Rwanda became notorious internationally in 1994 when the genocide that mainly targeted the Tutsi people was perpetrated. How the country responded to the tragedy through national reconciliation is the core of this paper. By relying on a document analysis, the author provides contextual information and an analysis of Rwanda’s experiences in national reconciliation after the 1994 genocide, and an overview of the lessons learnt from these experiences. The paper discusses how the post-genocide government has been the driving force for national reconciliation. The government considered national reconciliation to be the only option were Rwanda to survive and tapped into home-grown solutions that combined universal and culture-based approaches and that involved judicial and non-judicial responses. The implementation process involved mandatory individual and community participation. The paper also discusses the successes and challenges in the process. Each conflict is unique, and addressing any conflict’s aftermath requires sensitivity to its nature and context. However, Rwanda’s experience with national reconciliation offers ‘food for thought’ for other countries living their own traumatic experiences of violent conflicts.
Algeria is a post-conflict society that experienced a controversial process of reconciliation. The author scrutinises this process by highlighting the principal measures that were undertaken by the government, the constraints, and the complementary role played by civil society organisations. She also sets out the aspects of the Algerian experience that could be relevant for other countries experiencing violence, including Libya, where there is the need for reconciliation and peacebuilding processes. The analysis is divided into four sections. First, the author contextualises the conflict and sets out the main phases of the war. Then, she highlights the first steps toward negotiations and the factors that facilitated this. The third section examines the Civil Concord Law (CCL), which has been considered a significant milestone in the Algerian reconciliation process. The fourth element explores the principle components of national reconciliation looking particularly at the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation (CNPR). Finally, the author illuminates the role that has been played by civil society organizations in establishing and enhancing the human rights regime after the war.