A Sense of shared loss : post-genocide justice and reconciliation in Rwanda
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This study couldn’t have been timelier. During the entire period of this study the doctrine of R2P approached a normative turn with NATO’s intervention in Libya under a UNSC Chapter VII mandate and a near total shattering with the Syrian conflict; Mubarak’s reign over Egypt was ended by a popular uprising and a domestic justice mechanism set in motion to bring him and his sons to justice; Charles Taylor is sentenced to 50 years in jail for aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes in the conflict in Sierra Leone. Despite these rapid developments in international justice, human security and the protection of civilians, the nexus between justice and reconciliation remains questionable. This study is thus set in this backdrop as it sorts to examine Rwanda’s post genocide justice system instituted as a necessary prerequisite to genuine reconciliation. By employing specific qualitative techniques designed to capture the perception of Hutu exiles and by examining four thematic issues associated with Rwanda’s genocide and employing a context driven dispute and conflict theory as a framework of analysis, the study reaches the conclusion that in the situation of an intra-state conflict deeply immersed in long term historical antagonisms driven partially by exogenously constructed ‘mythologies’ and a bystander effect that allowed the construction of a particular conflict frame the necessity of a post conflict justice system that recognizes a sense of shared loss is the most appropriate mechanism to achieve reconciliation.