, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 85-106
Date: 15 Mar 2011

Personal and Political Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda

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Abstract

The majority of scholarly research on Rwanda currently focuses on determining the causes of and participation in the genocide. In this paper, we explore a variety of questions that have come to the forefront in post-genocide Rwanda. In particular, we are concerned with the prospects for peace and justice in the aftermath of the gross abuses of human rights that occurred and, to that end, we consider the potential uses and limits of restorative justice initiatives in the process of healing and reconciliation in Rwanda. We argue that restorative justice initiatives have moved the country closer toward reconciliation than retributive measures, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. That said, we also suggest that the Rwandan government, despite claims that it seeks to achieve reconciliation, has not shown a serious commitment to healing the wounds that persist between either individual Rwandans or the groups that they comprise. In the end, then, we make a case for the importance of pairing a comprehensive search for justice in Rwanda with a commitment to truth-telling and accountability by the victims and perpetrators of the genocide, as well as by current government officials.