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Genocide and the Legal Process in Rwanda: From Genocide Amnesty to the New Rule of Law

NCJ Number
International Criminal Justice Review Volume: 19 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2009 Pages: 192-207
Augustine Brannigan; Nicholas A. Jones
Date Published
June 2009
16 pages
This article traces the historical pattern of the laws of violence in Rwanda, from the amnesty law leading to genocide and reformation leading to the new rule of law, guaranteeing legal rights.
By any objective measure, the regime created in 1994 on the ashes of genocide has made considerable progress. Rwanda has gone from a legal framework that essentially institutionalized massacres as a method of political control, the amnesty laws, to an independent republic in which the rule of law and democratic institutions are central to the national political agenda. This article describes the amnesty law and its role in creating a culture of impunity that led to genocide. It explains how the Gacaca courts arose in the face of massive criminal caseloads and describes the legal changes that reformed the judiciary and paved the way for constitutional guarantees of legal rights. Table, notes, and references


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