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A traditional Rwandan system of justice in which local community members are allowed to testify freely, without the participation of lawyers, and cases are decided by a panel of judges chosen from the community.

[Kinyarwanda gacaaca, patch of Bermuda grass, gacaca, diminutive of umucaaca, Bermuda grass (which grows in the open spaces where such courts are conducted.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The genocide ended with the military victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front led by President Kagame and a process of national healing, including the use of traditional Gacaca tribunal courts to establish the source of the conflict and try perpetrators.
For example, in the immediate aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when the formal justice systems in the country lay in ruins, the country's leadership established the Gacaca courts, which were community courts which met once-a-week in villages across the country, often outdoors and under trees.
In 2009, Grace made another trip to Rwanda after a system called Gacaca was introduced by the government to identify the victims of the genocide.
This book examines unintended consequences of institutional transitional justice cases, including truth commissions in South Africa, Sierra Leone, Peru, Kenya, and East Timor; international tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; internationalized tribunals in Cambodia, East Timor, and Sierra Leone; cases and programs in the International Criminal Court; and other truth-seeking official entities, such as the gacaca court in Rwanda and the Commission of Truth and Friendship in Indonesia and East Timor.
In Rwanda, the traditional restorative gacaca courts spent $40 million trying nearly 2 million cases over a decade.
Having learnt from the experience of the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa, as well as setting up a United Nations tribunal system to try genocide cases, the government of Rwanda also set up traditional courts for reconciliation called "gacaca courts"--local courts based upon communitarian values recovered from previous traditions by the post-genocide government.
The District of Musanze is the result of the fusion of the old following administrative entities such as Busogo, Cyuve, Gacaca, Gashaki, Gataraga, Kimonyi, Kinigi, Muhoza, Muko, Musanze, Nkotsi, Nyange, Remera, Rwaza and Shingiro (Figure 1).
(3) The same preoccupation reverberates through Homi Bhabha's postcolonial engagement and his theory of transitional justice which he illustrates through the Gacaca courts in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide (this collective healing recalls the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa after Mandela came to power in 1994).
The process of forgiveness therefore has a tendency to become self-evident, and as Fisher and Mitchell have noticed, these acts of forgiveness are not connected to actual worship or to any sacramental discussion of absolution, and only loosely to the Gacaca court system.
"Our traditions, like Umuganda, like gacaca ['grass courts,' traditional courts that were used to bring justice to genocide victims], these are traditional things that have helped the country, bringing tremendous change," said Zihiga, the bank worker in Kimana Village.