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Courts in ConflictInterpreting the Layers of Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda$
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Nicola Palmer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199398195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199398195.001.0001

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Inside the Gacaca Courts

Inside the Gacaca Courts

Chapter:
(p.115) 4 Inside the Gacaca Courts
Source:
Courts in Conflict
Author(s):

Nicola Palmer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199398195.003.0005

Chapter 4 discusses the mandate of the gacaca courts and the current appraisals of their practice, arguing for the importance of taking specific account of the agency of the locally elected lay judges, the inyangamugayo. Detailed qualitative research highlights how personnel inside gacaca view their central contribution as having been toward obtaining a local understanding of the conflict, while acknowledging the real constraints on this process of truth-telling. However, there are marked differences between what this objective means to personnel working in the central gacaca offices and to the inyangamugayo. The final section analyzes the implications of these understandings of gacaca’s work for the concurrent practice of criminal justice in Rwanda. The gacaca courts have prioritized their own local objectives, and specific gacaca courts have pursued trials that are in direct conflict with proceedings already initiated at the national and international level.

Keywords:   gacaca, mandate, inyangamugayo, truth-telling, Rwandan criminal justice

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