"This anthropological study of the legal phenomenon
of the grassroots gacaca courts in post-genocide Rwanda is beautifully written, and conceptually and methodologically exemplary. ... [the] chapters on the strategic nature of testimony—in which those who testified interwove truth, silence, and lies to secure their survival or increased wellbeing in the short or long run—and on the enormous variations in the experiences and outcomes of the gacaca courts in different parts of Rwanda are the most groundbreaking." ASA Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize Jury Report
"This is that rare book that systematically examines how ordinary people respond to the transitional justice enacted in their name. Bert Ingelaere s multisited and multimethod ethnography is a model for how to get at local understandings of grassroots mechanisms. His findings suggest cautionary lessons for anyone interested in making postconflict justice and reconciliation more community-based."
Lars Waldorf, University of York
"Among numerous publications on the subject, this is the most rigorous and reliable. It has much to say about the difficulties of reconciliation politics ... Essential." Choice Magazine
"It is satisfying [...] to read this highly informed and nuanced account of the Gacaca experience from Belgian anthropologist Bert Ingelaere, far better than previous studies. ... Through detailed observation of trials on multiple sites, hundreds of interviews including life story accounts, Ingelaere and his team uncover several aspects of the trails that are either counter-intuitive or don’t fit with the official aims or narrative. ... Outsider he might be, [...] Ingelaere has, in this excellent study, given us some tools to understand both Gacaca and modern Rwanda." Africa at LSE
"Bert Ingelaere’s Inside Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts: Seeking Justice after Genocide stands out from existing analyses for the methodological rigor on which it is based, and his resulting lucid insights into people’s quotidian experiences with the gacaca process. ... Those familiar with the region and scholarly debates will recognize that Ingelaere’s work emerges from a deep knowledge of the history, culture, and political dynamics of Rwanda, and will appreciate the fine-grained detail ... If you are to read only one book about Rwanda’s gacaca courts, you would do well to select this one." Canadian Journal of African Studies
"The study is at its liveliest and most insightful in its richly detailed accounts of these [gacaca] court cases. Long excerpts of trial transcripts provide a window into the complex, performative, and increasingly adversarial atmosphere produced in the space of these makeshift courts. Ingelaere vividly relays the emotive impact of these trials, from the importance of trust to the at times overwhelming presence of fear."
African Studies Review
"Based on extraordinary field research and close observation of the gacaca proceedings, Bert Ingelaere's study distinguishes itself not only for the rich empirical work but also for its nuanced analysis. He attends both to the top-down force of the state and to the practical, decentralized ways in which Rwandans manage their everyday lives. The book is an excellent example of in-depth place-based research that focuses on human rights issues of transnational concern."
Scott Straus, University of Wisconsin
"This masterful study provides a balanced, nuanced assessment of Rwanda's local courts, showing how diverse social dynamics influenced both the operations of gacaca and its outcomes in different local communities. Essential reading for anyone interested in transitional justice and conflict resolution, in Rwanda and beyond."
Catharine Newbury, Smith College