The cost of the truth

11 April 2008 by J. COLL METCALFE

As she makes her way down the hill to the field she is preparing for planting, Anastasia Mukaruteke greets her neighbors with smiles. It is only when they are out of earshot that Anastasia drops the facade. "Killers, every one of them," she says. "Some of them even killed my family, but I pretend not to know because I don't want any trouble."

One of the genocide's cruelest legacies is the demographics it created, where the population of those who survived the carnage is dwarfed by the population responsible for it. It is a reality that poses serious challenges to the country, particularly for its gacaca process *see IJT2 and IJT22+. "Have we ever seen a society where the slaughterers outnumber the survivors?" says Dr. Naason Munyamundatsa, a psychologist with the Kigali-based Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace. "What this means for gacaca is that there is no incentive for anyone, survivor and perpetrator alike, to admit anything. The survivor knows the truth is going to anger people and the perpetrator has conspirators to protect."

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