Over 93% of Rwandans believe that the Gacaca courts were very influential in delivering justice and facilitating the successful reconciliation of Rwandans, a study by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission has revealed.
This has been revealed by a new report compiled by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) after a recent survey titled “the National Reconciliation Barometer.”
Gacaca courts are semi traditional courts introduced to deal with a backlog of over a million cases of individuals suspected to have played a role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The survey, titled, – the National Reconciliation Barometer – showed that most Rwandans believe that through Gacaca, the truth about the genocide, as it really happened, was revealed and that those convicted through the system got fair punishment.
In the survey report, the Chairperson of NURC, retired Bishop, John Ruchyahana, noted that although the country had achieved a lot, it still needs to speed up the building of a prosperous and peaceful country.
“We are witnessing a new era in Rwanda and making new records of togetherness and mutual respect,” Rushyahana said.
“What we have achieved in the last sixteen years must energize us to go further in cleaning up the understanding and behaviors which could be a barrier of unity and reconciliation amongst Rwandans.”
The survey also revealed that 60% consider themselves Rwandans who are not identified along the ethnic lines that saw more than a million people perish during the Genocide.
“Given the country’s history which characterized a collapsed society, there was need to evaluate truth and reconciliation efforts, and the results are commendable. Today, Rwandans are proud to be what they are,” Rushyahana added.
On the work of the International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which was established by the UN to try genocide masterminds, the survey indicated that 25 percent of Rwandans had no opinion on whether the tribunal is effective. About 59% feel it was and 13 regarded the ICTR as ineffective.