This paper explores the attempts by international humanitarian agencies and the post-genocide Rwandan state respectively to deal with exceptionality created by the genocide and return to normality. It does so by comparing two kinds of camps that deal with exceptional life; the refugee camps for Hutu who fled after the genocide and the Rwandan government’s re-education camps. While there are resemblances between the exceptional space of refugee camps and the ingando camps, there are, however, also subtle differences. While the international community is attempting to create universal citizens out of ‘bare life’, the Rwandan state is attempting to exorcise a concrete historical moment of violence, and the Hutu who enter the ingando are produced as what I term ‘bad life’. In this sense, the idea of a new beginning in Rwanda differs from universal claims to justice in the legalistic sense and is in stead specific, political and at times violent. It is a political project of casting a new Rwanda in a specific image.
Development and Change, 2014, Vol 45, Issue 3, p. 415-433