A study conducted by a local think tank, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), has indicated that Gacaca courts have positively contributed to peaceful co-existence in a once totally divided society.
The study, released last week, was carried out over a one-year period. It aimed at scrutinising the state of peace in Rwanda as perceived by Rwandans in the post Genocide era.
Gacaca courts are semi-traditional courts introduced to deal with a backlog of over a million cases involving persons suspected of committing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The report says that during the consultations, majority of Rwandans who took part in the research process acknowledged that Gacaca contributed to the peaceful co-existence among Rwandans.
“The courts have led to unity and reconciliation in the society because respondents considered that it is one of the stages of the healing process after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” Dr. Naasan Munyandamutsa, a researcher at IRDP, said.
He told The New Times that the majority of the respondents conceded that the Gacaca process had brought about a new culture of justice and revealed the reality of the Genocide to the general public.
The report further mentions that Gacaca contributed to the identification of mass graves, and that Genocide survivors have been able to recover the remains of their beloved ones and accord them decent burial.
“The courts enabled people to avoid any generalisation which could be harmful to the reconciliation process,” the report reads.
Gacaca courts have so far tried 1.5 million cases since their introduction in 2001.
The National Service of Gacaca Jurisdictions is set to launch its overall final report on all its activities in December this year.