The challenge was raised as part of a 2018/2019 report from the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security.
Senator Bideri John Bonds, Head of the Senate Committee Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security noted that there is still a long way to go to render justice to genocide survivors.
"We cannot neglect the incredible achievements of the justice system in Rwanda but CNLG report showed that property restitution laws impede unity and reconciliation."
Bideri said that one of the challenges met in settling property restitution claims was that some of the criminals who were accused of damaging and stealing property during the genocide are deceased while some others fled the country.
Settling claims is made impossible by the fact that the government cannot track those who fled the country and that for many of them, no property is registered in their names to compensate the survivors.
In 2019, Prof Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, IBUKA President explained that apart from property restitution lawsuits, more than 141 ’Gacaca’ legal actions were not settled and that also obstructs the process of unity and reconciliation.
In addition, the Rwandan Senate recently called for measures to fight against genocide denial and ideologies spread daily on social media platforms. Genocide propaganda on social media was said to be one of the major reason obstructing unity and reconciliation especially within Rwandan communities living abroad.
’Gacaca Courts’ was a method of transitional justice which was created in 2002 to rebuild the Rwandan community in the wake of the genocide by placing justice in the hands of citizens. Up to 2 million lawsuits were settled by only 2012 when the lawsuits should have normally taken 110 years to settle.
In approximately 900,000 trials which were conducted under Gacaca Courts, 200,000 were claims for restitution of properties damaged or stolen during the genocide.
Currently, only 10 in 30 districts have completely settled lawsuits related to the 1994 genocide against Tutsi while in the remaining districts, the lawsuits are majorly about property restitution.