Rwandan genocide survivors’ speak of experiences with justice – new report

A new report released by African Rights and REDRESS on the eve of the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, offers new insights which bring into question the meaning of justice after genocide. ‘Survivors and Post-Genocide Justice in Rwanda: Their Experiences, Perspectives and Hopes’, based on nearly 100 interviews with Rwandan genocide survivors in Rwanda and Europe, offers them a unique platform to speak about their experiences for the past 15 years and their aspirations for the future.

The research looks at the various objectives of national and international policy makers from the viewpoint of the survivors. It asks them what they think justice is, or should be? It considers whether they regard “justice” as an appropriate or central objective? Does it resonate with their daily experiences, and if so how? What does it mean for survivors to be asked to move beyond the genocide? Is this indeed possible?

The report, which took eight months to research and document, and also includes perspectives of Rwandan government officials and civil society groups, sought to obtain first hand accounts of how survivors actually interacted with justice, what these interactions meant to them and how, and to what extent, their lives were affected by the justice process.

“Justice is a fundamental human value and a central component of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, for survivors of genocide in Rwanda, justice remains elusive,” said Carla Ferstman, REDRESS’ Director.

“Much more needs to be done to make justice a reality for survivors,” said Rakiya Omaar, Director of African Rights. “We need to listen to their concerns, help to protect them from reprisals and further trauma and support those in need of psychological and financial assistance,” she added.