The Implementation of Modern Gacaca


in Rwanda's Gacaca Courts

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199694471
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738326 | DOI:
The Implementation of Modern Gacaca

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When Rwanda decided to entrust community-based tribunals with the prosecution of genocide, the country embarked on a completely unprecedented experiment in transitional justice. Gacaca courts have their roots in traditional dispute resolution, they are a form of participatory justice, and they are strictly nonprofessional. While Gacaca's extensive powers to prosecute and convict make it a unique phenomenon so far, it is in line with a general trend, especially in Africa, of an increased reliance on traditional mechanisms when it comes to rebuilding communities that have suffered mass atrocities. This chapter analyzes the implementation of the Gacaca system and how it operates. To understand fully Gacaca and its place in Rwandan society, it first examines its predecessor, the traditional dispute resolution mechanism.

Keywords: Rwanda; genocide; Gacaca courts; traditional dispute resolution

Chapter.  36156 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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