A Purview of the Gacaca Courts of Rwanda from the Teleological and Deontological Perspectives of Ethics and Peace Building

Zadzisai Machingambi, Tinashe Rukuni, Kumbirai Ngwaru, Maxwell Musingafi


This paper attempts to give a synopsis of the historical background of Rwanda before the 1994 genocide. As an aid to analysis an exposition of two sets of ethical theories is presented, namely Teleology and Deontology, as a prelude to the historical background. The two theoretical perspectives provide a framework for assessing the moral implications of actions of all those involved before, during and after of the genocide. As the discourse unfolds, the paper delves into the events that constituted the genocide itself. In this connection real episodes of how more than 800 000 people lost their lives are chronicled. The paper also highlights the conceptual and legal foundations of the Gacaca courts. Against this background the discussion proffers the role of the Gacaca courts of Rwanda in the peace building process in the post genocide era. However, limitations of the Gacaca courts of Rwanda as a quasi-judicial system are also examined. On the basis of insights gleaned from both the model of the Gacaca courts of Rwanda as well as the teleological and deontological theoretical frameworks conclusions and recommendations are showcased. Though the recommendations are generally and universally applicable in ensuring sustainable peace in a variety of circumstances, they are more amenable to peace building efforts in post conflict states.

Key Words: Teleology, Deontology, peace building, post conflict state, ethical theory, genocide, conflict resolution, Rwanda and Gacaca courts

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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