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Drawing upon general theories of transitional justice, analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Rwanda's experimental community - Essay Example

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RWANDA’S EXPERIMENTAL COMMUNITY-BASED GACACA COURTS Date Introduction The Rwandan Genocide is one of the most disturbing occurrences in history to the extent that processes of reconciling, healing, and execution of justice are seemingly overwhelming tasks…
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Drawing upon general theories of transitional justice, analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Rwandas experimental community
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"Drawing upon general theories of transitional justice, analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Rwanda's experimental community"

Download file to see previous pages Since transitional justice is interdisciplinary, it addresses several social elements and provides judicial approaches that the gacaca courts are offering in Rwanda. Rwanda’s experimental Gacaca courts are grassroots, village or community-based hearings wherein the community judges, defends as well as prosecutes individuals accused of genocide crimes1. Based on apparent outcomes of various hearings, the gacaca court system has several strengths associated with sociological, economic, cultural, and psychological benefits. Some of the economic benefits include timeliness, cost, and social drain of individuals in the prison. Besides, social relations effectively addressed by Gacaca courts include the perpetrator’s mentality or mind-set, and the general social objective of creating a unified community as well as country. However, Gacaca courts have several weaknesses, which include procurement of suspects, procedural issues, deprivation of rights of the defendant, and court legitimacy problems2. This essay will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Rwanda’s experimental community-based gacaca courts based on general theories of transitional justice. It will consider how Rwanda incorporates truth, retributive, and reconciliatory techniques of resolving conflict to address the 1994 genocide cases. Furthermore, the significance of Gacaca courts in attaining social, economic, and political needs of post-genocide Rwanda will be analyzed. Strengths of the Gacaca Courts Economic Benefits Gacaca trials have cost-related benefits because they are carried out in the communities and neighborhoods where the offenses occurred. The community-based Gacaca courts avoid enormous overhead cost that would be incurred by the government such as court costs, utilities, housing, and transportation. Furthermore, judges of Gacaca courts are paid low wages, although lack of financial benefit among judges raises arguments concerning the effectiveness of these Rwandan courts. The gacaca trials do not involve lawyers or other sanctioned salaried representation for the defendant, but allows individuals in the community to represent the accused3. However, failure to involve official representation to argue for the accused has several negative aspects associated with the non-existence of due process rights. In this sense, the accused may lack fair treatment in the process. Despite these shortcomings, it is apparent that Rwanda is applying a cost-effective system to deliver justice to her immense population. This is basically attributed to Gacaca courts’ reliance on functioning of judges as members of the community, and voluntary contributions of the communities to the trials. Another economic-related strength of Gacaca courts is timeliness. The Gacaca system avoids the slow-moving process of delivering justice and costs of formal trials that would greatly drain the economy of Rwanda. It also addresses economic drain, which result from the prison system. By disposing of the cases promptly, the Gacaca system prevents labor drain caused by imprisoned individuals who become unproductive members of the community4. Social-Relations Benefits The Rwandan society benefits on micro as well as macro levels from the gacaca courts, and its capability to consider particular sociological prototypes of perpetrators of the genocide. Most individuals accused at the Gacaca courts do not have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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