Most of the people who participated in the Gacaca courts firmly state that they have paved the way of reconciliation among the Rwandans, even though the memory of the genocide is still present. Former genocide prisoners and survivors now live side by side and do business with each other which was impossible in the early post-genocide days.

Another outcome of the Gacaca courts is the fact that perpetrators cooperated by telling survivors were their deceased relatives’ bodies could be found, so that these could be exhumed and re-buried with dignity. Consequently, genocide memorials have been built all over the country and in the most cases, designed to harbour the remains.
Gacaca is credited with laying the foundation for peace, reconciliation and unity in Rwanda.

Legacy Preservation

The activities of the Gacaca courts produced an enormous archive of the estimated amount of 60 million documents that concern 1,958,634 case files. These figures illustrate the scale and impact of the Gacaca Courts and with that the extraordinary value of the archive produced by these courts for Rwanda as a nation. Furthermore, the archive is also of interest for audiences from outside Rwanda. International researchers and investigators have shown their interest in using the records of Gacaca as a unique mechanism of transitional justice.

A feasibility study conducted by Aegis Trust and NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD) outlines that there is a high risk of information getting lost and/or documents becoming unusable in the future as the measures for preservation of the estimated amount of 60 million documents are not sufficient. Moreover, today the appropriate use of the archive is hampered by the lack of access tools and documentation on the context in which the documents were created; there are still on-going appeals around the country for cases that were transferred to normal courts and people are having troubles of accessing and retrieval physical files to help in the judicial process as the documents were mixed and there is no proper policies and procedures in place to help in that process.

Following the recommendations from the Feasibility Study Aegis Trust, King’s College London (KCL), NIOD and USC Shoah Foundation Institute (USC), working with the Rwandan Government and the local stakeholders, necessary resources have been identified; and a strategy has been developed to work progressively and properly on the entire Gacaca Archive in order to ensure a long-term and sophisticated preservation, and access to the global audience.