South African Truth Commissions and Country Studies

After finishing the summaries of the truth commissions, truth and reconciliation commissions, and reconciliation commissions, I am back to working on the Rwanda document. There are unique concerns that come with drafting anything about Rwanda because of differing views among scholars, Rwandan citizens, the UN, the African Union, etc. about events that occurred within Rwanda. Groups have heavily debated the use of terms, like genocide, to describe events within the country and numbers of people killed or women that have been raped. Understandably, many feel very strongly about their views, and I have been cautioned that if I put my name on the finished product and it is published on the CSVR website, I could potentially face backlash from those who disagree with my interpretation events or wording. My supervisor has suggested that I wait until the paper is complete before deciding whether to officially put my name on the document as a part of the team that has researched and created drafts for this paper. It is certainly something to think about as I consider future career paths and opportunities.

The transition back to the country study of Rwanda from the TC, TRC, and RC summaries has been perfect because I was able to gain a broad understanding of transitional justice in dozens of African countries and am now diving more deeply into the TJ mechanisms, legislation, and outcomes in one of the countries, Rwanda. Because I had to read the Rwandan mandate for the summary, I had an idea of what the country's governmental, judicial, and general societal systems were supposed to be. Then, I was able to compare and contrast while compiling the final report. In law, it is not often that we have the benefit of seeing the entire process in writing. This was a unique opportunity to have access to both past, present, and hope for the future and has become one of my favorite projects that I have done. 

In terms of the staff and other interns, the universities are beginning their fall semesters soon so two interns have resumed full time education. They are missed at our meetings as they always provided helpful insight and thoughtful conversations at their meetings. Additionally, thanks to their work, I have had the opportunity to learn about Kenya and South Sudan – both of which have relatively new truth commissions and rich histories. The interns’ projects are comprehensive and well done. While in our last weekly meeting, I realized that I had a knowledge base at my disposal for projects, like potential journal note topics, that I could use as I look forward to the rest of my law school career and future jobs. I, unfortunately, only have a couple of weeks left before my internship is completed. I am making the most of my last few weeks by engaging with my supervisors and fellow interns. Already, I can tell that this is an experience I will look back on and truly appreciate.