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The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution








OJPCR: The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution is a resource for students, teachers and practitioners in fields relating to the reduction and elimination of destructive conflict. It is a free, yet valuable, source of information to aid anyone trying to work toward a less violent and more cooperative world.

Issue 6.1


The Powerful are Powerless

The Launch of a New South Africa


Reconciliation and the Gacaca: The Perceptions and Peace-Building Potential of Rwandan Youth Detainees

Three Complete Interviews from the Gacaca Project

Development, Relief Aid, and Creating Peace: Humanitarian Aid in Liberia's War of the 1990s

The Bush Doctrine and Just War Theory

Watching, Dreaming, Waiting: Non-Violence, Social Change, and the Re-Imagining of Religion

Sierra Leone: A Model for a Program for Action for a Culture of Peace

American Disengagement with the International Criminal Court: Undermining International Justice and U.S. Foreign Policy Goals

Playing Cat-and-Mouse: Conflict and Third-Party Mediation in Post-Soviet Space

Pax Visio: A New Genesis of Peace

"The Emperor Carries a Gun": Capacity Building in the North Caucasus

Teaching For Peace in Higher Education: Overcoming the Challenges to Addressing Structure and Methods

Bulgarian "Macedonian" Nationalism: A Conceptual Overview


Beyond Neutrality: A Review Essay


Three Interviews from the Gacaca Project

Constance F. Morrill


For a printer-friendly PDF version, click here.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS, 2001 (for incarcerated youth):


  • NB:  Researcher introduces herself to the detainee as a student from the United States, studying human rights and specifically the rights of incarcerated minors.  Researcher also indicated that she was doing an internship with the Center for Conflict Management in Butare at the time.  (Same terms of confidentiality stated in Appendix I of main report were stated to detainees in 2001.)


  1. Basic questions

1.1  Name, age, education, charge, years in prison

1.2  When were you arrested? (month,year)

1.3  What were the circumstances of your arrest?

1.4  Have you ever had a lawyer/legal representation?

1.5  What is the status of your case?

2.      Family situation / personal life / religious beliefs

2.1  Are any members of your family in prison?

2.2  Do you know what they are accused of?

2.3  Do you attend church services here in prison?

2.4  Has your faith in God changed in any way since you have been in prison?

3.      Personal views / genocide

3.1  Do you believe there was a genocide in Rwanda?

3.1.1        If yes, what is your understanding of the term genocide?

3.2  What was your life like before you were arrested?

3.3  Have you been influenced by anyone since you have been in prison?

3.4  Do you feel you can trust fellow inmates? 

4.      Criminal charges / release

4.1  What are you accused of?  Do you believe this accusation is justified?

4.2  [If yes] What motivated you to commit x.y,z crime/participate in the genocide? OR Were you forced to make a difficult choice before committing this crime? (describe, clarify)

4.3  How did you feel after committing this crime? (remorse?)

4.4  In retrospect, do you feel you could have acted differently?

5.      Confession and Guilty Plea

5.1  Did you participate in the confession/guilty plea procedure?

5.2  [If not confessed] GO TO “Not Confessed” below

5.3  [If confessed] What motivated you to participate/ confess to this crime? (memory, reflection)

5.4  Do you have any regrets about having confessed?

5.5  Do you have any fears about being released?

5.6  Have you witnessed other crimes (against humanity)?

5.6.1        Would you be willing to bear witness to any of these crimes?

5.6.2        What would be your motivation for bearing witness?

Not Confessed:

  1. Do you believe you are innocent?

1.1  If yes, why do you think you were arrested?  Do you plan to participate in the confession and guilty plea procedure?


6.      Perceptions of justice system

6.1  When did you first hear about Inkiko-Gacaca?

6.2  [question not asked]

6.3  Do you think the truth will come out during the Gacaca?

6.4  Do you think this proverb will be proven during the Gacaca? cite proverb: (“Ukuri guca mu ziko, ntigushye.” (“La verite passe par le feu mais ne se brûle pas.”)


7.      Prospects for future / personal / Rwanda

7.1  Do you have any plans/projects for yourself (your family) when you are released?

How would you describe yourself to someone who does not know you?  (What kind of person are you in your heart, what are your present values, what do you value most in life?) – [note: this proved to be the most difficult question – required extensive explanation.]

