In 1994, 800,000 men, women, and children were murdered, mostly Tutsi and some moderate Hutu, by the Interim Government of Rwanda, Rwandan Armed Forces, The Presidential Republican Guard, and Interahamwe (Hutu militias). Flying back from a peace conference in Tanzania, Rwandan President Habyarimana and President Ntaryamira of Burundi, both Hutus, were shot down over Kigali on April 6, 1994. Hutu Power extremists immediately launched the genocide to destroy the entire Tutsi population under the cover of Rwandan civil war. The genocide was led by a Hutu Power clique known as the Akazu, which came from top levels of the Rwandan government. They trained and armed militias and incited genocide months in advance.
Rwanda’s population in 1994 consisted of 85% Hutu, 14% Tutsi, and 1% Twa. Hutus and Tutsis shared a common language and culture. Most were Roman Catholics. There had been many inter-marriages, but a person’s “ethnic” identity was determined solely by his or her father’s ethnicity. German and Belgian colonizers favored Tutsis in government employment, education, the church, and business, which resulted in Hutu resentment. Belgians introduced identification cards noting ethnic identity in 1933. Ethnicity was kept on ID cards after independence in 1959.
In 1959, Hutus overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and began massacres of Tutsis. Tens of thousands of Tutsis fled to neighboring countries such as Uganda and Burundi. Tutsi refugees formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1987.
In 1990, the RPF invaded Rwanda with a force of 7,000 fighters from Uganda and a civil war began. Tutsis in Rwanda were suspected of being accomplices of the RPF. Hutu opposition parties to the President’s MRND were labeled traitors by the Rwandan government. Hutu hate radio and newspapers incited genocide.
A ceasefire to the civil war was signed in 1993 in Arusha, Tanzania. The United Nations sent a peacekeeping force (UNIMIR) to monitor implementation of the Arusha Accords. However, the UN Security Council refused to provide adequate numbers of well-armed troops to enforce it.
The Interim Government, Prefects, Mayors, Rwandan Armed Forces, and Gendarmes organized systematic genocide, but most of the killing was done by Hutu militias, the Interahamwe. Ordinary people, including shopkeepers, teachers, priests, and farmers were encouraged to join the genocide. The killers often knew their victims personally. It is estimated that 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the genocide. During approximately 100 days until mid-July, 1994, 800,000 people were killed. The genocide and civil war finished simultaneously when the RPF took military control of the entire territory of Rwanda.
In Resolutions 955 (1994) and 978, The United Nations Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to try top leaders of the genocide. Over 50 have been tried and over thirty have been convicted of genocide. 100,000 local “gaçaça” trials have been held, usually followed by community service. Rwanda is now in the midst of a lengthy process of reconciliation.
Tensions between Hutu deniers and Tutsis who continue to lead Rwanda have not yet fully healed the schisms underlying Rwanda’s post-genocidal recovery. The Rwandan government has launched a positive educational program to overcome many years of division. Rwanda has returned to rapid economic growth, religious freedom, and improvement in health.
Is Rwanda’s authoritarian state sustainable? Laura Seay, The Washington Post June 3 2016 Image: From left: Tony Blair, former British prime minister, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Howard G. Buffett, chairman and chief executive of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, at the World Economic Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, on May 12, 2016. (Cyril Ndegeya/AFP via Getty Images) Rwanda is the great success story of a post-conflict state in Africa. The country’s
Sweden: Refugee from Rwanda convicted in 1994 genocide Associated Press, The Washington Post May 16 2016 STOCKHOLM — A Swedish citizen originally from Rwanda was sentenced to life in prison Monday for his role in the 1994 genocide in the African country. Claver Berinkindi was found guilty of genocide and gross violation of international law. Some 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were killed by Hutu extremists during the Rwandan genocide, according
Rwanda Ex-Mayors Suspected of Roles in Genocide Go on Trial AURELIEN BREEDEN, The New York Times 10 May 2016 PARIS — Two former mayors from Rwanda went on trial in Paris on Tuesday for their suspected role in massacres of ethnic Tutsi in the early stages of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Tito Barahira, 64, the mayor of Kabarondo, a town nearly 50 miles east of the capital, Kigali, from 1977 to 1986, was a local Hutu party leader at the time of the
Rwanda: Mechanism Pledges Full Support in Tracking Genocide Fugitives Nkubito Bakuramutsa, AllAfrica Publication 21 April 2016 Image: In the picture, Ladislas Ntaganzwa (C) was escorted by police officers upon his arrival at Kigali airport on 20 March 2016. The United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals-UNMICT has pledged its full support in tracking down 1994 genocide against Tutsis fugitives who are still at large
Rwanda: Let's Close the Doors to Genocide Denial, Says Ex-ICTR Prosecutor Gashegu Muramira, All Africa 9 April 2016 Image: A guard opens the door to ITV News' John Ray.Photo: ITV News The outgoing Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Hassan Bubakar Jallow has called on the international community to step up efforts in fighting the genocide ideology. "We need to continue addressing the challenge of restoring
Burundi Ruling Party Accuses Rwanda of 'Exporting' Genocide By AFP, Daily Mail 27 March 2016 Rwandan President Paul Kagame gives a press conference in Dakar, on March 8, 2016 ©Seyllou (AFP/File) Burundi's ruling party has accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of seeking to "export" genocide, as relations between the two neighbours deteriorate further. In a statement provided to AFP Sunday, the head of the CNDD-FDD party said Kagame had
Genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa flown to Rwanda for trial BBC 20 March 2016 Rwanda genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa has been flown to Rwanda from Democratic Republic of Congo for trial. Arrested in eastern DR Congo in December, Mr Ntaganzwa, 53, is accused in a UN indictment of genocide, crimes against humanity and violating the Geneva Conventions. He is alleged to have helped form a Hutu militia "to exterminate" Tutsis while
Boutros Boutros-Ghali: How Rwanda's genocide haunted former UN secretary-general International Business Times February 16, 2016 By Elsa Buchanan The former secretary-general of the United Nations from January 1992 to December 1996, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, passed away on 16 February, aged 93. The first Arab (and Coptic Christian) to be appointed to the UN's highest position may have been applauded for helping organise a huge UN relief operation
We Can't Ignore The Worrying Signs of Genocide in Africa Gregory Stanton, Mail and Guardian, South Africa 29 January 2016 How do we make sure there’s not a return to the horror of Rwanda or Biafra? I have spent a lifetime working on the study of genocide, what causes it and how we can prevent the kind of mass killing that haunted the past century. From Armenia and the Nazi Holocaust to the Soviet Gulag, the Chinese Cultural Revolution,
'Hotel Rwanda' Hero Slams Post-Genocide Rule By Pamela Constable, Tampa Bay Times 28 January 2016 In 1994, a low-key hotel manager in Rwanda became an international hero for sheltering and saving the lives of more than 1,200 people from horrific ethnic slaughter. His display of courage was later portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. On Thursday, that former manager, Paul Rusesabagina, visited Washington and announced