Rwanda: November 3, 2000


Rwanda faces a huge backlog of genocide-related trials. Western news sources and UN investigators say Rwanda still has around 119,000 prisoners involved in 112,000 genocide cases. Now UN human rights advisers say the Rwandan government is contemplating using a "traditional justice system" called "Gacaca" to help reduce the judicial backlog. Gacaca is a commune-based system. 10 people serve as judges. The investigation and court hearing is conducted in public. The accused must confront their victims' relatives in public. Gacaca would not handle murder cases, but would handle theft and torture cases. Rwanda would allow appeals for death sentences given through the Gacaca system.


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