gacaca

article
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.

article
08 May 2006 by Louis Martin Rugendo

Since 1996, 146,000 people in Rwanda have reportedly confessed to taking part in the genocide, according to the latest estimates IJT received from the national office for the Gacaca courts. In 1996, a procedure was introduced into the law for confessing and pleading guilty to crimes. This then became the leitmotif of the 2000 organic law governing the Gacaca peoples' courts attracting the support of an impressive number of people. However, the Rwandan society is paying a heavy price for the success of these confessions, taken both from people in prison and from people still at large in the hills.

article
17 March 2007 by Louis Martin Rugendo

Two years after the official March 10, 2005 start date for genocide trials before gacaca (community) courts, nearly 60,000 decisions have been rendered. This impressive figure, however, represents only 7% of those being prosecuted in Rwanda. And yet, the government has announced gacaca trials will finish at the end of 2007.

article
10 September 2007 by Louis-Martin Rugendo

On August 18, a gacaca appeals court sentenced François-Xavier Byuma, a long-time human rights defender in Rwanda, to 19 years in prison for participation in the 1994 genocide. The community court in Biryogo district in the capital of Kigali found him guilty of using firearms, participating in attacks and assaulting a young Tutsi woman with the intention of killing her—accusations that were refuted by numerous witnesses. Byuma has been detained since his sentencing by a gacaca trial court on May 27.

article
24 August 2010 by Phil Clark

In the next few weeks, Rwanda will complete the most comprehensive post-conflict justice programme attempted anywhere in the world. Since 2001, 11,000 community-based gacaca courts, overseen by locally-elected judges and barring any participation by lawyers, have prosecuted around 400,000 suspected perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.

article
21 April 2008 by Lars Waldorf

The Rwandan Parliament is currently finalizing a new amendment to the gacaca law that will shift more serious genocide cases-including rape-from the national courts to gaca-ca’s 1,545 community courts. This will be the third time the Gacaca law has been formally amended since it was first issued in 2001-and that’s not counting the various executive decrees that have also reshaped gacaca. 

issue
19 March 2007

The impossible math of gacaca justice

Two years after the official March 10, 2005 start date for genocide trials before gacaca (community) courts, nearly 60,000 decisions have been rendered. This impressive figure, however, represents only 7% of those being prosecuted in Rwanda. And yet, the government has announced gacaca trials will finish at the end of 2007.

A new Ovcara trial opens without the victims

The families of 200 people massacred at Ovcara, near Vukovar, in November 1991, were conspicuous by their absence when the trial started over again on March 12 before the Special Court for War Crimes in Belgrade. The families are demanding that the Croatian government pay their travel expenses, after having refused assistance from the Belgrade Humanitarian Law Center. At the end of the first trial in 2005, 16 defendants were sentenced to a total of 231 years in prison for what was the worst war crime committed on Croatian territory during the war in former Yugoslavia. However, on December 14, 2006, the Supreme Court of Belgrade reversed that judgment and ordered a new trial, provoking indignation from the victims.

Haradinaj, trial in troubled waters

When he first appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on March 9, 2005, Ramush Haradinaj was Prime Minister of Kosovo. A former nightclub bouncer, he became leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the conflict with Serbia in 1998. His subordinate Idriz Balaj was commander of the KLA "Black Eagles", a "rapid intervention special unit". And his uncle, Lahi Brahimaj, was in charge of the KLA's finances. But for the prosecution, the trial of these three men, which started in The Hague on March 5, 2007, is not about a resistance movement breaching the laws of war, but about the cruel abuse of power.

Brief news:

• Burundi: New impasse between United Nations and government

• Cambodia: Progress on the rules of procedure for the Extraordinary Chambers

• Afghanistan: A sanitized amnesty

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