Rwanda Creates New Court for Genocide Cases

Posted February 16th, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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Rwanda's high court has established a special chamber to handle international crimes, including genocide cases transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The U.N. tribunal, which was set up to try high-level suspects in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, is set to complete its work in 2014.

Rwanda's high court announced this week the new six-judge panel would hear cases transferred from the Tanzania-based tribunal as well as from other countries.

Rwanda has so far relied on community-based “Gacaca” courts to try people accused of committing genocide-related crimes. The traditional courts have heard more than one-million cases since 2001, mostly at the village level.

Last year, Human Rights Watch charged the Gacaca courts have carried out flawed trials that have led to miscarriages of justice. The rights group called for the Rwandan government to set up specialized units in the national court system to review alleged injustices.

The Rwandan government has defended the community courts, saying they cleared cases that were overwhelming the conventional court system.

Rwandan Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates during the killing spree between April and July 1994.