Gacaca Courts

CACACA are traditional community courts. GACACA COURTS initiative is very timely because it will make the following possible:

  • It will enable the truth to be revealed about Genocide and crimes against;
  • Humanity in Rwanda;
  • It will speed up the trials of those accused of Genocide, Crimes against
  • Humanity and other crimes;
  • It will put an end to the culture of impunity in Rwanda;
  • It will reconcile the people of Rwanda and strengthen ties between them;
  • It revives traditional forms of dispensing justice based on Rwandese culture;
  • It demonstrates the ability of local communities to solve their own problems;
  • Helps solve some of the many problems caused by Genocide.



The judges of the GACACA Courts will be respectable people of at least 21 years of age, and elected by people of voting age. They will take responsibility for ensuring orderly and fair proceedings.

The Functional Hierarchies of the Gacaca Courts are as follows:

  • The General Assembly;
  • The Court Council;
  • The Coordination Committee;
  • The General Assembly.

A) At Cellule Level

The General Assembly at Cellule level consists of all the inhabitants of the Cellule over 18 years of age.
The main responsibilities of the General Assembly at the Cellule level are as follows:

  • To compile a list of those who died in the Cellule as a result of the 1994 Genocide, as well as those who were raped and those who participated in those crimes.
  • To compile a list of those who moved away from their usual residential areas during the genocide.
  • To give evidence which incriminates or exonerates those who have been accused of having taken part in the genocide.

B) At the Secteur, Commune and Prefecture levels

The General Assembly of the Gacaca Court at these levels consists of representatives from lower levels in the hierarchy.
The responsibility of the General Assembly of the Gacaca Court at these levels is to follow-up the work of the Gacaca Court Council at the same level.

The Gacaca Court Council

The Gacaca Court has a court-council at eqach level. The gacaca Court-Council at the Cellule, Secteur, Commune, and Prefecture level consists of people elected by the General Assembly.

The main responsibility of the Gacaca Court is to try cases.

The Coordination Committee At each level, the gacaca Courts will have coordination committees composed of the Chairman and two Secretaries of the Gacaca Court.

Powers of the Gacaca Court

- At Cellule level: Has the power to try cases of persons who allegedly committed or conspired to commit crimes which fall
under Category Four of genocide crimes.

- At Secteur Level: Has the power to try cases of persons who allegedly committed or conspired to commit crimes which fall
under Category Three of genocide crimes.

- At Commune Level: Has the power to try cases of persons who allegedly committed or conspired to commit crimes which fall
under Category Two of genocide crimes.

- At Prefecture Level:
Has the responsibility of hearing and passing judgement on appeals from lower Gacaca Courts.

Working relationships

The office of Public Prosecutions will maintain their responsibility of investigations. However, case files will be sent to Secteurs for distribution.

The Department of Public Prosecutions will continue to supply the Gacaca Courts with evidence on cases where there has
been investigation.

Monitoring and supervising the operations of the Gacaca Courts all over the country will be carried out by the coordination department due to be set up shortly within the High Court.

The Ministry for Justice and other local and central government departments will play a role in sensitizing the population to take part in the Gacaca Courts.

How you can help in the process Seek as much information as you need about the gacaca process from your local Cellule, Secteur, Commune or Prefecture.

Encourage your friends and neighbours to also take interest in the process.

You should volunteer any evidence or information you have about genocide.

Select Gacaca Judges wisely Cooperate with local authorities to prepare whatever is needed to get the courts operational.
Work openly and without fear to expose the truth.

Genocide Trials

Genocide trials are being conducted in Rwanda as well as at Arusha by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). A few other cases have been heard in European courts. Over 2, 500 suspects have been tried and sentenced in Rwanda while ICTR has tried and sentenced eight suspects.


The Genocide Law of the Republic of Rwanda categorizes the crimes of Genocide and crimes against Humanity as follows:
Persons accused of offences set out in Article 1 of this organic law and committed during the period betwenn 1st October 1990 and 31st December 1994 shall, on the basis of their acts of articipation, be classified into one of the following categories:

Category 1:

Persons whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal articipation place them among the planners, organisers, instigators, supervisors and leaders of the crime of Genocide or of a crime against humanity;
Persons who acted in positions of authority at the National, Prefectorial, Communal, Sector or Cell level, or in a political party,
the army, religious organizations or in a militia and who perpetrated or fostered such crimes;
Notorious murderers who by virtue of the zeal or excessive malice with which they committed atrocities, distinguished themselves
in their areas of residence or where they passed;
Persons who committed acts of sexual torture or violence

Category 2:

Persons whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal participation place them among the perpetrators, conspirators or
accomplices of intentional homicide or of seriuos assault against the person - causing death.

Category 3:

Persons whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal participation make them guilty of other serious assualts against the person.

Category 4:

Persons who committed offenses against property.
For more information on Genocide Suspects or Gacaca send an e-mail to: