolocan explores the gacaca approach with respect to transitional justice issues, thus arguing that shifting the emphasis from the retributive nature of gacaca to its restorative potential offers better prospects for peace and reconciliation in deeply wounded societies.


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