Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Genocide, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Reconciliation


Criminology and Criminal Justice


This study examines the reconciliation potential of Rwandans incarcerated for the crime of genocide. Utilising survey data from 302 male and female prisoners incar‐ cerated in the Rwandan Correctional System, this study explores genocide perpe‐ trators’ depression, anxiety, anger-hostility and somatic symptoms, levels of post‐ traumatic stress, degree of social support and attitudes towards unity and reconci‐ liation. The data demonstrate that engaging in killing can have deep psychological impacts for genocide perpetrators. The data indicate that although more than two decades have passed since the genocide, perpetrators are experiencing high levels of genocide-related posttraumatic suffering. Perpetrators are persistently re-experi‐ encing genocide, purposefully avoiding thoughts and memories of the genocide, and experiencing physical and emotional arousal and reactivity. The sample had a strong desire for all Rwandans to live in peace and unity. There is, however, an urgent need for physical and mental health interventions, as well as services that facilitate the rebuilding of family relationships well in advance of release. Improving the physical and mental well-being of both perpetrators of the genocide and victims can only be a positive development as Rwanda continues to build a unified, reconciled and resilient future.


This article was published in The International Journal of Restorative Justice, 2019 vol. 2(2) pp. 260-287 doi:10.5553/IJRJ/258908912019002002005. Re-posted with permission of the publisher.



Publisher Citation

Barnes-Ceeney, K., Leitch. L. & Gideon, L. (2019). Reconciliation potential of Rwandans convicted of genocide. The International Journal of Restorative Justice, 2019 vol. 2(2) pp. 260-287.