Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the Government of National Unity embarked upon the ambitious task of trying over 100,000 detainees suspected of participating, at some level, in the genocide. By 1998, having experienced little success with formal trials, the government began developing plans to amend the traditional dispute resolution mechanism, known as gacaca, in an attempt to achiew both justice and reconciliation. Serious criticism has been voiced over the gacaca jurisdictions, claiming, in part, that they fail to meet Rwanda's due process obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). While perhaps not conforming to the letter of the law, the gacaca jurisdictions do have the potential to embody its spirit by serving the need for justice and accountability in Rwanda while fostering a culture of human rights protection in a country that has long ignored them.
L D. Tully,
Human Rights Compliance and the Gacaca Jurisdictions in Rwanda ,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.