The Rwanda Workshops

Transitional Justice Workshops 2009-2012

Rwanda is a particularly intriguing example of a diversity of transitional justice mechanisms in practice. In the 1994 genocide in Rwanda an estimated one million Tutsis were massacred in 100 days. In its aftermath, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in Arusha, Tanzania, prosecuting primarily high-level perpetrators who fled Rwanda after the genocide. In addition, Rwanda also established gacaca courts, which are based on a traditional system of justice. These community courts prosecuted genocide-related crimes, while designed to encourage reconciliation at the same time. Rwanda also underwent significant normative and institutional reforms since the genocide.


In 2009-10, and again in 2010-11 and 2011-12, the Hebrew University's Minerva Center for Human Rights and Faculty of Law held a Transitional Justice Workshop, focusing on the Rwanda genocide as a case-study. An important element of the course was  an extraordinary fully-funded 10-day study tour to Rwanda and Arusha that included meetings with survivors, perpetrators, senior government officials, civil society leaders, judges and academics, as well as visits to memorial sites, demobilization camps, schools and grassroots organizations.


The workshop was taught by Dr. Sigall Horovitz, who had previously worked as a legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and as a consultant at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (a UN backed war-crimes tribunal mandated to try those most responsible for the atrocities committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war). 


A total of 26 Hebrew University students participated in the workshops. Overwhelmingly they described the course as the single most important and impactful experience of their academic studies, and a powerful source of inspiration for working, each in their own capacity, in the pursuit of peace, justice and reconciliation in the Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian contexts.

At the gallery there are selected photos from the Transitional Justice Workshop educational tours in Rwanda.