#8 Prison D – 2nd quarter, 2001 (Wednesday)

Language of interpretation: English


“Joseph” - Male 1 (confessed)


1.1       Age: 23 years; 16 in 1994

Primary 4

1.2       arrested in quarter, 1997 for crime committed in 1994

1.3       I was at home. Soldiers unknown to me came to my house. (how many?) There were six. (Was anyone else at home with you?) I was alone; no one else was in the house.

1.4       Yes, I am in process. I have asked for a lawyer but I haven’t received one. (when did you ask?) On 26 June 2000. (Whom did you ask?) I asked MINIJUST[1]. (How did you go about submitting such a request?) Papers were brought to me from there. I filled out a form.

1.5       I have appeared before court, and I have been questioned. (Have other minors you know also been questioned?) I don’t know. Those I was with have not been questioned.

2.1       My cousin brother [male cousin]. Genocide.

5.1       I confessed on [X date] 1998. (did any of the others who were with you confess?) Two have confessed.

5.3       Because I committed a crime. (but some who have committed crimes don’t confess…how do you explain that?) For me, I believe that what I did was something I wasn’t supposed to do. The others haven’t changed. They still think what they did was right. (have you changed?) Yes. It is out of this realization [that I did something wrong] that I have changed. (are there survivors or family members of the victims who are still outside [outside prison]?) Yes, they are there. (did you apologize to any of them?) Yes. (did you do this face to face or in writing by way of your confession?) I apologized face to face.

4.2       They found me on the roadside and said “come let’s go to work” like the others. (“national work”) They had pangas and clubs. I felt threatened.

4.3       I feel sorrow.

4.4       I feel regret when I look back. I don’t think I would have committed those crimes now.

5.4       I have no regrets about confessing because I did it out of free will. (do you ever have bad dreams about that time?) No. But when I think about it I do. (how did the apology go?) I asked for mercy. When I pleaded guilty, I asked for mercy in the courtroom. (did anything happen after you asked for mercy in the courtroom?) No one was supposed to add [say] anything. (how did the survivors react to your apology?) They never asked for anything. They talked of other things. They never reacted to my apology. They were talking about compensation. (do you feel your apology was wasted?) No, I believe they will forgive me. (why?) Because even before [the genocide] they knew me. They knew I wasn’t a cruel person.

(did you ever try to talk to anyone about your views or feelings about what was happening at the time of the killing?) No because I was younger. (what do you mean by that?) I am not listened to because I am young. (do you feel this has changed?) No it is still the same. (in talking with other people your age do you think they feel the same as you about this?) Old people don’t listen to youth. (do you think youth should be treated differently in the Gacaca?) I think, being young, that I should be given a different lawyer. (why?) Because my ideas are different from older people’s. (are younger people more willing to confess or ask for pardon?) No, because there are fewer youth in prison. There older people are more numerous. (Interpreter suggests that we ask him for percentages to get the idea across.)

3700 prisoners here – 280 have confessed

82 minors (boys) – 16 pleaded guilty

He adds: It is better to forget the past, make a river around it, and build a bridge between it and the future. It is not a good way to reconcile if you forget what you did completely. If you forget haven’t learned anything. [NB: statement seems initially contradictory]

(do you think reconciliation is possible between Hutu and Tutsi?) This goes hand in hand with remembering. Both victims and perpetrators should keep remembering.


3.1       Yes.

3.1.1    Extermination of the Tutsi. (what motivated people to participate in the killing?) I don’t know. (did you ever listen to the radio in 1994?) No. I didn’t have a radio. (did you ever hear about radio broadcasts that instructed people to kill?) I have no knowledge of radio broadcasts. (have you heard others talk about why the killing started?) Habyarimana’s death was caused by Tutsi, and the Hutu were annoyed. (is this what you’ve heard others say about the start of the genocide?) This is my personal opinion. (how did you hear about Habyarimana’s death?) There were announcements on the radio. (I thought you said you never heard anything on the radio?) I thought this question was related to what happened on the radio… [there is a misunderstanding here; we clarify that detainee heard of Habyarimana’s death from others who heard the news via radio, but not radio broadcasts inciting people to kill after the plane crash.]

6.4       I have hope that the truth will be revealed. (do you have any doubts?) I have many doubts, because Rwandese are liars. (why do you say that?) Rwandese are liars because they imprisoned those who did not commit crimes, and liars because those who committed crimes won’t admit to what they did.

