Promoting reconciliation through exhuming and identifying victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Jessee, Erin (2012) Promoting reconciliation through exhuming and identifying victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Africa Initiative Discussion Paper Series, 4.

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    Abstract

    This discussion paper provides an overview of three different phases of exhumations that have taken place in Rwanda following the 1994 genocide. Drawing upon qualitative data resulting from interviews with 24 survivors from Kibuye, as well as meetings with Rwandan government officials, aid workers and other relevant experts, the paper argues that previous efforts to exhume and rebury the anonymous victims of the genocide with respect have failed to adequately address the harms affecting survivors. In particular, survivors desire new exhumations that prioritize locating and providing definitive identifications of the victims, after which point the remains should be returned to survivors to rebury in the manner of their choosing. This discussion paper represents an important first step toward bringing exhumations into conversation with transitional justice discourses and advances an ongoing conversation regarding the state of social reconstruction in post-genocide Rwanda.