Why Restorative Justice is Best Practice: The Simultaneous Pursuit of Justice and Peace in Post-Genocide Rwanda.
This essay explores the critical role of restorative justice in facilitating a nation’s ability to acknowledge traumatic histories while simultaneously moving forward peacefully. This essay will draw on the example of Post-Genocide Rwanda, examining how the different transitional justice systems in operation have functioned. The essay discusses different strands of justice, namely retributive, deterrent and restorative in order to illustrate how a country can move forward peacefully. A discussion of Rwanda’s pursuit for justice and peace follows, focusing on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Gacaca Tribunals. Exploring Rwanda’s pursuit for peace reveals how a local, person-centred approach marks a shift away from a dyadic one-on-one victim offender mediation. Similar to the truth and reconciliation commissions in post-Apartheid South Africa, the inclusion of family members, members of the community works to ‘muddy’ the imbalances of power in the tribunal. This assists victims in moving forward while also paving the way for social rehabilitation. Restorative justice invites citizens to take responsibility for a better more stable future.