6.3       (do you think Rwandese will ever tell the truth?) Are you saying that they will learn to say it or that they will say it? (either one) I don’t believe that day will come. The truth is something valuable, but they ignore it. They know the truth is good, but they don’t say it. (why?) Because they are afraid of the consequences that saying the truth may bring. Bad things can happen. (are you personally afraid of any bad things? repercussions?) I have fears sometimes, but I was more concerned about getting forgiveness from those I committed crimes against.


7.1       How can I have plans as a prisoner? (If you were released, what would you do?) I was a farmer before. I would go back to cultivation.

7.2       [doesn’t understand the question, so interpreter explains in a different way: If you were removed from this planet, and found yourself on another, say Mars, and someone you don’t know meets you for the first time, what would you want this person to know about you that would tell that person that you, [name of Male 1], are unique in this world?] I would tell him that I am a man who loved God and believes in him; that I love other people; that I love my country as Rwandese; that I love all men because they are God’s creatures.


[close conversation]



#7 Prison D – 2nd quarter, 2001


NOTE: This detainee was also interviewed in 2002 with a different interpreter.

Language of interpretation: English


“Candide”- Female 2 (Confessed)


1.1       22 years – 15 in 1994

21 when arrested

Senior 1 – dropped out after committing crime

Genocide / no knowledge of which category. (She says up front that she has confessed.)

1.2 Arrested in quarter of 2000

(When did you commit this crime?) June of 1994.


1.3       I was arrested immediately after returning from Zaire. No one was at home—all my family died in Zaire. I went to my neighbor, and spent the night there. I asked my neighbor to go the conseiller (leader after the responsable, but before the bourgmestre) to report me. (why did you do tell you neighbor to do that?) Because I thought I was wrong [in committing the crime], so I turned myself in. When I was called to be arrested, I was shot at. (Were you hurt?) I was not injured.


5.1       I confessed when I reached the commune, after I turned myself in. (How long after you turned yourself in did you confess?). I turned myself in on 5 August, so it must have been the 7th of August.


3.1       Yes.

3.1.1    I thought it just meant killing. (interpreter uses term itsembabwoko) That term means killing a specific type of person. (which type of person, in this case?) Tutsi.


(I suppose you are wondering why I haven’t asked you what you did?) Well, these things take time.


3.2       (Well, let’s go back to what your life was like before…1994) I went to school, in senior 1. (Anything else you want me to know?) No.


4.2       (back to crime) I was told that my name was on a list drawn up by Tutsis, and that if we did not kill them first, the people who were on the list would be killed. When we saw Tutsis being killed, we were told to clap our hands to celebrate the death of these Tutsis who were going to kill us. (what do you think of the people who told you these things?) I think they were wrong. (What do you think of the people who killed?) I feel sorry for the people who participated with me.


(Can you tell me what happened, now?) [she looks down, in shame and embarrassment] It is a very long story, and will take a long time, so it is better if you ask me precise questions.


(All right. Over how many days did the killing take place?) Three days. At first I never participated, then I don’t know what came over me….


5.3       (You said earlier that you sent your neighbor to tell the conseiller that you had returned and wanted to turn yourself in. Can you tell me more about what motivated you to confess?) I had the idea to confess all the way from Kisangani, and I walked[2] all the way from there to do it. I knew I had committed a serious crime and it was weighing very heavily on my mind, so I knew I would confess as soon as I came back.


5.4       I have no regrets about confessing. I only have regrets about others at the commune who say that I was the leader in the killing, but this is not true.


5.6       Yes, I saw other people kill.

5.6.1    In my confession, I mentioned other people who were already in prison. (I’m going to ask you a difficult question.) There is no problem (“nta kibazo”). (How many people died as a result of your participation?) Do you really want to know the number? (If you do not mind telling me the number, I would like to know it). [she pauses, looking down again]. Let’s just say that there were more than ten.


[change direction of interview…]


(what, in your opinion, was the most important factor in driving people to kill?) [her tone becomes more serious, here] There were many ‘rumors’ about this. The propaganda was the main fuel of the killing. There was a woman on the radio who said: “Leave none to tell the story.” This ignited the killing. (Do you think people have changed with regard to what they hear on the radio now?) I don’t know of any change. (What about you?) On my own, I would just hide if I heard such things again. (Would you think about the messages any differently if you were to hear them again today?) I would not listen to the radio at all. (but what if you did actually hear them, by accident?) I would be more cautious now.


