Post-genocide literature is everchanging in the topics and countries it explores as well as the discoveries it makes. Although it is challenging to address these sensitive topics given the severity of the crimes committed, learning more about how post-genocide societies move forward implicates many factors of international and domestic society. This study asks specifically, what effects do different restorative justice projects have on individuals’ interpersonal trust following genocide? To answer this question, theoretical understandings of transitional justice and reconciliation from both anthropological and political science backgrounds are utilized. In reviewing the highly nuanced literature on these terms, major themes arose relating to retributive justice and restorative justice. Using this as foundational framework, this research hypothesizes that the implementation of a bottom-up restorative justice attempt will increase the level of interpersonal trust in affected regions, only if these restorative justice practices are focused on the presence of communal interactions and participation of bystanders. To evaluate this hypothesis, this research will employ a mixed-method approach. First, a comparative case study will be used to test the bivariate relationship between restorative justice attempt and its effect on interpersonal trust. Through a systematic approach, the comparative case study is focused on the transitional justice processes of Rwanda and Guatemala, with Rwanda assessed to be the more bottom-up case. Following this comparison, an in-depth single case study of the bottom-up restorative justice processes of Rwanda will be done to see if there is a presence of community interactions and participation of bystanders within those processes. Ultimately, this study concludes that transitional justice efforts with a more-bottom up approach do lead to increased levels of interpersonal trust, compared to more top-down approaches. However, this research cannot conclude that there is a notable presence of both communal interactions and bystander participation within the bottom-up case. In a world where genocide continues to occur, this thesis hopes to contribute to the broader post-genocide literature and provide suggestions to increase restoration in society.


Leiby, Michele

Second Advisor

Matsuzawa, Seiko


Sociology and Anthropology; Political Science


Anthropology | Comparative Politics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2020 Emily Stoehr