Back to RJ Archive

Rwanda’s failing experiment in restorative justice

Waldorf, Lars
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In, Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft editors, “Handbook of Restorative Justice” A Global Perspective. London and New York: Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group pp. 422-432

Although gacaca has attracted a great deal of attention and commentary there are relatively few empirical, local-level studies of whether the gacaca is achieving its ambitious aims of justice, truth and reconciliation. While it is still too early to gauge gacaca’s success, the initial indications from those studies are not encouraging. Public confessions do not seem to lead to “reintegrative shaming.” So far, confessions have been largely limited to the detainee population and have contained little in the way of either apology or shame. Over time, gacaca has become less participatory and more coercive. There is little prospect of Tutsi genocide survivors receiving reparations through gacaca. AT the same time, the government has prohibited gacaca from providing accountability for war crimes committed by its forces against Hutu civilians. Finally, gagaca is unlikely to impose collective guilt on most Hutu. (excerpt)


AbstractAfricaPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in Schools
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