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.
UN Tribunal on Rwandan Genocide Formally Closes – Major Role in Fight Against Impunity UN News Centre 31 December 2015 The United Nations tribunal set up 21 years ago to judge those guilty for the genocide in Rwanda of more than 800,000 people – overwhelmingly Tutsi, and also moderate Hutu, Twa and others – formally closed today after delivering 45 judgments as part of the Organization’s efforts to stamp out impunity for crimes
Exploring Stories of Genocide and Justice after Conflict
Samantha Lakin, TED Talk
18 October 2015
Here is a Ted Talk by Samantha Lakin through TedXFulbright Santa Monica 2015. She spoke about Exploring stories of Genocide and Justice after Conflict in Rwanda.
Copyright: TED Talk 2015
The Next Genocide Timothy Snyder, New York Times 12 September, 2015 Image: In Sudan, drought led to conflict and the displacement of many civilians. Credit Lynsey Addario for The New York Times New Haven — BEFORE he fired the shot, the Einsatzgruppe commander lifted the Jewish child in the air and said, “You must die so that we can live.” As the killing proceeded, other Germans rationalized the murder of Jewish children in the same way:
Fragile Burundi Casts a Wary Eye on Rwanda Marc Santora, New York Times 03 August 2015 KIGALI, Rwanda — Burundi and Rwanda can seem deceptively like conjoined twins. They share a common history, geography and language, and their populations are divided ethnically between Hutu and Tutsi. Both were devastated by some of the worst mass slaughter of the 20th century. Since the guns fell silent, they have charted very different courses as they try
Exclusive: Rwanda Revisited Former President Clinton said he never knew the extent of suffering during Rwanda's genocide. But America's diplomats on the ground knew exactly what was happening -- and they told Washington. Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy 05 April, 2015 (posted on Genocide Watch 16 June 2015) On March 25, 1998, President Bill Clinton expressed regret for failing to halt genocide in Rwanda, saying that he didn’t “fully appreciate
Rwanda: Ruling party RPF set to change constitution to allow President Kagame third term bid Ludovica Iaccino, International Business Times 16 June 2015 Image: Rwandan president Paul Kagame Rwanda's ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has approved an amendment to the country's constitution to allow current President Paul Kagame to run for the next presidential election in 2017. It is believed that 3.6 million people signed a petition
Rwandan Genocide Survivors in the U.S. Revive Their Testimonies to Build the 21st Genocide Commemoration Samantha Lakin, Huffington Post 8 April 2015 April 7-14 marks the 21st commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. As my Rwandan friends in Kigali have said this week, the rains have come, the preparations have been made. I sit in my home in Boston and imagine where I was this time last year. Saa kumi n'ebyiri z'igitondo,
Rwanda confirms finalizing deal with Israel to accept asylum seekers Ilan Lior, Haaertz News 5 April 2015 Rwanda is finalizing a deal to accept Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers deported by Israel, and Uganda will consider doing so, African newspapers have reported, citing Rwandan and Ugandan officials. Israel said last week that two African countries had agreed to accept asylum seekers, but Jerusalem declined to give the countries’
Slow start revives doubts about Congo campaign against Rwandan rebels Aaron Ross, Reuters 22 March 2015 (Reuters) - The government soldiers manning an outpost high above the town of Kashuga have a panoramic view of the hills and valleys of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, home to hundreds of Rwandan Hutu rebels their government has promised to crush. But three weeks after Congo's army launched an offensive against the Democratic Forces
Rwanda urged to take criminal action over BBC genocide film 28 February 2015 BBC Africa An inquiry in Rwanda has recommended that the government initiate criminal and civil proceedings against the BBC over a documentary which questioned official accounts of the 1994 genocide. Inquiry head Martin Ngoga found that the documentary failed to meet the BBC's own editorial standards. The BBC says it is "extremely disappointed" by the findings. Rwanda