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.
DR Congo launches offensive against Hutu rebels AFP 24 February 2015 The army of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday launched an assault against Rwandan Hutu rebels in the volatile east of the country, military and official sources said. "Operations against the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) began in South Kivu early this morning and will last as long as these people resist," an officer in the armed forces (FARDC)
When are atrocities not considered genocide? UN says intent and number of victims are key factors National Post 9 February 2015 In its recent ruling neither Croatia or Serbia committed genocide, the UN’s highest court showed how high the bar is set to prove genocide. Intent is an important factor, as well as the numbers killed, The Post’s Steven Gelis reports: What’s the definition of genocide? The UN’s convention says it must be “committed
BBC had an agenda to twist Rwanda history – UK expert By Edwin Musoni, The New Times 26 November 2014 The producers of the controversial BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story set out to sway public opinion against the country by twisting the events that befell Rwanda two decades ago, a renowned Scottish researcher has said. Dr. Hazel Cameron, an expert on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, was yesterday testifying before the commission
Why Denial Violates the Genocide Convention: The Genocides of Armenians, Native Americans, and Tutsis in Rwanda The George Washington University Law School Michael K Young Faculty Conference Center 2000 H Street NW Washington DC Thursday, March 19, 2015 4:00 - 6:00 PM Presentation by Professor Gregory Stanton George Mason University Professor Stanton will speak on the Armenian Genocide of 1915 - 1922, the Native American genocides by European
Rwanda MPs condemn BBC Untold Story programme on genocide By BBC 23 October 2014 Rwanda's parliament has condemned the BBC for broadcasting a documentary which questioned official accounts of the 1994 genocide in the country. It approved a resolution calling on the government to ban the BBC in Rwanda and to charge the documentary-makers with genocide denial. At least 800,000 people died in the genocide. The BBC has denied that any part of the programme
Militia accused of Rwanda genocide facing onslaught By Julia Steers, CBS News 17 October 2014 Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda, the rebel militia that fled the country in the wake of the massacres is asking to return home. The FDLR, a Hutu army founded by members of the militias that perpetrated the genocide against the Tutsis, continues to take refuge in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where they have committed a litany of human
BBC accused of promoting genocide denial in Rwanda documentary The Independent Scholars and scientists write open letter 3 October 2014 By Ian Burrell A coalition of academics, scientists and journalists has written to the director general of the BBC to accuse the broadcaster of being “recklessly irresponsible” in promoting “genocide denial” in a BBC2 documentary on the Rwanda massacres of 1994. The letter by 38 experts on Rwanda expresses
Rwanda steps up human trafficking fight, rescues 150 victims By Clement Uwiringiyimana, Reuters 9 October 2014 Rwandan police have rescued more than 150 people from trafficking in the last four years, officials said on Wednesday, calling for greater efforts to combat the growing crime. Rwandan officials say women and girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are being trafficked for domestic and sex work both internally and abroad. Many end up in neighboring
U.N. council urges ‘neutralization’ of Rwandan rebels in Congo By Louis Charbonneau, Euronews 26 August 2014 The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday called for the “swift neutralization” of Rwandan rebels in Democratic Republic of the Congo as essential to bringing stability to the conflict-torn eastern regions of the country. Rwandan FDLR rebels, who seek to overthrow the Rwandan government and who include former soldiers and Hutu militia
I watched the Rwandan genocide unfold. We’re making the same mistakes in Iraq. By Romeo Dallaire, The Washington Post 18 August 2014 In 1994, I was tasked with stopping a genocide waged, in part, by children and youth. At the time, I was the United Nations Force Commander for the UN Assistance Mission to Rwanda. My opponents, the Interahamwe,were highly organized in their recruitment and training of youth, well before the killing began. I saw