Gacaca courts to close in June

KIGALI - The National Gacaca Courts Service (SNJG) has announced that the courts are to close by June this year as most of the cases have been disposed off. Gacaca courts are semi traditional courts introduced by the country to deal with the over a million backlog of cases of persons suspected of committing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

KIGALI - The National Gacaca Courts Service (SNJG) has announced that the courts are to close by June this year as most of the cases have been disposed off.

Gacaca courts are semi traditional courts introduced by the country to deal with the over a million backlog of cases of persons suspected of committing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

In an interview with The New Times, the SNJG Director of training, mobilisation and Sensitisation, Denis Bikesha said that the service has completed over 1.5 million cases and only a few remain untried.

The latest Gacaca report dated September 30, 2008, indicates that 1,127,706 Genocide cases had passed through Gacaca courts and among those only 4,679 remained untried.

“These statistics have since changed since the compilation of this report, as of now, over 1.5 million cases have been completed,” said Bikesha.

The additional number of cases is attributed to a decision by government to transfer some the suspects formally under Category One—which had initially been reserved for conventional courts to Gacaca.

Bikesha said that as per their schedule, all trials before Gacaca courts including those on appeal and revision will be concluded by the end of June.

He added that after the closure, main offices will remain working on data compilation and making a final report and the service will close down in December this year.

The 2008 report had put Genocide ideology as one of the main stumbling blocks to the Gacaca process but according to Bikesha, these cases have significantly gone down.

Gacaca courts which have been praised by many legal experts were adopted with the purpose of administering justice while promoting national unity and reconciliation.

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