• Pietro SulloEmail author
Part of the International Criminal Justice Series book series (ICJS, volume 20)


The crime of genocide triggers a multiplicity of questions regarding victims, perpetrators and bystanders. Transitional justice has tried to address the issues emerging from contexts marked by genocidal violence: possible forms of accountability for perpetrators, repair and healing for the victims and reconciliation for the society involved. However, systematic analysis in the field of transitional justice is embryonic and there is little evidence concerning its achievements in terms of reconciliation, peace-building and healing. This book concentrates on the most ambitious programme of prosecution for genocide-related crimes ever: Rwandan gacaca courts. Gacaca courts aimed at punishing the genocide perpetrators, searching for the truth, encouraging dialogue between former enemies, reconstructing the social fabric, repairing the harm to victims and achieving reconciliation. Gacaca courts have also drawn attention to the use of traditional customary patterns of justice as a transitional justice instrument, emerging as a possible model for prospective transitional justice strategies. Due to their key features, grass-roots nature, flexible procedures, presence of lay judges directly elected by the population that witnessed the genocide and lack of defence lawyers, gacaca courts have triggered a heated debate. This chapter explains why Rwanda has emerged as a key test for transitional justice and how the analysis of gacaca as an accountability, reparation and reconciliation mechanism is articulated.


Transitional justice traditional justice systems reconciliation criminology victimology legal pluralism ICTR 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the author 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brussels School of International StudiesUniversity of KentBrusselsBelgium

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