Advertisement

Gacaca Courts Under Human Rights Scrutiny

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

Abstract

This chapter assesses gacaca courts against the background provided by domestic and international norms governing fair trial standards. The question whether gacaca courts provided a fair trial has been answered by investigators in different, sometimes contrasting ways. The concerns expressed by scholars and practitioners regarding the respect by gacaca of key principles of fairness, such as independence of the judges, non-retroactivity of criminal law, the right to defence, double jeopardy and the presumption of innocence, are given wide room. This investigation answers the questions regarding whether gacaca courts respected constitutional and international fair trial standards providing a fair trial in terms of formal justice. To assess gacaca however it is also necessary to answer the question whether these courts, despite formal shortcomings, were able to provide fair trial in substantive terms. The latter aspect is in the spotlight on the next chapters, which analyse the daily practice of gacaca courts and the perceptions of ordinary Rwandans concerning the fairness of the trial before gacaca.

Keywords

Fair trial standards ICCPR Universal Declaration of Human Rights Human Rights Committee African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Dakar Resolution on Fair Trial and Judicial Assistance in Africa (Dakar Declaration 1999) non-retroactivity of criminal law 

References

  1. Amnesty International (2002) Rwanda: Gacaca: A Question of Justice. https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr47/007/2002/en/. Last accessed 27 February 2018
  2. Bornkamm P (2012) Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts: Between Retribution and Reparation. Oxford University Press, Oxford/New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clark P (2010) The Gacaca Courts, Post-genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda, Justice without Lawyers. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  4. Fierens J (2005) Gacaca Courts: Between Fantasy and Reality. 3 Journal of International Criminal JusticeGoogle Scholar
  5. Haile D (2008) Rwanda’s Experiment in People’s Courts (gacaca) and the Tragedy of Unexamined Humanitarianism: A Normative/Ethical Perspective. Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of AntwerpGoogle Scholar
  6. Haveman RH, Muleefu A (2011) The Fairness of Gacaca. In: Rothe DL, Mullins CW (eds) State Crime: Current Perspectives. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, pp 219–230Google Scholar
  7. Human Rights Watch (2000) Rwanda: De la recherche de la sicurit aux abus des droits de I’homme. http://pantheon.hrw.org/legacy/french/reports/rwfr/index.htm. Last accessed 28 February 2018
  8. Human Rights Watch (2011) Justice Compromised the Legacy of Rwanda’s Community-Based Gacaca Courts. https://www.hrw.org/report/2011/05/31/justice-compromised/legacy-rwandas-community-based-gacaca-courts. Last accessed 4 February 2018
  9. Ingelaere B (2016) Inside Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts. The University of Wisconsin Press, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  10. Long M et al (1999) Les grands arrêts de la jurisprudence administrative. Dalloz, ParisGoogle Scholar
  11. Longman T (2006) Justice at the grassroots? Gacaca trials in Rwanda. In: Roth-Arriaza N, Mariezcyrrena J (eds) Transitional justice in the twenty-first century. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  12. Penal Reform International (2001) PRI Research on Gacaca Report, Rapport I, ‘Gacaca jurisdictions and its preparations’, https://www1.essex.ac.uk/armedcon/story_id/000868.pdf Last accessed 4 February 2018
  13. Penal Reform International (2010) Eight Years On…A Record of Gacaca Monitoring in Rwanda, http://srsg.violenceagainstchildren.org/sites/default/files/consultations/restorative_justice/presentations/nikhil_roy/Gacaca.pdf. Last accessed 3 March 2018
  14. Schabas W (2002) The Rwanda Case: Sometimes It’s Impossible. In: Bassiouni M (ed) Post-Conflict Justice. Transnational Publishers, ArdsleyGoogle Scholar
  15. Schabas W (2005) Genocide Trials and Gacaca Courts, Journal of International Criminal Justice 3:879–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. UN Commission on Human Rights (2010) Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) E/CN.4/SR.110Google Scholar
  17. UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (1985) Report A/CONF.121/22/Rev.1Google Scholar
  18. UN Economic and Social Council (1999) Situation de droits de I’homme au Rwanda, Resolution of the Human Rights Commission 1999/20Google Scholar
  19. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2000) Background Paper on the Human Rights Situation in Rwanda. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/5A90CEF120119A91852569140066B949-rwanda00.pdf. Last accessed 28 February 2018
  20. UN Human Rights Committee (1984) CCPR General Comment No. 13: Article 14 (Administration of Justice), Equality before the Courts and the Right to a Fair and Public Hearing by an Independent Court Established by Law, 13 April, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/453883f90.html. Last accessed 4 February 2018
  21. UN Human Rights Committee (2007) General comment no. 32, Article 14, Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to fair trial CCPR/C/GC/32Google Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brussels School of International StudiesUniversity of KentBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations