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Post Genocide justice and reconciliation process in Rwanda


The post conflict justice process of confronting legacies of abuses has become an everyday phenomenon where politicians, jurists, academics, civil society organizations, and the international community all demand a say in how, where, and why to look back and defy systems and individuals whose actions do not belong in a liberal democracy. Rwanda has had to reckon with challenges in a nation’s struggle to confront the legacies of the genocide and build a cohesive and unified state. The process has not been easy but good progress has been recorded in Rwandese post genocide justice and reconciliation process. The convolutions surrounding the process of Rwanda’s transition from the ashes of the genocide and the process of reconstruction of a nation happens within complex social transformations.

In a country where a massacre of eleven percent of its population in a span of 100 days took place the difficult has always been in crafting responses that can strike the inherently delicate and problematic but necessary balance. The one between needs of victims and their families, the need to treat in a humane, fair and just manner the perpetrators of horrendous crimes of genocide and the stability of a nation emerging from conflict but one that desires to tackle its past and move forward to peace and stability. It cannot be more daunting.

The challenges of Rwanda since the end of the genocide have revolved around the demands for justice, peace and reconciliation. These entails issues such as how to ensure justice for the victims, treat perpetrators fairly and ensure non-recurrence of what happened starting that chilly April of 1994. In this regard Rwanda has had immense difficulty in dealing with its past. Rwanda attempted the model of prosecutions without being able to bring many of the alleged perpetrators to justice because its internal judicial system had been destroyed and many of the court personnel including judges and prosecutors had been victims of the genocide as well. One of the judicial mechanisms that came in handy was the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The ICTR has gone to the books of history as one of the most renowned international tribunals. However, the slow pace of criminal justice system coupled with concerns that such a tribunal focused on punitive measures with little or no elements of reconciliation, peace and stability, Rwanda came up with another model in the country’s attempts to ensure post conflict justice and reconciliation; the Gacaca courts The community based courts have done tremendous work especially in significantly reducing the case logs and decongesting Rwanda’s prisons which were flooded with suspected perpetrators of the genocide. 
Post Genocide justice and reconciliation process in Rwanda Post Genocide justice and reconciliation process in Rwanda Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on April 05, 2016 Rating: 5

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