The politics of breaking rocks

24 October 2005 by Louis-Martin Rugendo

"Those who say we are in bondage are wrong. They forget the nature of the crimes we committed! They have been lenient with us," says Emmanuel Kamanda with conviction. Assigned to the second category of genocide perpetrators by his sector gacaca, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Kamanda has finished serving height and will perform community service to fulfill the remaining four. He is among the hundreds of people we met at a pilot site in the center of the country. They were crushing rocks to build roads.

According to Rwandan authorities, this "community service" program is a way of "extending a hand" to the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide - a way of pardoning them and reintegrating them into Rwandan society. Governed by a presidential decree dated March 7, 2005, the community service program was officially launched on September 22. With this type of sentence, convicted suspects spend only half of their time in prison. This applies only to the so-called "category 2" suspects - perpetrators, subordinates and accomplices suspected of having committed murder or assault and battery resulting in death during the genocide. "Category 1" suspects, the suspected planners, rapists and renowned killers are not entitled to such sentences.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.