(Do you think that minors’ testimony should count equally with adults?) I think it’s good that minors have been given special treatment under the law—like we cannot receive the death penalty. I think that minors should be able to tell everything they’ve seen.


6.4       [Smiles in recognition, at hearing the proverb.] Yes, I know it, and I think it will be proven. The truth will come out.


7.2       I feel that what is most valuable is everything that breathes, especially a human being. I feel that everyone who died during that time must have died horribly. I’ve experienced both sides of it--I hunted people, and then later, I learned what it was like to be hunted. I now understand the horror of this feeling, and wish that no one will ever have to experience it again.


(Do you have any hopes for you child?)[3] She will go to an orphanage after the gacaca, so I have hopes that she will be taken care of and that her life will be better than mine. I also hope that I can get a blanket for her, because it is cold at night. (Would you like to ask anything or say anything else?) A blanket for her would be good, but if I could get two blankets, than I could have one for myself as well.


[I promise her the blanket, and thank her for being so candid with me.]


NB:  This blanket was in fact delivered to the detainee by the Interpreter a few months later.


The Second Interview with “Candide,” 2002

[Questionnaire identical to Appendix I of the report]


#5 Prison B - “Candide”[4]                                                                               Q3 2002


Female, age 23 / 15 in 1994

Education: Secondary 1

Accusation: genocide /Confessed

Category?  N/A (case will be heard in regular court)

Legal representation?  No.


Date of arrest: Q3 2000

Other identifying information has been removed.



Family situation:  She has a son who is 3 years, 4 months old.  Although the child was actually born when she was in Kisangani, she was told to indicate the place of birth as District M (Province X) for registration purposes.  The child is now in an orphanage (placed in the last year).  She does not know the father. (“To say that he was born in Kisangani serves no purpose anyway because I don’t even know who his father was.”) 


She believes that all of her family members must have died in the war in Kisangani.  She was “stronger” and “ran faster,” and thereby was able to save herself.  She had several brothers and sisters.  Her uncle was the Bourgmestre [burgomaster; now called a mayor] of Province X, and encouraged everyone to participate in the genocide.  He also fled to Congo, but she thinks he must have died because he lived well before fleeing, and the conditions in Congo were very bad “if you were weak.”


Fled to Bukavu in 1994:  Went from Bukavu to Kisangani on foot, (journey took 1 year walking day and night.)  In Q3 of 2000, she took a UNHCR plane with other refugees from Kisangani to Kigali.


 What happened when you came back?

“When I returned, I went to see the house of my parents.  It was occupied by other people.  I spent the night at a responsable of the cellule.  The conseiller came and found me there.  He asked me where the others [family members] were.  I said they are certainly dead because we encountered many obstacles, there were many bullets coming at us from everywhere.  He asked ‘Since you have come back, what do you intend to do?’ I said “Because I know I am a criminal, I came back so you can take me where the others [criminals] are.”


The conseiller told me to wash myself, so I did, and then he turned me over to the local defense who took me to the cachot communale in District M.


How long were you there?

5 months [with her child]


Were you mistreated there?

No.  The time for mistreating people is over [by 2000].


1.6       No.  But it was a surprise for me to learn yesterday that I had received a summons (assignation) to appear in court.  I was scared because I thought at first it meant I would be put in prison.


I don’t understand what you thought the paper meant at first?

There is a paper that is given which condemns people to a provisional 6 months imprisonment. 


1.7       There is no category.  I will not be tried in the Gacaca, so it no longer applies to me.  They say that the judgments that have already been presented in court will not be taken to the Gacaca.


That is true.  “Ukuri” [truth].  But [to interpreter] she should know that she will not receive the death penalty.


They already explained that to me.


2.1       I don’t know, there was a bad war in Kisangani.  They are surely dead.   I was stronger.  I ran faster.


Did you leave with your family when you fled?

I left with everyone.  They were older.  I was the “cadette” [the youngest.]  I had a brother who was the bourgmestre of the commune of District M, and 4 sisters.  My brother really committed genocide, and he was the one who encouraged us to flee.  I think he must have died because he lived very well here in Rwanda (ate well, etc.), and probably couldn’t survive in the bad conditions in exile.  He is probably dead also.


