The volumes of documentation accumulated by Gacaca courts, that are in their final stages, need to be carefully preserved. These records are of great significance, not only to Rwandans, but also the international community.
This unique judicial dispensation, adapted from the Rwandan traditional judicial system, offers great lessons on how post-conflict societies can deliver justice. Disposing of about 1.5 million cases within five years is a remarkable feat.
Rwanda has received delegations from countries emerging out of conflict, coming to look at what the Gacaca system has achieved, with a possibility of exporting it to their own countries. Without these documents to act as reference, this will not be possible.
It will be through proper preservation of these documents that justice will prevail, as evidence against those sentenced in absentia would be available to form the basis for future arrests.
The records will serve as a reference for future generations, who would want to understand the true context of our country’s history – one that Rwandans have been deprived of, as it was distorted by those who were intent on murderously advancing their political agenda.
Furthermore, the preservation of the Gacaca archives should be made easier today, considering the country’s commitment to promoting ICT.
The Government has put in place necessary infrastructure, including, the National Data Centre, which, upon completion, will be able to store information from Rwandan public and private entities.
CNLG should consider making use of this option in preserving these documents.