Rwandan genocide investigations to be completed by end of July

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Rwandan genocide - skulls

Kigali, Rwanda
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The investigations into the 1994 Rwandan genocide should be completed by the end of July, according to a spokesperson for the traditional Gacaca courts. The courts are a form of community based justice that were set up in an attempt to deal with the nearly 100,000 people accused of war crimes.

"Work is progressing quite fast in most places across Rwanda. We are looking at finalizing the investigation phase by the end of July", said the spokesman, Innocent Musafiri.

The courts were set up three years ago, however so far their time has been taken up with trial runs. There are 10,000 courts across the country, and they are expected to take eight years to process all accused. Regular courts would have taken up to 100 years. The judges are untrained citizens elected by their peers.

The 1994 Rwandan genocide was an eruption of ethnic conflict where Hutu militia, supported by the Hutu dominated government and encouraged by 'hate radio', attempted to ethnically cleanse the minority Tutsi. Despite numerous warnings the international community did not take serious action to prevent the atrocities, which included hacking people to death with machetes, and forcing people into buildings that were then destroyed with bulldozers. Estimates place the number killed at up to one million.