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The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda


  • Page extent: 402 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.75 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 364.15/10967571
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: KTD454 .C57 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Genocide--Rwanda
    • Gacaca justice system
    • Restorative justice--Rwanda

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521193481)

Since 2001, the Gacaca community courts have been the centrepiece of Rwanda's justice and reconciliation programme. Nearly every adult Rwandan has participated in the trials, principally by providing eyewitness testimony concerning genocide crimes. Lawyers are banned from any official involvement, an issue that has generated sustained criticism from human rights organisations and international scepticism regarding Gacaca's efficacy. Drawing on more than six years of fieldwork in Rwanda and nearly five hundred interviews with participants in trials, this in-depth ethnographic investigation of a complex transitional justice institution explores the ways in which Rwandans interpret Gacaca. Its conclusions provide indispensable insight into post-genocide justice and reconciliation, as well as the population's views on the future of Rwanda itself.

• Provides in-depth empirical research from Rwanda, giving readers on-the-ground material rather than abstract analyses • Examines the complete Gacaca process, including its history and evidence from hearings throughout the lifespan of the process • Combines empirical and normative considerations of transitional justice in general


Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Map of Rwanda; Introduction; 1. Framing Gacaca: transitional justice themes; 2. Moulding tradition: the history, law and hybridity of Gacaca; 3. Interpreting Gacaca: the rationale for analysing a dynamic socio-legal institution; 4. The Gacaca journey: the rough road to justice and reconciliation; 5. Gacaca's modus operandi: engagement through popular participation; 6. Gacaca's pragmatic objectives; 7. Accuser, liberator or reconciler? Truth through Gacaca; 8. Law, order and restoration: peace and justice through Gacaca; 9. Mending hearts and minds: healing and forgiveness through Gacaca; 10. (Re)fusing social bonds: Gacaca and reconciliation; Conclusion; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.


'Clark's book is the culmination of nine years of research on and in Rwanda, and it exhibits the combination of breadth and level of detail that is made possible through such an extended engagement with a topic … Clark provides his readers with a wide horizon of possible interpretations of this unique process, and this book will certainly reorient the debates in future gacaca scholarship.' Christian M. De Vos, International Journal of Transitional Justice

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