"Justice on the Grass:" Rwanda's Community Courts

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Eight years after one of the worst acts of genocide in the 20th century, the Rwandan government is turning towards traditional forms of justice.

With nearly 100,000 people still in jail awaiting trial, formal law courts are overwhelmed with the need to process cases in a timely manner. The government has revived the "gacaca" process - Kinyarwanda for "justice on the grass" - where judges and lawyers are replaced by ordinary Rwandans.

Can the gacaca courts guarantee justice? Can they protect the civil rights of the accused?

Also, can alternative forms of justice provide something that Western law courts cannot - can community courts bring community truth and community healing to a blood-soaked nation?


Priscilla Hayner, Program Director at the International Center for
Transitional Justice and author of "Unspeakable Truths: Confronting State
Terror and Atrocities"

This program aired on June 21, 2002.


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