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Rift Valley Institute

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Rwanda: Of What Use Are International Monitors?

Many Rwandans would have been interested in a recent online debate hosted by the Oxford Transitional Justice Research at the University of Oxford, UK, under the motion "international monitors, such as the UN Group of Experts or human rights groups, are essential for reporting on mass conflict."

It pitted Jason K. Stearns for the motion, against Phil Clark, Lecturer in Comparative and International Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and author of the book, "The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice without Lawyers".

Stearns is a political analyst, director of the Rift Valley Institute's Usalama Project and author of the book, "Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa". He headed the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008.

One needs not be reminded of the passions the international monitors have raised locally and in the region due to their reporting on conflict and human rights violations. It bears no repeating here, though it may be mentioned that the reports are often at odds between the international community, the monitors and the regional actors. …

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