Rwandan Genocide Analysis

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The Rwandan Genocide of 1994 saw the highest level of violent atrocities and killings committed against the Tutsi ethnic group as perpetrated by the Hutu ethnic group. The Rwandan Genocide remains to be one of the most notable genocides of the 20th Century due to the significant number of civilians, killed of approximately ‘500,000 to 800,000’ Bhavani and Backer (2000) tutsi’s slaughtered in the short time of 90 Days. The genocide occurred as a result of ethnic, political and socio-economic tensions triggered by Belgian colonial rule aiming to divide these ethnic groups into three distinct categories ‘Hutu, Tutsi or Twa’. The shooting of Hutu president Habyarimana’s plane triggered the violence, as ‘this event was all the justification …show more content…

The Rwandan genocide not only wiped out ordinary civilians but on the sector level devastated the criminal justice system of Rwanda due to the murders of judiciaries, lawyers, judges, prosecutors who unfortunately fell victims to these mass atrocities (Longman 2009, Human Rights Watch 2011). Accountability for these atrocities was difficult to achieve due to the high numbers of civilians who partipated in the genocide, and the high prison population of individuals detained for these crimes which the national courts, and international courts were unable to process and trial efficiently. The Gacaca system an indigenous system of conflict resolution adapted to the needs of providing communal justice, by involving Rwandan’s within the Justice process. Aside from trailing and prosecuting ‘gacaca’s mandate was extended to include a focus on truth-telling, reconciliation and the reintegration of prisoners’. Palmer (2005:4) The extension of Gacacas mandate to include reconciliation and truth telling was a necessary measure as it played a strong role in not only providing justice for the victims of the genocide, but provides perpetrator the opportunity to express remorse for their actions, which was an absent factor of both the national and international mechanisms. For reconciliation to be truly fostered, perpetrators must acknowledge that their actions were wrongful, negatively impacting on individuals, and must be given a platform, to express these feelings and remorse which the gacaca system aimed to provide, in a complex three-part interaction between the victim, perpetrator and members of the community who witnessed the violence. In order to examine the extent to which Gacaca, has fulfilled its primary goals, an outline of Gacaca’s Jurisdictions is strongly

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