This article compares sentencing of those convicted of participation in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. With over one million people facing trial, Rwanda constitutes the world’s most comprehensive case of criminal accountability after genocide and presents an important case study of punishing genocide. Criminal courts at three different levels— international, domestic, and local—sought justice in the aftermath of the violence. In order to compare punishment at each level, we analyze an unprecedented database of sentences given by the ICTR, the Rwandan domestic courts, and Rwanda’s Gacaca courts. The analysis demonstrates that sentencing varied across the three levels—ranging from limited time in prison to death sentences. We likewise find that sentencing at the domestic courts appears to have been comparatively more serious than sentencing at the ICTR and at the Gacaca courts, which calls into question consistency of sentences across levels of justice and should be explored in future research.
The research of the first author was conducted as part of a research project on Vertical (In)consistency of International Sentencing funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) within its Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Veni. For more information on the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Veni, please visit https://www.nwo.nl/en/funding/our-funding-instruments/nwo/innovational-research-incentives-scheme/veni/index.html.
Hola, Barbora and Nyseth Brehm, Hollie
"Punishing Genocide: A Comparative Empirical Analysis of Sentencing Laws and Practices at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Rwandan Domestic Courts, and Gacaca Courts,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol10/iss3/7
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