The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass killing of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutu sympathizers in Rwanda and was the largest atrocity during the Rwandan Civil War. This genocide was mostly carried out by two extremist Hutu militia groups, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, during about 100 days from April 6 through mid-July, 1994. At least 500,000 Tutsis and thousands of moderate Hutus died in the genocide. Some estimates put the death toll between 800,000 and 1,000,000.
In the wake of the Rwandan Genocide, the international community, and the United Nations in particular, drew severe criticism for its inaction. Despite international news coverage of the violence as it unfolded, most countries, including France, Belgium, and the United States, declined to prevent or stop the massacres. Canada continued to lead the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). Despite specific warnings and requests from UNAMIR's commanding officers in Rwanda, before and during the genocide, the UN Security Council refused to send additional support, declined UNAMIR's request for authorization to intervene, and even scaled back UNAMIR's forces and authority.
Fearing reprisals, hundreds of thousands of Hutu and other refugees fled into eastern Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). People who had actively participated in the genocide hid among the refugees, fueling the First and Second Congo Wars. Rivalry between Hutu and Tutsi tribal factions is also a major factor in the Burundi Civil War.
As the kings centralized their power and authority, they distributed land among individuals rather than allowing it to be passed down through lineage groups, of which many hereditary chiefs had been Hutu. Most of the chiefs appointed by the Mwamis were Tutsi. The redistribution of land, enacted between 1860 and 1895 by Mwami Rwabugiri, resulted in an imposed patronage system, under which appointed Tutsi chiefs demanded manual labor in return for the right of Hutus to occupy their land. This system left Hutus in a serf-like status with Tutsi chiefs as their feudal masters.
Under Mwami Rwabugiri, Rwanda became an expansionist state. Rwabugiri did not bother to assess the ethnic identities of conquered peoples and simply labeled all of them Hutu. The title Hutu, therefore, came to be a trans-ethnic identity associated with subjugation. While further disenfranchising Hutus socially and politically, this helped to solidify the idea that Hutu and Tutsi were labels of power, not ethnic, distinctions. In fact, one could kwihutura, or shed Hutuness, by accumulating wealth and rising through the social hierarchy. Conversely, a Tutsi who lost property could undergo gucupira, and lose their status.
Following the Berlin Conference, held in 1885, Rwanda and Burundi were ceded to Germany, who held it until the 1918 Treaty of Versailles, when it was ceded to Belgium. The Belgians, seeking a non-indigenous explanation for the complex monarchy they found in the colony, framed the Hutu/Tutsi distinction as one of race, rather than economics or ethnicity. The Belgians issued racial identification cards to every Rwandan, giving preferential treatment to Tutsis for positions in education, politics and business.
The 1959 "social revolution" led by the Hutu nationalist party Parmehutu (Parti du Mouvement de l'Émancipation Hutu) established the foundations of a Hutu-led republic. It also resulted in the deaths of some 20,000 Tutsi, while an additional 200,000 fled to neighbouring countries. Independence from Belgium followed in 1961.
The Rwandan government portrayed the invasion as an attempt to bring the Tutsi ethnic group back into power. The violence increased ethnic tensions as Hutus rallied around the President. Habyarimana himself reacted by immediately repressing Tutsis and Hutus who were perceived to be in league with Tutsi interests. Habyarimana justified these acts by proclaiming it was the intent of the Tutsis to restore a kind of Tutsi feudal system and thus to enslave the Hutu race. The journal Kangura, active from 1990 to 1993, was instrumental in inciting ethnic hatred and violence.
On August 4, 1993, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the Government of Rwanda signed the Arusha Accords, which were meant to end the civil war. The accords stripped considerable power from the all-powerful president, then Juvénal Habyarimana. Most of the power was vested into the Transitional Broad Based Government (TBBG) that would include the RPF as well as the five political parties that had formed the coalition government, in place since April 1992, to govern until proper elections could be held. The Transitional National Assembly (TNA), the legislative branch of the transitional government, was open to all parties, including the RPF. The extremist Hutu Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), nominally controlled by President Habyarimana, was strongly opposed to sharing power with the RPF, however, and refused to sign the accords. When at last it decided to agree to the terms, the accords were opposed by the RPF. The situation remained unchanged until the genocide.
