Survivors Fund (SURF), in partnership with Redress and IBUKA, has been working on developing an array of submissions on draft and current legislation that impacts on the rights of survivors. At present, the Rwanda Parliament is debating a new law on the termination of gacaca courts, which is planned for 18th June. As a final decision on this draft law is pending, it is the focus of their first submission.
The “Draft Organic Law Terminating Gacaca Courts Charged with Prosecuting and Trying the Perpetrators of the Crime of Genocide and Other Crimes against Humanity, Committed Between October 1, 1990 and December 31, 1994? will significantly impact on the right of survivors to adequate reparation. Their submission comments that:
“…a law terminating Gacaca must also address the issue that Gacaca was unable to deliver, and that survivors continue to grapple with, in particular the lack of adequate reparation, including access to rehabilitative services to help survivors deal with severe re-traumatisation as a result of their participation in Gacaca, as well as the enforcement of compensation awards issued by Gacaca jurisdictions for (property related) crimes committed during the genocide.”
The submission highlights that survivors’ organisations were not consulted by the Ministry of Justice or any other Ministry in the drafting of this law, and calls on the the Draft Law to be further strengthened to ensure that the rights, needs and perspectives of survivors are adequately reflected in the adopted law terminating Gacaca.
There is further work that is required to ensure that the right of survivors for awards of compensation made at Gacaca are enforced, and that the process of doing so is fair and transparent. The submission is currently under consideration as the final wording of the Draft Organic Law is finalised.