A plan for the construction of a world-class archive to house the Gacaca Courts collection of documents and audio-visual files, and the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, has been developed. The concept has been put together by the team working to build a physical and digital archive that will make the genocide against the Tutsi one of the most comprehensively documented and most easily researchable genocides of all time. The archive is set to be built on the grounds of the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
Since the Gacaca Courts completed their work in June 2012, significant efforts have been undertaken to preserve and organise the courts’ estimated 60 million pages of documents and 8,000 audio-visual files. A team, including the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide, Aegis Trust, and international organisations such as King’s College London, the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the USC Shoah Foundation, has been working to find a sustainable solution to ensure the archives are preserved for generations to come.
The construction of an archive to house the court’s collection is the central part of this solution. The upper canopy of the archive will feature an exhibition hall and interfaith space. In the mid canopy section, there will be an auditorium and an educational centre that will host classroom and workshop spaces. The Gacaca Archives, Genocide Archive of Rwanda and Library will be located on the lower canopy levels. These spaces will be climate controlled to ensure the proper preservation the genocide archive material. The archives will be organised in a way that allows them to be a useful tool for research and learning about the genocide against the Tutsi.
In addition to being one of the world’s largest genocide archives, the collection will aim to inspire and support those standing up for human rights around the world. Through the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, it will collect witness testimony, document mass atrocities and conduct research on mass atrocity prevention. It will also work with peace builders so their communities can be more resilient to division.
The Genocide Archive of Rwanda was first built to store and preserve the information that was collected during the creation of memorial exhibitions. Since then, it has become the country’s leading physical and digital archive of primary source material about the genocide. Bringing together the Gacaca Archives with the Genocide Archive of Rwanda will significantly expand its capacity, making it the world’s leading source of information about the Genocide against the Tutsi.