Preparations for the genocideGovernment leaders met in secret with youth group leaders, forming and arming militias called Interahamwe (meaning "Those who stand (fight, kill) together" in Kinyarwanda) and Impuzamugambi (meaning "Those who have the same (or a single) goal").
On January 11, 1994 Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire (UN Force Commander in Rwanda) notified Military Advisor to the Secretary-General, Major-General Maurice Baril of four major weapons caches and plans by the Hutus for extermination of Tutsis. The telegram from Dallaire stated that an informant who was top level Interhamwe militia trainer was in charge of demonstrations carried out a few days before. The goal of the demonstrations was to provoke RPF battalion in Kigali into firing upon demonstrators and Belgian UNAMIR troops to use force. Under such scenario the Interhamwe would have an excuse to engage the Belgian troops and the RPF battalion. Several Belgians were to be killed which would guarantee a withdrawal of the Belgian contingent. According to the informant 1,700 Interhamwe militiamen were trained in Governmental Forces camps and he was ordered to register all the Kigali Tutsis. Dallaire made immediate plans for UNAMIR troops to seize the arms caches and advised UN Headquarters of his intentions, believing these actions lay within his mission's mandate. The following day headquarters stated in another cable that the outlined actions went beyond the mandate granted to UNAMIR under the Security Council Resolution 872. Instead, President Habyarimana was to be informed of possible Arusha Accords violations and the discovered concerns and report back on measures taken. The January 11 telegram later played important role in discussion about what information was available to the United Nations prior to the genocide.
The killing was well organized. By the time the killing started, the militia in Rwanda was 30,000 strong one militia member for every ten families and organized nationwide, with representatives in every neighborhood. Some militia members were able to acquire AK-47 assault rifles by completing requisition forms. Other weapons, such as grenades, required no paperwork and were widely distributed. Many members of the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi were armed only with machetes, but these were some of the most effective killers.
Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda revealed, in his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal, that the genocide was openly discussed in cabinet meetings and that "one cabinet minister said she was personally in favor of getting rid of all Tutsi; without the Tutsi, she told ministers, all of Rwanda's problems would be over." In addition to Kambanda, the genocide's organizers included Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, a retired army officer, and many top ranking government officials and members of the army, such as General Augustin Bizimungu. On the local level, the Genocide's planners included Burgomasters, or mayors, and members of the police.
Catalyst and initial events
On April 6 and April 7 the staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and Colonel Bagosora clashed verbally with the UNAMIR Force Commander Lieutenant General Dallaire, who stressed the legal authority of the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, to take control of the situation as outlined in the Arusha Accords. Bagosora disputed the authority, and Dallaire gave an escort of UNAMIR personnel to Mrs. Uwilingiyimana to protect her and to allow her to send a calming message on the radio the next morning. But by then, the presidential guard occupied the radio station and Mrs. Uwilingiyimana had to cancel her speech. In the middle of the day, she was assassinated by the presidential guard. The ten Belgian UNAMIR soldiers sent to protect her were later found killed; Major Bernard Ntuyahaga was convicted of the murders in 2007. Other moderate officials who favored the Arusha Accords were quickly assassinated. Protected by UNAMIR, Faustin Twagiramungu escaped execution. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil, Dallaire recalled the events from April 7, the first day of the genocide:
I called the Force HQ and got through to [Ghanaian Brigadier General] Henry [Anyidoho/em>]]. He had horrifying news. The UNAMIR-protected VIPs - Lando Ndasingwa [the head of the Parti libéral], Joseph Kavaruganda [president of the constitutional court], and many other moderates had been abducted by the Presidential Guard and had been killed, along with their families [...] UNAMIR had been able to rescue Prime Minister Faustin, who was now at the Force HQ.