What did your brother say to encourage you and your family to participate in the genocide?

Since he was the bourgmestre, my brother had a team of Interahamwe to protect him.  And there was the RTLM that encouraged us and told us what to do: “chase the Tutsis wherever they are, they are serpents, you must hit them in the head [“casser la tête”] because they are already condemned.”  I lived at my brother’s house in District M, with my sister.  When we were at my brother’s, we were encouraged by all the media but also by the authorities, who said that the Tutsi were really people who were “offered as a sacrifice.”  When we [with other siblings] tried to hide people in the house, my brother became angry.  “How can you hide people who are already “offered”?  My brother, and the Interahamwe who were protecting him, threatened me and accused me of being a traitor.


Then my brother said, “go work in the country the work here is almost done.”  When I went into the countryside, I saw my old father very active [killing], and I thought then that it was clear, the Tutsis were offered as a sacrifice.  It thought “my father is working, my brother is working, we [with other siblings] must go to work too.”


When I got to my father’s house, they had almost finished the work—of the adults [killing adults]—and they were beginning the work of the children.  We were to kill the children with Hutu mothers and Tutsi fathers.  One Hutu mother had made her Tutsi children flee to the maternal grandfather’s house.  We came during the night.  The Interahamwe surrounded the house. Some yelled through the door “bring out all the Tutsi who are in the house.”  It was the family of someone named Amazi [name changed].  The children, when they heard this, started to hide in the house.  The Interahamwe forced the family to open the door, and asked the children to come out by themselves.  The mother pleaded with the children to go outside by themselves.  When the children refused, the Interahamwe said that I should go in and bring them out.  There were 5 children—4 who could walk, and one on the mother’s back that they didn’t see—they killed all four, but they didn’t kill them immediately.  They hit them here [indicates back of head] and when you touch that nerve, someone could die immediately.  But it turned out that no one died immediately.  The next day I asked for information about them, and I was told that the children were not dead yet but that they were in agony.  So I went to for someone to kill them definitively, as they would never be able to heal [from their wounds.] 


After this family, they continued, and so did I.  [interviewee asks if she can continue so that she can claim her part of the responsibility in the killing of the children].  In one family there were 3 boys and 1 girl.  In another family, where I participated, there were 3 children that we forced to the parents to have come out.  We told their mother to cover herself with her pagne, and ask the children to come out.  The children came out after resisting a lot. I was the first to take up a stick [in French, ‘baton’], and I hit the serpent.  I said to them “do you see that you are serpents?” and I hit one of the children.  The others finished them with a club [containing nails] (massue).  (interviewee becomes very quiet) I used a stick, but the others finished with massue.  I did it proudly then, because I thought I was hitting serpents. 


After the children, we went on to Tutsi women married to Hutu men, because almost everyone had been killed by then.  When we arrived at a family where the Hutu husband had married a Tutsi woman, we/they told the man to kill his own wife.  We/they would say “it is because of you men who have hidden Tutsi women that we are now unhappy.  It is you who must perform the task.”


They asked Hutu men if they had weapons in their house.  Everyone would say they had some kind of weapon—a stick, or axe or club—and they would ask the man to kill his wife.  If he dawdled in killing, he would be beaten and threatened to kill his own wife.  At least 6 women died like this.


There is a Hutu man in prison here who killed his wife in front of me, under pressure from the Interahamwe.  The children weren’t touched because they were Hutu.  After the genocide, this man’s own children had him arrested and said to him “why didn’t you let yourself be killed too?  Why didn’t you say ‘kill me, you just killed my wife’?” 


When I found out this person was here, during the prison Gacaca[5], I went to him and I confessed to him that I was present when he killed his wife.  He didn’t know, and said he saw only men.  I told him that no, I was in the group too.  I advised him to confess that he killed his wife, but under pressure from the Interahamwe.  I told him that I was ready to defend him by saying that when he killed, he was under pressure from the group of Interahamwe I was with.  The husband didn’t accept.  He said “I don’t want to.  It’s the Gacaca that will tell my truth.” 


When I really think back on it, I believe that I did not kill [‘achevé’] anyone, except for hitting the one child with the stick.


Were you afraid to talk about this last summer?

I just gave a summary last time, but this time I went into the details more.


