Stefanie’s dissertation on “The Promise of Access to Justice in Rwanda” addresses implications of contemporary re-makings of legal institutions. The study considered repercussions of the aftermath of genocide and its legal redress. Going beyond conventional works on transitional justice mechanisms, her work shifts the focus to what actually remains after (inter-)national justice initiatives have come to an end and state institutions come back in. Today the Rwandan justice system has become a site of continuous transformation, experimentation and juridification. The making of law gains momentum and has shifted the boundary of the justice system. Emerging legal institutions and involved actors reiterate past violence and injustice by investing in certain forms (of legal aid or dispute resolution in mediation committees). It is of interest how organizational forms and legal institutions are embroiled in violent history and hopes and anticipations of a better future. In establishing legal aid and mediation as forms of organizing access to institutions of the legal system, contemporary Rwandan legislation and legal institutions are anticipated to right the wrongs of the past by including ordinary Rwandans in the legal sphere. This study was also an attempt to consider the capacity of ordinary Rwandans and peasants in the making and analysis of legal institutions on the threshold of the legal system.

Key publication

Bognitz, Stefanie (2018) "Promising Access to Justice: The Everyday of Legal Aid and Mediation in Rwanda." Doctoral thesis, University of Halle.

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