Reconciliation Village Hosts Victims, Perpetrators of Rwandan Genocide
From the article by Zack Baddorf on Voice of America News:
It's been more than 16 years since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that left about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead. Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who was re-elected in August with 93 percent of the vote, says now there are no longer Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, only Rwandans. As a test of how well the different ethnic groups can live together, victims and perpetrators of the genocide are living side-by-side in a small community known as the Reconciliation Village.
Truth and reconciliation at a price
The societal impact of gacaca on post-genocide Rwanda has been highly variable. Gacaca’s volatility results from the enormous number of communities involved, which themselves vary greatly in terms of their experiences of the genocide and the nature of inter-ethnic relations today. Over the last nine years, gacaca has recorded two principal successes and confronted two main challenges.
First, gacaca has proven remarkably successful at expediting the post-genocide justice process, delivering accountability for hundreds of thousands of génocidaires. In the process, it has commuted many convicted perpetrators’ sentences to overcome the problem of overcrowded prisons and facilitated the reintegration of most detainees into everyday society. Thus, the Rwandan government will soon have delivered on its promise of comprehensive prosecutions of those responsible for committing genocide crimes but without recreating the problem of overcrowded jails that necessitated gacaca in the first place....
Nigerian lawyers insist on criminal justice reforms
....Professor Kelvin Nwosu a former Director Academics of the Nigerian Law School had argued that the country's legal system which places much emphasis on retributive rather than restorative justice "has given rise to lack of remorse on the part of offenders who now demand proof of their culpability during trial rather than show remorse."
Nwosu, who was speaking in Abuja during the launch of the book: "Current Issues on Sentencing, Custodial Reforms and The Criminal Administration in Nigeria", written in honour of Justice Lawal Hassan Gummi, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, wondered why the sentencing and custodial option should be adopted and thereafter public funds are spent again to decongest the prisons.
Coetzee does not talk about his childhood. He speaks about the planning that went into the bombing, how he was chosen for his excellent military skills, the years he has spent in prison. He asks for their questions, and the group responds. How did he learn to hate black people? How did he unlearn this hatred? How does he spend his days now? Is he sorry? And if he is so sorry, what can he give them? Coetzee admits he has nothing material to give the world except the leather belt that holds up his overalls. But, he says, God willing, if he gets out of jail, he can begin to attempt to compensate for what he has done. "There are children now in South Africa," he says, "children without parents. They might be tempted to get into violent gangs, to follow anger instead of love." He says, "I can show them that the first life you have to change is your own."
Zimbabwe: Calls for restorative justice must be heeded now
from an entry on Kubatana.net:
This becomes a strong case for the open discussion of what evil has been spawned by political violence and the need for a truth and reconciliation commission so people can move on with their lives. Yet some people in their wisdom think the past can take care of itself by natural processes of time and have been arrogant to calls for a naming and shaming of people behind the raping and killing of wives and mothers since independence.
The question for many is that what really can be expected from the people who are accused of heinous political crime and still control state apparatus that would in essence be in charge of letting the law take its course? So does the nation wait for that epoch when they are no longer in government and then they are tracked and shot down like rabid dogs?
You cannot compare apples to oranges: Ubushingantahe vs. criminal justice
Conflict resolution in Burundi was halted for decades due to the ongoing ethnic strife between the Hutus and the Tutsis. As the Burundian civil war continued, a British based organization named ActionAid helped to rebuild customary institutions that were destroyed by the conflict, and the Bashingantahe council, known also as Ubushingantahe, was one.
However, in 2000, the passage of the Arusha Accord settled the civil war, brought about peace negotiations, and formally recognized the Ubushingantahe as a conciliatory judicial mechanism.
Collected essays, 2008-2010: Debating international justice in Africa
Assembling nearly two years of critical debates convened by Oxford Transitional Justice Research, the collection of nearly 60 essays explores the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other judicial processes at a crucial stage in the development of international justice in Africa. The June 2010 review conference of the ICC in Kampala provides an opportunity to identify the successes and shortcomings of these processes and to lay the foundation for more effective approaches in the future.
The debates in this volume highlight that there is major disagreement over the performance and legacies of international justice institutions in Africa. The purpose of this collection is to deepen discussions of these issues and to provoke new questions about the past and future directions of international justice in Africa.
We must protect victims, Ocampo's witnesses too
Louis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, has come and gone. His visit did not, however, clarify what Kenyans are impatient to know.
We know he is pursuing cases involving politicians from both sides of the Grand Coalition, in which businesspeople, civil servants and state security agents may also be involved. But which cases specifically remain unclear.
Trauma care in April
from the Prison Fellowship Rwanda blog:
The month of April is a very difficult time for most Rwandans. April 7, 2010 marks the sixteenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, where over one million Rwandans were killed in just under 100 days.
Sixteen years after the genocide is not a long time, and memories of the pain and loss are still raw and fresh in the minds of thousands of Rwandans. Many Rwandan survivors suffer from trauma and traumatic episodes during the period of April as they remember the horrific crimes experienced against them.
Justice, reconciliation and peacebuilding: Seen through African eyes
In 2000 the Catholic Diocese of Damongo in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Services started a peace project to build local capacity for justice-building, reconciliation and peace-building. In the course of my work I had to deal with the issue of the relevance of a Western style peace-building in African conflicts. Why not use the African traditional systems of conflict resolution? Implicit in these statements is the assumption that the Western style is foreign and in effective. African traditional systems work better in an African setting. African conflicts, African solutions. At the international level, indigenous and traditional practices of peace-building are regarded as unaccountable, opague and contradictory to the “enlightened” intentions of Western form of peacebuilding (liberal Peace) and internationally sponsored post war reconstruction efforts.