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Eight years after the genocide in Rwanda, only a handful of the perpetrators have been brought to justice. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania has tried and convicted ten of the ringleaders, most of them military leaders and government officials. Twenty-one more are under indictment and awaiting trial.
Rwanda began holding trials in 1997, three years after the genocide. Since then, about 5,000 have been tried and sentenced. But in Rwanda itself, more than 115,000 accused are still in prison awaiting trial. Rwanda has only 17 courtrooms to try the rest and thousands of judges and lawyers were killed or fled the country. It would take decades to try the cases in a regular courtroom.
So Rwanda has reached back into the pastand traditionfor an answer.
In an effort to speed the pace of justice, Rwanda is beginning an experiment in
what it calls "revolutionary justice". In the coming months, more than 10,000
open-air people's courts, called "gacacas" will begin hearing genocide cases.