Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type



Sociology & Anthropology


Following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Rwandan leaders as well as the international community sought to find a way for both justice and reconciliation. Although various nongovernmental organizations, faith-based initiatives, and government projects worked toward goals for healing and unity, no approach reached as far as the transitional justice courts, otherwise known as gacaca. Through gacaca courts, victims and perpetrators of the genocide gathered to address the happenings of the genocide, which never occurred before the government mandate. This paper seeks to understand the underlying sociological mechanisms used in the process of reconciliation through gacaca specifically in light of its historical, ethnic and colonial context. Theories of emotion-management and symbolic interactionism will be used in this critical analysis of the interpersonal relations in post-genocide Rwanda.