Publication Date

2002

Abstract

More than a half century ago, a violent conflict between Hutu and Tutsi broke out and evolved into a structural violence that led to the 1994 genocide of Tutsi and large-scale retribution against Hutu by Rwandese Patriotic Front soldiers. In such a protracted conflict, where the two groups have a history of enmity in the past fifty years, it is extremely difficult to break the cycle of violence. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) are however proven to effectively create conditions for a lasting reconciliation. This research is aimed to designing a model of TRC appropriate to the Rwandan context. The model lays its foundation on the African concept of Ubuntu (meaning, in Kinyarwanda, humanity and readiness to share) but also to the philosophy of preserving the clans and families through the practices of Guca Inzigo (meaning Breaking of Revenge) and Kunga (meaning Reconciliation). Building on this African concept and philosophy, and taking into account current realities and the strange nature of the events we are dealing with, I found that the mandate of the TRC should be to investigate the past atrocities and to deal with them while focusing on the prevention of future gross human rights abuses. In order to effectively carry out its mission, the TRC needs to be independent, have an ethnically diverse membership, have enough time and resources, be embedded in a broad set of social, economic and political reforms, and apply a restorative justice which has the advantage to render justice and reinforce the possibilities of healing and reconciliation.

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