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Home arrow Law arrow United States law and policy on transitional justice : principles, politics, and pragmatics
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E. ADDITIONAL TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE INSTITUTIONS

To supplement the ICTR, both the GoR and the international community later instituted various transitional justice institutions, primarily prosecutorial in nature. In total, there have been four main transitional justice mechanisms for Rwanda: two inside Rwanda—prosecutions by ordinary domestic courts and gacaca (also known as “gacaca courts” or “gacaca jurisdictions”)—and two outside Rwanda—prosecutions through the ICTR and in foreign countries. As this Part has already discussed the ICTR, the three other mechanisms are summarized below.145

Rwandan Transitional Justice Institutions

After the genocide, the GoR imprisoned approximately 120,000 individuals suspected of perpetrating atrocities.146 With the assistance of the UN, foreign governments, and NGOs, the GoR rebuilt its infrastructure. In the process, the GoR instituted two primary mechanisms for addressing genocidaires not prosecuted by the ICTR: domestic national prosecutions and gacaca (a revived and revised version of Rwanda’s traditional conflict resolution system).

Rwanda’s national court system began trying the most egregious genocide suspects not pursued by the ICTR, but often only after the suspects had sat in pretrial detention for several years. By 2000, more than 2500 people had been tried, 370 of whom had received the death penalty, 800 of whom had received life imprisonment, 500 of whom had been acquitted, and the remainder of whom had received prison sentences of various durations.147

In 2001, local Rwandan communities elected over 250,000 of their neighbors to serve as judges in 11,000 gacaca jurisdictions.148 Over its decade of operation, gacaca addressed the overwhelming majority of suspected gdnocidaires}49 One expert on gacaca, political scientist Phil Clark, describes the process as follows:

Derived from the Kinyarwanda word meaning “the lawn” or “the grass”— in reference to the conducting of hearings in open spaces in full view of the community—gacaca is a traditional Rwandan method of conflict resolution that has been controversially revived and transformed to meet the perceived needs of the post-genocide environment. Gacaca gives respected individuals elected by the local population the duty of prosecuting cases and excludes professional judges and lawyers from participating in any official capacity.150

Foreign Transitional Justice Institutions

In addition to Rwanda’s domestic prosecutions, other states have prosecuted suspected genocidaires on their territory, through a claim of universal jurisdiction and sometimes referred by the ICTR.151 As an alternative to prosecutions for alleged conduct during the genocide, some countries in which suspected geno- cidaires sought refuge have tried those individuals for lying on their immigration applications about their whereabouts and activities during the genocide. For example, in 2013, a U.S. federal court convicted Beatrice Munyenyezi of making false statements in her asylum application and stripped her of American citizenship. The United States may eventually deport Munyenyezi to Rwanda to face trial for suspected crimes during the genocide.152

 
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