Justice on the grass: reconciliation or exclusion? A study of Rwandan nation-building through local justice
Hemert, K.M. van
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After the genocide in 1994, the Rwandan government was tasked with rebuilding a broken society. In addition to the international and national tribunal, a system of local justice was set up to promote reconciliation between Rwandans: the Gacaca courts. Many scholars, however, claim that the Rwandan government used the Gacaca courts to expand their power. This claim is discussed from the perspective of nation-building: shaping the idea of what the nation entails and who belongs to it. In studying the dynamics of nation-building, two phases of Gacaca are distinguished: during the trials (2002-2012) and after its closure. This thesis concludes that nation-building through Gacaca does not stop with its closure. On the contrary, as is discussed in the final chapter, the portrayal of Gacaca after its closure serves as an example of 'Rwandanness' as it is imagined by the Rwandan government.