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Hommage to Bert Ingelaere

Today we learnt of the passing of Bert Ingelaere. Our thoughts go out to his friends, colleagues, and family.

Bert Ingelaere participated in the 2019 conference-debate “Violences extrêmes”, organized by MSF together with the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. There he shared the results of extensive research that he conducted between 2005 to 2012 into the gacaca, the transitional justice system of the Rwandan government. He went on to contribute an article on the multiple forms of truth on display at the gacaca tribunals, first for an edition of The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs and then for the book “Violences extrêmes. Enquêter, secourir, juger”, conceived as a result of the conference. This article was in fact part of his PhD thesis that he had not been able to include in his own book “Inside Rwanda’s gacaca courts” due to a lack of space. We therefore had the honour of publishing this important and previously unreleased piece.

Before choosing anthropology as a career, Bert studied philosophy, a discipline that never left him. His work on different forms of truth was explicitly inspired by philosophers such as Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. He was able to merge this philosophical inspiration into his anthropological studies, in a way that we can qualify as perfectionist given how meticulous they were. The piece that Bert provided to us illustrated very well this rigorous but subtle approach. It is therefore with great sadness that we discover not only the loss such a talented researcher, who would otherwise have gone on to accomplish so much more, but also the loss of our friend, a truly “nice guy” - as Bert's anglophone colleagues would describe him.

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“Hommage to Bert Ingelaere”, 7 février 2022, URL :

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