The Gacaca courts (Kinyarwanda: [ɡɑ.t͡ʃɑ̌ː.t͡ʃɑ]) were a system of community justice in Rwanda following the 1994 genocide. The term 'gacaca' can be translated as 'short grass' referring to the public space where neighborhood male elders (abagabo) used to meet to solve local problems. The name of this system was then adopted in 2001 as the title of the state's new criminal justice system "Gacaca Courts" (Inkiko Gacaca) to try those deemed responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide where over an estimated 500,000 people were killed, tortured and raped. In 1994, the United Nations Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to try high-ranking government and army officials accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The Gacaca Courts were established in law in 2001, began to operate on a trial basis in 2002 and eventually came to operate as trials throughout the country by early 2007.
The Gacaca courts were presented as a method of transitional justice, claimed by the Rwandan government to promote communal healing and rebuilding in the wake of the Rwandan Genocide. Rwanda has especially focused on community rebuilding placing justice in the hands of trusted citizens. However, the system has come under criticism from a number of sources, including the Survivors Fund, which represents survivors of the genocide, due to the danger that it poses to survivors and there have been a number of reports on survivors being targeted for giving evidence at the courts. Scholars have shown how the courts became a critical mechanism for establishing the government's official narrative on the genocide, recognizing only Tutsi as victims and Hutu as perpetrators.