Sunday, December 9, 2007


The judges are called inyangamugayo. They are 9 people elected by the village. the should be impartial and above reproach. The accusation is read out, then the accused speaks on his own behalf. Then the victim is called. This lady's husband was killed and dismembered. The townspeople who have to say something do so: elequently, to the point. if the defendant gives an illogical reply someone will point it out. Witnesses speak about the events, under the watchful eyes of the towns people. It seems to me that although the legal preconditions in our country are not fulfilled in this court that it is the way forward to find out what happened, and to come to a reinsertion in the community of the perpetrators of bad deeds. The great thing is that the country accepts this way of doing things and feels that justice will prevail this way. No lawyers, no tricks, but a hard confrontation. People go through their pain and loss and the defendant apologizes, asks for forgivenes. Most of the time it is granted. There was no judgment that day I witnessed this case. I thought the defendant was an overbearing, rude, not too intelligent man, a guy one has a hard time being impartial about. But one witness testified they were running away together in order not to be killed. Sad, hard powerful, and a nonviolent way of resolving festering conflicts. More power to the Gacaca system. The expectation is that all cases will be tried beginning next year. So people can move forward and live a better life.

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