Gacaca Courts Under Human Rights Scrutiny

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


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.


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 


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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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