Kigali, 11 December 2007 (FH) - "The goal of the gacacas was not to parade people before the courts for form, but to try them well! ", complains Mr. Benoit Kaboyi, Executive Secretary of Ibuka, during the extraordinary congress of the collective of associations of genocide survivors which was held last week and which draws up a negative assessment of these semi-traditional courts.

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"The fight against impunity, the truth, the reconciliation of Rwandan society and the acceleration of the trials, aims of the gacaca courts, are in the negative in the light of the performances of the courts", affirms the official statement published after this meeting which was held in Kabusunzu, a neighbourhood of Kigali. No representative of the National Service of Gacaca Courts was present, reports Ibuka.

However, in opening the meeting, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Tharcisse Karugarama, estimated that gacacas were a "success" even if some imperfections remained. "The gacacas proceeded well, even if nothing is perfect. Nearly 712 000 people were tried by these courts... However, before the end, an evaluation is essential! ", he said. The gacacas should theoretically finish by the end of 2007, but this deadline might be extended.

This congress gathered officials and founding members of Ibuka, its representatives on the district level and the representatives of various member associations. According to the official statement, the truth spread out during the period of information gathering also passed during the trials, the various amendments of the law on the gacacas consecrates the impunity of alleged authors of the genocide, altered justice and trivialized the crimes of genocide. Rather than reconciling society, the trials stimulate hatred between the witnesses and the defendants, cause shame and anxiety and remove any confidence in justice in them, the speed of the process encroaches on the quality of the judgments, continues the text.

In this official statement, the president of Ibuka, Theodore Simburudari, refers to the corruption, patronage and contradictions amongst the inyangamugayo (just) judges, of the protection by the authorities, the intellectuals and the rich persons. In addition to the insecurity, he also deplores the interference of officials from the National Service of Gacaca Courts (SNJG) in the judgments.

At the end of this congress, the recommendations were clear: accelerate the setting-up of the commission to fight against genocide and the compensation fund, set up special tribunals for alleged 1st category authors of the genocide, bring before justice in a systematic and adapted way the authors of insecurity aiming survivors, ensure the revision of the trials whose judgments are in doubt and prosecute the personnel of the SNJG who interfered in the trials.

© Hirondelle News Agency