Truth or Reconciliation Mechanism: Arusha Accord - 4 August 1993

Protocol of Agreement on Power-Sharing within the Framework of a Broad-Based Transitional Government between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front (9 January 1993)

Chapter IV: Specialised Commissions

Article 24

In addition to the Commissions already agreed upon in the previous Agreements, the following broad-based specialised Commissions shall be established:

A. Commission for National Unity and National Reconciliation This commission, which reports to the Government, shall be responsible for:

1. Preparing a national debate on national unity and national reconciliation.

2. Prepare and distribute information aimed at educating the population and achieving national
unity and national reconciliation.

Article 80

In a declaration signed by their authorised representatives, the political forces called upon to participate in the Transitional Institutions shall undertake to:

1. Support the Peace Agreement and work towards its successful implementation;

2. Promote national unity and national reconciliation of the Rwandese people:

3. Abstain from all sorts of violence and inciting violence, by written or verbal communication, or by any other means;

4. Reject and undertake to fight any political ideology or any act aimed at fostering discrimination based mainly on ethnic, regional, sexual or religious differences;

5. Promote and respect the rights and freedoms of the human person;

6. Promote political education among their members, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Rule of Law;

7. Work towards a system whereby the political power serves the interests of all the Rwandese people without any discrimination;

8. Respect the secularism of the Rwandese State;

9. Respect national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country.

Article 81

The Commission on National Unity and National Reconciliation shall ensure that each political force respects the principles spelt out under Article 80 above.

Article 82

Any political force violating the provisions of Article 80 shall be liable to a sanction of exclusion from the Transitional Institutions, without prejudice to other legal or statutory provisions on the matter. This measure shall be taken by the Supreme Court upon request of the Government, acting on the Commission's report. The request to the Supreme Court shall be preceded by a warning by the Government to the political party concerned; when the warning has not been heeded.

Sub-Section 2: Additional Duties of the Commission for National Unity and National Reconciliation.

Article 83

The two parties agree that the Commission on National Unity and National Reconciliation, in addition to the duties specified under Article 24 A of the Protocol of Agreement signed on 30th October, 1992, shall see to it that each political force respects the principles spelt out in the Political Code of Ethics binding the political forces to participate in the Transitional Institutions.

Implementation History

1993

No Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1994

No Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1995

No Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1996

No Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1997

Minimum Implementation

On 28 January 1997, a Presidential Decree (Number 25/01) was given to establish the National Commission For Unity And Reconciliation. 

1998

Minimum Implementation

Presidential Decree 25/01 was altered on 21 November 1998 in the cabinet meeting that adopted a legislation setting up a national commission for unity and reconciliation.1

  • 1. "Rwanda: Cabinet Approves Establishment of Commissions on Rights, Reconciliation," BBC Monitoring Africa, November 21, 1998.
1999

Full Implementation

Two years after the presidential decree, the NURC became operational in March 1999, by the law No. 03/99 of 12/03/99.2 The objective of the establishment of the commission was to both foster unity and reconciliation among the people of Rwanda and to promote ethnic reconciliations and human rights.

2000

Full Implementation

Once operational, the NURC was very active and its activities were followed and supported by the European Union.3 The commission actively engaged in organizing conferences throughout the country so that people would exchange ideas and together find solutions to a number of problems facing the country and also took charge of organizing ingando re-education camps for re-integrated soldiers, released prisoners, university students, government officials, and others.4

  • 3. "EU Provides 7.2m Euro To Support Justice System, Civil Society," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 14, 2000
  • 4. "Rwanda Holds National Conference on Unity and Reconciliation," Xinhua General News Service, October 18, 2000.
2001

Full Implementation

The NURC reportedly continued to make progress in its efforts to restore normalcy to the country following the 1994 genocide.5

  • 5. "Reconciliation Commission Making Progress, Says Official," Africa News, June 27, 2001
2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed this year. 

Postscript: As of 2003, the commission was active. While critics claim that the NURC had been used to try to promote unity around the RPF and its agenda not to truly promote reconciliations, the use of Gaçaca as a form of transitional justice and reconciliation can be seen as significant effort aimed towards reconciliations. Elections for Gaçaca judges were held in 2001 and the first sessions began in 2002 and fully completed in 2005.