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Rwandans: a reeducation in how to live together

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"I give a lot of credit to survivors that, rather than seek vengeance, are finding ways to come together with their former neighbors," says Mr. Longman, who has been working in Rwanda for more than 20 years. "Survivors really are the group taking the lead in reconciliation."

The search for justice

"When you give testimony, and he gets out, at some point you are scared," Ms. Uwimana says. She and her 80-year-old mother live alone in a small house near Rwanda's capital, Kigali; Uwimana's husband died just before the genocide, and her son goes to school about an hour-and- a-half away. If she were to face any danger, she would face it alone.

"Me, I'm not scared," she insists. "I trust God to protect me. I didn't lie about what he did. And he accepted it."

"He" is the man who shot her. He was with the militias who came to her home, forced her and 10 family members outside, shot them, and threw them into a makeshift mass grave. Uwimana, and her mother and sister, managed to survive and crawl out of the grave, but she doesn't remember anything else about her survival.

Last fall, at , Uwimana recounted the story before the nine , or "persons of integrity," who oversee the trials. courts adapt a traditional dispute-resolution mechanism that Rwandans used before the country was colonized by Belgium.

Before, the were respected village elders; these days, they're elected by the community, their backgrounds vigorously investigated. Roughly 40,000 elected judges were dismissed for crimes as minor as small property infractions and for any hint of connection to genocide.

After several years of pilot trials, started nationwide in 2006, with over 12,000 courts meeting every week until just last month. The elected effectively served as both judges and jury, listening to witnesses and rendering a sentence. They were also de facto lawyers, rigorously questioning everyone who testifies before opening the floor to the community to do the same.

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