After decades of cycling violence between Hutu and Tutsi groups in Rwanda and Burundi, violence peaked in 1994 with a genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda, during which the Hutu majority slaughtered 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus, leaving the country with 120,000 accused génocidaires awaiting trial. Rwanda's gacaca courts were established as a response to the backlog of untried genocide cases. These courts disturbingly distinguish between genocide and war crimes committed during the same era, trying only those accused of genocide. This article argues that the gacaca process will contribute to the insecurity of all Rwandan citizens in the future, since it pursues inequitable justice, accentuates the ethnic divide and will be interpreted as revenge.

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Copyright © 2004 Oxford University Press.

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DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adh007

Full Citation:

Joireman, Sandra F., and Allison Corey. "Retributive Justice: The Gacaca Process in Rwanda." African Affairs 103, no. 410 (2004): 73-89. doi:10.1093/afraf/adh007.