Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rwanda’s decision to exempt crimes committed by soldiers in its 1994 genocide from prosecution has undermined the judicial process, Human Rights Watch said.

In a new report, HRW said that excluding crimes committed by soldiers from the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), now the ruling party, in laws that set up community courts known as “gacaca” might undermine their success.
A government statement said that HRW’s report was
“misleading, unbalanced and does not reflect the truth”.
The courts were established in 2001 to address an overload of the country’s 1994 genocide-related cases in the conventional justice system. Since 2005, more than 12000 gacaca courts have tried 1,2 million cases relating to the mass murders.
The courts were originally scheduled to wind up trials by mid-2010, but their closure was postponed. The justice minister this month said the courts would be shut down by December.
The HRW report, “Justice Compromised: The Legacy of Rwanda’s Community-Based Gacaca Courts”, said that Kigali’s ambitious experiment in transitional justice would leave a mixed legacy.
“Soldiers of the RPF, which ended the genocide in July 1994 and went on to form the current government, killed tens of thousands of people between April and December 1994,” said Leslie Haskell, a researcher with HRW.
“In 2004, the gacaca law was amended to exclude such crimes, and the government worked to ensure that these crimes were not discussed in gacaca.” HRW recommended that as the courts finish their work, Rwanda should set up more specialized units in the national court system to review alleged miscarriages of justice.
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said that while Kigali was open to constructive criticism as it builds a modern, developed justice system, reports that misrepresented the gacaca courts were not constructive.
“It is a great shame that HRW has chosen yet again to chase headlines with its choice of title for today’s report,” Karugarama said.
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