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

Erin Jessee

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalAfrica Initiative Discussion Paper Series
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • reconcilliation
  • exhuming
  • indentifying
  • victims
  • genocide
  • rwanda


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