Visions of Rwanda Photo Project
After the genocide Rwanda's legal infrastructure was decimated. The country had lost most of its judicial personnel, not to mention the destruction to courts, jails and other infrastructure. The Rwandan government began the long-awaited genocide trials at the end of 1996. By 2000, there were over 100,000 genocide suspects awaiting trial, in addition to persons detained for common crime.
In 2001, the government began implementing a traditional or customary justice system involving the participation of the whole local community, known as Gacaca, in order to address the enormous backlog of cases. Communities elected judges to hear the trials of genocide suspects accused of all crimes except planning of genocide or rape. Rwanda continues to use the national court system to try those involved in planning genocide or rape under normal penal law.