3.1              [Yes.][6]


4.1       Qu’est-ce qui crée les conflits entre les gens?


[she recounts some of the history of the genocide here]


In 1959 people left here, but when they wanted to come back, President Habyarimana said “no, Rwanda is full, there is no space for you.”  So they came back by force.  In the beginning, it was greed [on the part of the former gov’t].  They didn’t want to share, they wanted to take as much as possible for themselves.


So do you think that is it greed that creates conflict between people?

They say that the Hutu are very greedy, and that they want to get rich by themselves.


Do you think this is true? Can you elaborate?

In my opinion, I think this could be true, because in this world, no one wants to live poor.  During the time when the Tutsis had power, they were superior.  Also, when the Hutu took power, they wanted to keep this kind of supremacy over the Tutsi by possessing everything and not sharing with the Tutsi.  The current government, which is mostly Tutsi, even if you find a Hutu here and there, it is these Tutsi who are in power now who are like the Hutu who used to be in power—they don’t want to be poor either. 


What is going to happen in a situation like this?  What do you see?

It will not end.


In other words, the greed will not end?

War and violence will not end.


Even here, the discussions of the Hutu who are in prison here revolve around this violence.  They say, “We have killed Tutsi, but this is an activity that has ended.  We are now in prison, but our families are half in prison because they are spending all their time coming to the prisons [to bring food, see relatives, etc.].  The Tutsi are dead and buried, but we are the living dead.  These are the discussions of those who recognize that their crimes were really terrible, although there are also those who do not recognize this.


[part 2]



In such a situation, what do you think must happen so that reconciliation will have a chance?

Reconciliation is difficult, but with the Gacaca jurisdictions, people will tell the truth.  That’s what I did when I confessed.  I know that the men in the group I was with will have to say that were with a girl, but I preferred to say it before they do. 


The degree of spitefulness (rancune) between people is different.  For example, the mother whose child I hit, if I go home now and I meet this mother, how is she going to look at me?  Reconciliation will depend on how spiteful people are.  Some are very spiteful, and with those reconciliation will be very difficult.  Those who are less so will be able to reconcile with the criminals.


[during interpretation, Candide seems to understand a bit of what the interpreter says in French]


Do you understand some French?

I had done 2 trimesters, but I have forgotten everything.


The spitefulness of people…have you seen an example of someone who had a lot of it, and then seemed to soften?  What motivated this person to become less spiteful?

There is a group of 229 women are droit commun.  Among the remaining 200 [accused of genocide], 45 of us have already confessed.  Those who haven’t confessed say we are going to wait until we “attend your roasting” [interpreter refers to Kinyarwanda, saying that she may be killed like a pig, or roasted like a fat vegetable].  [interviewee laughs]. 


[NB:  In other words, these women have told her (and others who had confessed) they would wait to see if her confessions get her killed by the RPF, and then they will see.  (i.e. they will wait to see if you are not killed, and then we will confess).] 


These women ask me “You who confessed, do you know who killed your parents?”  They say that the RPF does not confess, but it’s the RPF that found my parents in exile and killed them.  These women try to discourage me by saying these things. 


What do you think of this kind of talk?  It doesn’t discourage me at all, because ever since I had a child, and when my baby got sick and cried, I was afraid that he would die.  It was then that I began to feel that it hurts to lose a child.  That’s when I realized that I had done wrong to assist in the killing of other’s children.  My remorse comes from this realization, so I made my confession so I could have peace.  I am not at all discouraged by their talk. 


You are very strong, where does your moral strength come from?

I think it comes from God, it’s a divine strength.  Because since I understood that I could only put my trust in God, I could do no harm to anyone.


Do you think that the Gacaca will really work better than the regular justice system?  Can you make a comparison?

If people are willing to tell the truth (ukuri), everything will be fine.  They must say everything that is on their hearts.


Given your knowledge of Rwandan society, and the people like the ones you mentioned, who have tried to discourage you, what do you expect from the Gacaca? What kind of truth?

Rwandans like to eat [expression used is “abayarwanda bakunda kurya,” which describes the sense of wanting something that one cannot afford; a concept that is associated with poverty.  Interpreter refers to word used by interviewee, “kurya,” meaning “to eat,” explaining the association with corruption].  One can eat from what one has oneself, or from what others have.  Since people like to eat, they like to have the means with which to eat.


How is this related to the truth?