GenocideJuvénal Habyarimana, has been implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide. Military and Hutu militia groups began rounding up and killing all Tutsis they could capture as well as the political moderates irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. Large numbers of opposition politicians were also murdered. Many nations evacuated their nationals from Kigali and closed their embassies as violence escalated. National radio urged people to stay in their homes, and the government-funded station RTLM broadcast vitriolic attacks against Tutsis and Hutu moderates. Hundreds of roadblocks were set up by the militia around the country. Lieutenant-General Dallaire and UNAMIR, escorting Tutsis in Kigali, were unable to do anything as Hutus kept escalating the violence and even started targeting, via RTLM, UNAMIR personnel and Lieutenant-General Dallaire himself.
The killing was quickly implemented throughout most of the country. The first to organize on the scale that was to characterize the genocide was the mayor of the northwestern town of Gisenyi, who on the evening of April 6th called a meeting to distribute arms and send out militias to kill Tutsis. Gisenyi was a center of anti-Tutsi sentiment, both as the homeland of the akazu and as the refuge for thousands of people displaced by the rebel occupation of large areas in the north. While killing occurred in other towns immediately after Habyarimana's assassination, it took several days for them to become organized on the scale of Gisenyi. The major exception to this pattern was in Butare Province. In Butare, Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana (no relation to the president), was the only Tutsi prefet and the province was the only one dominated by an opposition party. Prefet Habyarimana opposed the genocide, resulting in the province becoming a haven of relative calm, until he was arrested and killed on April 19th. Finding the population of Butare to lack enthusiasm for the killing, the government sent in militia members from Kigali and armed and mobilized the large population of Burundian refugees in the province, who had fled the Tutsi-dominated army fighting in the Burundian Civil War.
 One such massacre occurred at Nyarubuye. On 12 April 1994, more than 1,500 Tutsis sought refuge in a Catholic church in Kivumu. Local Interahamwe then used bulldozers to knock down the church building. People who tried to escape were hacked down with machetes or shot. Local priest Athanase Seromba was later found guilty of aiding and abetting demolition of the church and convicted of the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity. In another case, thousands sought refuge in Ecole Technique Officielle school in Kigali where Belgian UNAMIR soldiers were stationed. However, on 11 April 1994, Belgian soldiers withdrew from the school and members of the Rwandan armed forces and militia killed all the Tutsis who were hiding there.
There is no consensus on the number of dead between April 6 and mid-July. Unlike the genocides carried out by the Nazis or by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, authorities made no attempts to record deaths. The RPF government has stated that 1,071,000 were killed, 10% of which were Hutu. Philip Gourevitch agrees with an estimate of one million, while the United Nations lists the toll as 800,000. Alex de Waal and Rakiya Omar of African Rights estimates the number as "around 750,000," while Allison Des Forges of Human Rights Watch states that it was "at least 500,000." James Smith of Aegis Trust notes, "What's important to remember is that there was a genocide. There was an attempt to eliminate Tutsis men, women, and children and to erase any memory of their existence."
UNAMIR and the international community
The UN and its member states appeared largely detached from the realities on the ground. In the midst of the crisis, Dallaire was instructed to focus UNAMIR on only evacuating foreign nationals from Rwanda, and the change in orders led Belgian peacekeepers to abandon a technical school filled with 2,000 refugees, while Hutu militants waited outside, drinking beer and chanting "Hutu Power." After the Belgians left, the militants entered the school and massacred those inside, including hundreds of children. Four days later, the Security Council voted to reduce UNAMIR to 260 men.
Following the withdrawal of the Belgian forces, Lt-Gen Dallaire consolidated his contingent of Canadian, Ghanaian and Dutch soldiers in urban areas and focused on providing areas of "safe control". His actions are credited with directly saving the lives of 20,000 Tutsis. The administrative head of UNAMIR, former Cameroonian foreign minister Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, has been criticized for downplaying the significance of Dallaire's reports and for holding close ties to the Hutu militant elite.
The US government was reluctant to involve itself in the "local conflict" in Rwanda, and refused to even refer to it as "Genocide", a decision which President Bill Clinton later came to regret in a Frontline television interview in which he states that he believes if he had sent 5,000 US peacekeepers, more than 500,000 lives could have been saved.
