What Justice for Rwanda? Gacaca versus Truth Commission?,

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Abstract. In post-genocide Rwanda a truth commission is needed in addition to gacaca courts in order to promote justice and foster reconciliation. In the context of transitional justice, retributive justice, which seeks justice and focuses on the perpetrators, appears to be inadequate to lead a society towards reconciliation. Therefore, some forms of restorative justice, which emphasize the healing of the whole society, seem necessary. In Rwanda, gacaca courts and a truth commission are complementary. The former can bring justice, the latter can seek the truth; both crucial ingredients of a peaceful future for Rwandans. The essay opens with a discussion of the nature of the genocide and the responses to post-genocide Rwanda’s crisis. The second and third parts present the existent gacaca system and a theoretical framework for a truth commission. The combination of both approaches in view of the double goal of justice and reconciliation concludes this paper.