It is going to be difficult, and I think it’s for this that they keep delaying the dates for the start of the Gacaca.  The victims/survivors can pay [bribe] the inyangamugayo, especially the most influential [judges], and ask for the death penalty for someone.   (We tell her that the judges cannot sentence someone to death).  Even if they don’t sentence anyone to the death penalty, they categorize people, and without money [bribes], they can put someone in the first category.


What must the authorities do so that this kind of thing is corrected and monitored?

I don’t know what they can do.  The authorities should monitor the decisions taken by the inyangamugayo.


5.2       Yes, justice will be done.  But corruption will absolutely play a part in the Gacaca.


4.9       The authorities should learn [realize] that minors were influenced by adults, and because of this should take the decision to release them first.  They should know that these minors had certain experiences, and learned while they were in prison that the leaders who had influenced them trust the word of the authorities had done wrong…for me, for example, I am sure I can no longer commit crimes like this…if it should ever happen again [to me], it would be by accident. 


Like her, who has just had her summons to appear in court (assignation), she wants to be heard as soon as possible, and know how much time she will be a prisoner.  The authorities should give priority to all minors in their judgments and in the decisions to give provisional releases.


Have you heard about corruption in the regular courts?

Prisoners here say that there is a lot of corruption (ruswa) in the courts.


Are you afraid this will affect you?  Prisoners here say that even to get the assignation one must pay.  But I did nothing like that, I gave myself entirely to God, I think my life is conducted by the will of God.


Do you think that since you have spoken to so many mzungu[7], that one of them might have done something for you?

Not as yet.  Even the English who came recently to find out about the group I was with came only to listen to my story.


9.1       I don’t think I will go back to my house, because no one is there.  The house has fallen down [indicates she was able to see it].  I cannot predict my future, I have put all my faith in God, who will decide my future.


9.3       I would teach them love, and that they should love each other as they are.  I am now part of the “Mouvement Xavery” (a Catholic youth group).   I teach others about love… Inside the prison, there is a hospital where I go to take care of the sick, and wash them, for example, without taking note of their ethnicity, even though both Hutu and Tutsi are here in prison.


How important is the education of young people ?

Education can both save and sentence a person.  For example, when the group of attackers I was with went into a house to kill Tutsis, there were times when they would ask for the ones who were educated first.  “Which one is educated here?”  “Who speaks French here?” they would ask.  They would begin with the educated ones, while the others could escape.


Why did they want to kill educated people first?

Because educated people are quicker in the dissemination of information.  For example, if I were educated, I would not need an interpreter to talk to her [researcher].  I would be able to transmit information directly to her. 


It is easier to manipulate people who are not educated.  


[1] MINIJUST: the Ministry of Justice

[2] I interviewed this young woman again in 2002, at which time she said she had taken a plane with other refugees from Kisangani to Kigali. It is possible that the interpreter in 2001 said ‘walked’ when he really meant simply ‘came.’ Also in 2002, I clarified that she made the original journey from Kigali to Kisangani on foot.

[3] When I interviewed her in 2001, the mention of her having a child was somewhat vague, save for her concern about obtaining a blanket for the child. In 2002, I found out that she had a son, not a daughter. It is possible that my interpreter inadvertently used the pronoun ‘he’ for ‘she’ at the time. There is no reason to believe that this misinterpretation was deliberate.

[4] This interview was largely conducted in such a way that I communicated more directly with the interpreter than with the detainee, i.e. I would often ask the interpreter to ask the detainee a particular question (“how long was she there?”), and the detainee’s response would be also be communicated to me using the third person (“she was there for 5 months”).  In this transcription, I have replaced the personal pronoun “she” with “I” in the detainee’s responses, and the personal pronoun “she” with “you” in the questions asked in order to reflect the detainee’s actual responses, which were naturally in the first person, and to facilitate the reader’s understanding.

[5] The “prison Gacaca” were so-called “trial runs”of the Gacaca that are discussed in this report—often called the “pre-Gacaca”—that took place prior to the launch of the official Gacaca tribunals in June 2002.

[6] Candide responded yes to this question in 2001 (Do you believe there was a genocide?).  The question was not asked in 2002.

[7] Mzungu = [fr. Kiswahili] caucasian person, technically a European.  Derived from the Kiswahili kuzunguka, meaning “to make a circle.”  The term “mzungu” thus connotes the image of someone who is restless, who does not stay in one place.

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