The new Rwandan government, led by interim President Théodore Sindikubwabo, worked hard to minimize international criticism. Rwanda at that time had a seat on the Security Council and its ambassador argued that the claims of genocide were exaggerated and that the government was doing all that it could to stop it. Representatives of the Rwandan Roman Catholic Church, long associated with the radical Hutus in Rwanda, also used their links in Europe to reduce criticism. France, which felt the US and UK would use the massacres to try to expand their influence in that Francophone part of Africa, also worked to prevent a foreign intervention.
Finally, on May 17, 1994, the UN conceded that "acts of genocide may have been committed."  By that time, the Red Cross estimated that 500,000 Rwandans had been killed. The UN agreed to send 5,500 troops to Rwanda, most of whom were to be provided by African countries. This was the original number of troops requested by General Dallaire before the killing escalated. The UN also requested 50 armoured personnel carriers from the U.S., but for the transport alone they were charged 6.5 million U.S. dollars by the U.S. army. Deployment of these forces was delayed due to arguments over their cost and other factors.
On June 22, with no sign of UN deployment taking place, the Security Council authorized French forces to land in Goma, Zaire on a humanitarian mission. They deployed throughout southwest Rwanda in an area they called "Zone Turquoise," quelling the genocide and stopping the fighting there, but often arriving in areas only after the Tutsi had been forced out or killed. Operation Turquoise is charged with aiding the Hutu army against the RPF. The former Rwandan ambassador to France Jacques Bihozagara has testified, "Operation Turquoise was aimed only at protecting genocide perpetrators, because the genocide continued even within the Turquoise zone." France has always denied any role in the killing.
Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) renewed invasion
look you have to understand that there are two wars going on here. Theres a shooting war and a genocide war. The two are connected, but also distinct. In the shooting war, there are two conventional armies at each other, and in the genocide war, one of those armies, the government side with help from civilians, is involved in mass killings.
The victory of the RPF rebels and overthrow of the Hutu regime ended the genocide in July 1994, 100 days after it started.
Aftermathcholera and dysentery that swept the refugee camps.
After the victory of the RPF, the size of UNAMIR (henceforth called UNAMIR 2) was increased to its full strength, remaining in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.
In October 1996, an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge people in eastern Zaire, marked the beginning of the First Congo War, and led to a return of more than 600,000 to Rwanda during the last two weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of 500,000 more from Tanzania after they were ejected by the Tanzanian government. Various successor organizations to the Hutu militants operated in the eastern DRC for the next decade.
Gacaca, in order to address the enormous backlog of cases. Meanwhile, the UN set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, currently based in Arusha, Tanzania. The UN Tribunal has jurisdiction over high level members of the government and armed forces, while Rwanda is responsible for prosecuting lower level leaders and local people. Tensions arose between Rwanda and the UN over the use of the death penalty, though these were largely resolved once Rwanda abolished its use in 2007.
Despite substantial international assistance and political reformsincluding Rwanda's first ever local elections held in March 1999the country continues to struggle to boost investment and agricultural output and to foster reconciliation. In March 2000, after removing Pasteur Bizimungu, Paul Kagame became President of Rwanda. On August 25, 2003, Kagame won the first national elections since the RPF took power in 1994. A series of massive population displacements, a nagging Hutu extremist insurgency, and Rwandan involvement in the First and Second Congo Wars in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to hinder Rwanda's efforts.
Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire became the most well-known eyewitness to the genocide after co-writing the 2003 book describing his experiences with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Charges of revisionism
The context of the 1994 Rwandan genocide continues to be a matter of historical debate. There have been frequent charges of revisionism. Suspicions about United Nations and French policies in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994 and allegations that France supported the Hutus led to the creation of a French Parliamentary Commission on Rwanda, which published its report on December 15, 1998. In particular, François-Xavier Verschave, former president of the French NGO Survie, which accused the French army of protecting the Hutus during the genocide, was instrumental in establishing this Parliamentary commission. To counter those allegations, there emerged a "double genocides" theory, accusing the Tutsis of engaging in a "counter-genocide" against the Hutus. This theory is promulgated in Black Furies, White Liars (2005), the controversial book by French investigative journalist Pierre Péan. Jean-Pierre Chrétien, a French historian whom Péan describes as an active member of the "pro-Tutsi lobby," criticizes Péan's "amazing revisionist passion" ("étonnante passion révisioniste").
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