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Editor’s Introduction The focus of this special issue of Genocide Studies and Prevention is the aftermath of genocide. By its very nature, this subject is broad and multi-dimensional. Given the intricacy of the process of genocide itself, it is easy to lose sight of the great complexity of what happens after. As the articles in this issue attest, while of course the first priority is always to end the killing, the post-genocide period poses a range of great challenges, and genocide casts its shadow across generations. Genocide continues long after the direct killing stops. The literature in this essential area of genocide studies is growing. Some scholars consider short-term issues. Questions abound: What are the immediate needs of the victims, how should they be addressed, and, historically, how have they been addressed? What levels of perpetrators should be prosecuted and how? How should bystanders in the perpetrator group be treated? How can post-genocide stability be established and reconstruction begun? What needs to be done in a post-genocide society to ensure survivors’ safety and security? What challenges do victims who might share identity characteristics with perpetrators face? And so on. Second are the longer-term questions: How do past experiences of genocide and its aftermath affect law on genocide and law more generally, political structures, and geopolitics? Should reparation, or another form of restitution, be made to the victims? If so, in what form(s), and who is responsible? Should improved relations between those identified with the perpetrator group and those identified with the victim group be a priority, or even an objective at all? What does genocide do to intergroup relations? How does the violence affect victims? Is trauma transferred intergenerationally, and, if so, what is transferred and how? How are perpetrators and those identified with them affected by genocide? Finally, how is genocide represented in literature, art, and film? What do the representations tell us about the impact of genocide? Do these responses give us insight into the events themselves? What do they tell us about the relationships of the artists, writers, and filmmakers to genocides and genocide in general? Clearly, no single journal issue can address all the concerns germane to this topic. But the collection of excellent articles in this issue of GSP covers a great deal of that ground. The authors address many of these questions and issues in important, groundbreaking ways; they offer important insights into the particular cases they take up that will be of significant value in engaging many other cases as well. The first article is ‘‘The Injustice of Local Justice: Truth, Reconciliation and Revenge in Rwanda’’ by Jennie E. Burnet, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Louisville, in the United States. Based on extensive fieldwork in Rwanda over the past decade, Burnet develops a nuanced analysis of the functioning of the gacaca courts, the traditional Rwandan community-level mechanism for conflict resolution that, in modified form, is being applied to those accused of participating in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Through numerous interviews with Rwandans working through a sample of gacaca processes, Burnet produces important insights into how Rwandans perceive the processes and, thus, how successful they are in resolving the outstanding judicial and moral issues of the genocide. While Burnet’s analysis has important implications for the rebuilding of Rwandan society and state, broadly speaking, her work also offers great insight into local experiences of and Henry Theriault, ‘‘Editor’s Introduction,’’ Genocide Studies and Prevention 3, 2 (August 2008): 167–170. ß 2008 Genocide Studies and Prevention. doi:10.3138/gsp.3.2.167 obstacles to reconciliation and social reconstruction. She offers an important corrective to two contrary tendencies: (1) dismissing the gacaca process as a form of victor’s justice in post-genocide Rwanda and (2) idealizing it as a grassroots, locally driven alternative to the flawed international tribunal model. Perhaps most striking is the sensitivity of the gacaca process to local variations in the goals, relations, and attitudes of those working through the process. In fact, Burnet’s research leads her to conclude that in some contexts the gacaca process has actually been, or been perceived to be, a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-9933
Print ISSN
1911-0359
Pages
pp. 167-170
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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