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Beyond dichotomies. The quest for justice and reconciliation and the politics of national identity building in post-genocide Rwanda.

By Kazuyuki Sasaki


Justice and reconciliation are both highly complex concepts that are often\ud described as incompatible alternatives in the aftermath of violent conflicts,\ud despite the fact that both are fundamental to peacebuilding in societies divided\ud by the legacies of political violence, oppression and exclusion. This thesis\ud examines the relationship between justice and reconciliation, pursued as\ud essential ingredients of peacebuilding. After advancing an inclusive working\ud conceptual framework in which seemingly competing conceptions regarding\ud justice and reconciliation are reconceived to work compatibly for building peace,\ud the thesis presents the results of an in-depth case study of Rwanda¿s\ud post-genocide justice and reconciliation endeavour.\ud The thesis focuses on Rwanda¿s justice and reconciliation efforts and their\ud relationship to the ongoing challenge of reformulating Rwandans¿ social\ud identities. A field research conducted for this study revealed that issues of\ud victimhood, justice and reconciliation were highly contested among individuals\ud and groups with varied experiences of the country¿s violent history. Resolving\ud these conflicting narratives so that each Rwandan¿s narrative/identity is\ud dissociated from the negation of the other¿s victimhood emerged as a paramount\ud challenge in Rwanda¿s quest for justice and reconciliation. Rwanda¿s approach\ud to justice and reconciliation can be seen as an innovative both/and approach\ud that seeks to overcome dichotomous thinking by addressing various justice and\ud reconciliation concerns in compatible ways. However, by limiting its efforts to the\ud issues that arose from crimes committed under the former regimes, the justice\ud and reconciliation endeavour of the Rwandan government fails to reconcile\ud people¿s conflicting narratives of victimhood, which will be essential to transform\ud the existing racialised and politicised ethnic identities of Rwandan people.Foundation for Advanced Studies on International\ud Development (FASID

Topics: Conflict transformation, Peace-building, Reconciliation, Restorative justice, Retributive justice, Rwanda-Ethnic relations, Rwanda-Politics and government
Publisher: Department of Peace Studies
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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