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The Gacaca Experiment: Rwanda’s Restorative Dispute Resolution Response to the 1994 Genocide

Raper, Jessica
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal: Pepperdine University School of Law 5 Pepp. Disp. Resol. L.J. 1

Since its rise to power in July of 1994, the Rwandan government has been
committed to prosecuting all those accused of genocide. To prosecute the
approximately 130,000 defendants, Rwanda has adopted a program called gacaca
[*2] (pronounced ga-cha-cha), based on Rwanda’s traditional customary dispute
resolution system. n5 The gacaca law provides, as suggested by Justice Goldstone
as noted above, a reconciliation component that allows defendants to trade
confessions of past genocide crimes for indemnification, as well as a
prosecution component that holds the most serious offenders accountable in a
Western-style prosecution in a formal court of law. One of the main goals of
gacaca is to end the so-called “culture of impunity” that has developed as a
result of generations of cultural division between the Hutus and Tutsis. (excerpt)


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