Failure by responsible parties to execute Gacaca judgments, especially those concerning property destroyed during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, has been identified as a possible setback in the post-Gacaca unity and reconciliation efforts.
The concern was raised by officials of the National Unity Reconciliation and Commission (NURC) during a meeting to discuss the way forward in post-Gacaca reconciliation.
Presenting some of the views gathered from the public during last month’s Reconciliation Week, NURC Executive Secretary, Dr Jean Baptiste Habyalimana, said that the problem was creating suspicion among members of the public.
“The issue could derail the reconciliation drive because it has created counter suspicions among Genocide survivors and perpetrators, who are supposed to pay for the destroyed property,” said Habyalimana.
He observed that the public’s views during the week indicated that efforts put in place to complete Gacaca trials should be used to execute the judgments because it was upsetting the unity and reconciliation process.
Speaking to The New Times, the Mayor of Nyamasheke District, Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, said that the reason for failure by local leaders to execute Gacaca judgments was because convicts sometimes lack resources to pay the reparations.
“When such a situation prevails, it becomes tricky for the person who is supposed to enforce the judgment,” he said.
He also pointed out that there were isolated cases where the judgments are not clear, which causes problems in execution.
The mayor, however, said that in cases where it is not clear what a defendant has to repay, it is solved by bringing together both parties to agree so that the loser pays according to their ability.
A report recently accused court bailiffs of dithering in the execution of court orders.
In a survey conducted by NURC in 2010, 90 percent of Rwandans were happy that the Gacaca performed well in its mandate.
The survey also showed that 93.7 percent of Rwandans were satisfied that Gacaca helped bring out the truth about the Genocide, while 83.4 percent were satisfied that Gacaca judges exercised justice.