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Reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda: the transitional justice paradox

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(Project) M.A.
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Author: Kent, Emily
This paper addresses the issue of transitional justice using Rwanda as a case study. It attempts to describe how exactly countries such as Rwanda go about trying to reconcile past atrocities while attempting to create a more democratic future. In that regard, it analyzes the instruments of transitional justice that the country has used including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, national courts, and Gacaca. More specifically, the paper argues that the current Rwandan government, under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, is hindering the effectiveness of these mechanisms of transitional justice. This is because the government is pro-Tutsi and highly authoritarian. Consequently, Kagame’s undemocratic policies jeopardize successful efforts in trying to reconcile the nation, as many Hutus feel threatened and suppressed by his regime. Finally, until Kagame is willing to truly move Rwanda towards more liberal democracy, the country’s ambitious endeavor in transitional justice will not be successful.
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