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Rwanda's Gacaca CourtsBetween Retribution and Reparation$
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Paul Christoph Bornkamm

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199694471

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199694471.001.0001

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The Implementation of Modern Gacaca

The Implementation of Modern Gacaca

(p.31) 2. The Implementation of Modern Gacaca
Rwanda's Gacaca Courts


Oxford University Press

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

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