Adjudicating the perpetrators of genocide: A preliminary investigation into the judicial response to genocide in Rwanda

Jones, Nicholas A.   University of Calgary (Canada) ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2006. NR19156.

Abstract (summary)

The research presents an exploratory and comparative analysis of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Rwandan National Judiciary, and the Gacaca Courts. These three judicial arenas are involved in the process of adjudicating approximately 750,000 perpetrators of genocide.

The research involved three field excursions to Rwanda and Tanzania. Many of the key actors in the judicial processes were interviewed, the courts were observed and various documents were collected. The research incorporates a theoretical framework that includes restorative and retributive justice.

Although the research is exploratory in nature, the "jury" as it were, remains "out", a number of conclusions were nonetheless drawn. The achievement of simply engaging in such a monumental task must be applauded. Especially within Rwanda, and more specifically, the Gacaca, the process can be seen as the largest community-based judicial undertaking in recent history. The Rwandan National Judiciary is undergoing a massive reconstruction effort to establish the Rule of Law. The work of the ICTR has produced significant international jurisprudence that may have its impact at the International Criminal Court.

Despite these significant achievements a number of contradictions also became apparent. Continuity in the efforts of the three judicial realms was not observed. Rather a distinctive and pervasive discontinuity appeared between the Rwandan and the international efforts. There was also a politicization of the judicial processes that undermines the overall notion of achieving justice for the victims. Additionally, a discontinuity in the allocation of resources was readily apparent. The ICTR operates on a budget over twenty times that of the entire Rwandan Judiciary while only addressing perhaps 100 of the three quarters of a million perpetrators. The ability of the Rwandan effort to successfully address the enormous number of cases is a final issue that became evident during the course of the research. The Rwandan judicial system appears to be ill-equipped to handle the burden of a case-load of such proportions.

Despite the limitations and contradictions that were observed, the success of the judicial response to genocide may lie in the fact that the effort brings to the forefront recognition of the atrocities that took place.

Indexing (details)

Business indexing term
International relations
0627: Criminology
0398: Law
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Adjudicating; Genocide; Judicial response; Rwanda
Adjudicating the perpetrators of genocide: A preliminary investigation into the judicial response to genocide in Rwanda
Jones, Nicholas A.
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 67/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
University of Calgary (Canada)
University location
Canada -- Alberta, CA
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL