Between Punitive and Reconstructive Justice: The Gacaca Courts in Rwanda


Daly, Erin. 2002. “Between Punitive and Reconstructive Justice: The Gacaca Courts in Rwanda.” New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 34 (2): 355-96.

Author: Erin Daly


In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which almost a million people were killed by their fellow citizens within 3 months, the country was faced with the colossal task of bringing to justice hundreds of thousands of perpetrators while at the same time trying to rebuild the communities in which both the victims and the perpetrators had lived. This article argues that the regime of gacaca courts, though flawed in many ways, particularly from a western perspective, does nonetheless offer the potential for helping the communities within Rwanda to transform themselves. The form and structure of gacaca are analyzed in this article, and their transformative potential is evaluated.

Keywords: restorative justice, Rwanda, human rights, gacaca courts, genocide

Topics: Genocide, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2002

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