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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.]
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Ingelaere (2009) has argued that conflicting 'regimes of truth' (Foucault 1980: 131) operate in Rwanda today, especially after the implementation of gacaca, 'traditional' community courts set up in 2001 to try cases of genocide.
Although the first law that established the Gacaca system had an extended perspective on reparation, which included damages against honor, property, and the physical and personal integrity of victims, the reparation processes were modified in 2004, resulting in a reparation system that focuses solely on "restitution of the property looted whenever possible" or paying the value of the property or compensation according to evaluation of the property despoiled.
Inside Rwanda's Gacaca Courts: Seeking Justice After Genocide
Chapter 7, the book's penultimate chapter, describes the challenges related to reconciliation posed by mechanisms such as gacaca courts, where social practices meet judicial and cultural traditions.
The African Rights Report on the gacaca trials, "Confessing to Genocide," conspicuously locates the subject of truth and testimony on the site of the moral, memorial, and political knowledge of neighborliness--its spatial networks, its customary laws, its diurnal temporality of routines, its memory of neighborly negotiations, its epistemological and enunciative practices of orality and conviviality.
He also recalled the important role of the Gacaca court -- a nationwide people's judicial system- established by the Rwandan Government in the process of healing.
The reactivation of the traditional Gacaca popular tribunals would process many of the "lesser crimes against property and persons.
Phil Clark, Reader in Comparative and International Politics at SOAS, University of London, and author of The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice without Lawyers