Restorative Justice approach places first the needs of the victim and the offender. In our context the punitive approach would not repair the damage done. The restoration of Rwandan social fabric being made possible through a variety restorative justice mechanisms.
Under the project “Strengthening the Rule of Law in Rwanda: Justice, peace and security for the people” was implemented in Bugesera prison and in the communities of Bugesera, Rwamagana, Ngoma, Musanze, and Rubavu districts. This program also contributed to psychosocial reintegration of prisoners. The outcome of the programme resulted into prisoners writing confession letters of crimes they committed during genocide. The participation in the healing dialogues propelled them to meet with families of genocide survivors for truth telling and seeking forgiveness. In addition, a space for reconciliation dialogues has been initiated between families of genocide prisoners and genocide survivors to foster harmony and peace.
Significant strides were made through multiple interventions and initiatives that aimed at fostering healing and reconciliation between genocide survivors, perpetrators and their families. In 2019, 12,989 individuals participated in sensitization campaigns about unity and reconciliation in communities and prisons. As the result, 6,700 genocide prisoners wrote confession letters. Prison Fellowship Rwanda was able to conduct reconciliation and counselling sessions for 2,100 prisoners to prepare them psychologically to meet with genocide survivors they offended for seeking forgiveness. Additionally, 2,456 families of genocide survivors offended by 2,100 prisoners were assisted to create space for dialogues, trauma healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.
In 2021 the activities implemented promoted social cohesion, peace, safety and targeted 800 beneficiaries who attended reconciliation dialogues in Ngoma and Nyamagabe districts and in Nyamagabe prison as well. People from different backgrounds were trained on healing, and reconciliation including 100 prisoners,273 families of prisoners in Ngoma and Nyamagabe Districts, 280 family representatives of genocide survivors from Ngoma and Nyamagabe Districts, 147 families of returnees from Ngoma District, and 800 women genocide prisoners in Nyamagabe district.