KIGALI - Rwanda’s semi-traditional courts, Gacaca, charged with trying 1994 Genocide suspects could continue their work after 2007, it has emerged. Domitilla Mukantaganzwa, the Executive Secretary of the National Service of Gacaca Courts Jurisdiction (SNJG) said that because of added responsibilities, Gacaca courts would continue their work beyond 2007. Gacaca courts started trying Genocide suspects a couple of years ago and were initially supposed to wind-up operations at the end this month.
Mukantaganzwa explained: “We are extending not because we have failed to finish on time but because of the political will which is an advantage to all Rwandans whether victims or perpetrators.”
“That’s why the Government has requested for the amendment of the Gacaca law,” she explained.
She added: “Gacaca was only competent for the second and third files but now they have been added the first-category crimes, which are comprised of 7341 files among which 90% are related to rape and sexual violence.”
She said that certain courts had ended their trials but that others “will require an extension of one or several months”.
According to Mukantaganzwa, 95 percent of the suspects classified in the category of executants have already been tried. “We found it better even the first-category files, which include the masterminds and rape cases, to be tried by Gacaca courts,” she said.
Some Gacaca tribunals in various parts of the country have already concluded trials.