The Rwandan Genocide
Tiffany Brown 1 Ms. Dewees Senior Seminar 5-22-09 The Rwandan Genocide Brown The Rwandan Genocide was massive killings in 1994. Rwanda was characterized by ethnic divides between the Hutu and Tutsi population. The Tutsis were being targeted no matter what age or gender. Innocent civilians were all unarmed and weren’t given a chance. It established ethnic conflict that would eventually leave Rwanda in great potential for future violence.
The genocide escalated from a peaceful background over hundreds of years that then evolved into hatred of ethnic differences that led to mass killings ending with the aftermath of Rwanda’s most anted for the murder of hundreds of thousands. Background Rwanda is one of the smallest nations in the African continent and bordered by Zaire, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Rwanda is characterized by highland plateaus between the Nile and Zaire River basins and the mountain ranges which dominate its landscape, both contributing to its nickname. “The Land of the Thousand Hills” (Robert Genond 1995).
A moderate tropical climate facilitates as many as three agricultural seasons, utilizing nearly every piece of land, and Rwanda’s crop production nearly exceeds that of any other African nation. Brown 2 The first settlers of Rwanda were the Batwas or the Twa people in 2,000 BC. They were very small people but very courageous. They lived off hunting only using slings as weapons. The Twa were the only people that explored the land until the new beings that were much taller come to their land. These newcomers were called Bahutus or we know as the Hutus people.
The Hutu people pushed the Twa deeper into the forest clearing away the land for them. Long after the Hutus arrived, there was a new arrival of people. The new arrival was called the Batutsis or we know as the Tutsis. All groups of people were based on lineage or on loyalty upon their leaders. They came up with a language called Kinyarwanda that connected with their religious beliefs, and created a culture which valued song, dance, poetry, and rhetoric. They celebrated the same beliefs even during the genocide, the killers and their intended victims sang of some of the same leaders from the Rwandan past.
When Rwanda emerged as a major state in the eighteenth century, its rulers measured their power in the number of their subjects and counted their wealth in the number of their cattle. The Hutus and Tutsis were usually related. Giving or recieving cattle were a way of winning supporters. A large number of supporters helped win cattle and therefore help win wealth and power, but not all cattle owners held state positions. The pastoralists known as Bagogwe, moved in the northwest, than sharing it. Not all members were born rich in cattle, although those lacking wealth wanted it along with power.
Brown 3 Cultivators skilled in making war and able to mobilize large groups of followers rose to importance through the military system, particularly under the late nineteenth century ruler Rwabugiri, who brought Rwanda to the height of its power. To expand, Rwanda neighboring peoples regardless of whether they were pastoralists or cultivators and regardless of whether they were organized in lineages or in states. By the end of the nineteenth century, the ruler governed the central regions. He made so that powerful lineage groups dominated. Some of them were pastoralists and some cultivators (Either Tutsis or Hutus).
In addition, he tolerated the existence of several small states within the boundaries of Rwanda, usually because their rulers were thought to control rainfall, crop pests, or some other aspect of agricultural roductivity important for Rwanda as a whole. The President Habyarimana and his circle counted themselves as the representatives of Bushiru, the largest such state within Rwanda at the beginning of the colonial era. As the Rwandan state grew in strength, the governing became more clearly defined and its members, like powerful people in most societies, began to think of themselves as superior to ordinary people.
The word Tutsi, which apparently first described the status of an individual a person rich in cattle became the term that referred to the group as a whole and the word Hutu meaning originally a subordinate or follower of a more powerful person referred to the mass of the ordinary people. The identification of Tutsi pastoralists as power holders and of Hutu cultivators as subjects was becoming Brown 4 general when Europeans first arrived in Rwanda at the turn of the century, but it was not yet completely fixed throughout the country.
The Genocide When the Europeans arrived, they took complete control over the Rwandan government and when they left the Hutus decided to take over. They took they pain they suffered out on the Tutsis as if it was the Tutsis fraught. The president wanted to end this war and make peace but on April 6, 1994, President Habyarimana and President Cyprien Ntaryanmira were killed when their plane shot down when they were going to sign a peace treaty. The Hutus assumed the Tutsis did it because they were unhappy with they the president had been handling things, and the Tutsis believed that Hutus were behind the attack because they.
It was day one for genocide. On the night of April 7th, the military forces of Rwanda and the Hutu army troops blocked the roads and started the slaughter of Tutsis and the political leaders of Hutus. The mass killing started in Gisenyi within hours of the plane crash and then spread to Ruhengeri in the north, Kigali in the center, Kibuye in the west and Kibungo, Cyangugu and Gikongoro in the south. Thousands of people were killed on the first day. Some managed to survive finding escape in the UN camps.
However in most of the cases the UN peacekeeping forces did not intervene into the conflict trying to maintain the rules of the “observing” mandate, meaning the Security Council increased the strength of the Mission to enable it to provide protection to civilians at risk. By then the civil conflict had ended with a Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) victory and the new Government and Brown 5 the country needed assistance in national reconstruction and rehabilitation, 2004), so it was a risk to protect the civilians because it wasn’t under United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) mandate.
The state controlled radio took active participation in hate towards the Tutsis. The radio also coordinated the actions of the attackers by spreading the information about the hiding places of the Tutsis. During the genocide itself, physical features such as long nose, long fingers and eight were considered a sufficient basis for a sentence of death. ID cards were constantly requested at the checkpoints and guaranteed death to many Tutsis. The International Committee of the Red Cross issued the description statement on Rwandan events.
On the 9th and 10th of April Belgium and France sent their troops to Rwanda in order to evacuate their citizens as well as Americans residing in the country. The Europeans did not render any kind of help to the Tutsis or even the ambassadors of Western countries. On the 1 lth of April, Belgian peacekeepers btained an order to leave the building of the Don Bosco School which gave shelter to the two thousands of hiding Tutsis. The exposed and defenseless people were immediately slaughtered by the Hutu.
On the 21st of April the United Nations Security Council unanimously decided to withdraw the peacekeeping forces from Rwanda. The same day the Red Cross announced that the number of people killed had reached tens, if not hundreds of thousands. However the officials of both UN and the US government continued to avoid the term “genocide” in their public appearances. Moreover on the 3rd of May President Bill Clinton had signed the Presidential Decision Directive 25, which limited the participation of American Brown 6 troops in the peacekeeping missions of UN (Tom Ross 1994).
Following the failure of Clinton’s efforts in Somalia, the United States refused to supply the requested aid to Rwanda. Only on the 13th of May the Security Council made a decision to put the question of returning peacekeepers to Rwanda on vote; however the US Secretary of State Madeline Albright hindered the vote for another four days. Finally on the 17th of May the Council accepted the resolution to send 5,500 peacekeepers to the conflict one but the departure was delayed due to disagreements on the operation’s financing.
By that time, according to the Red Cross, the number of victims of the slaughter had reached 500,000 (World Refugee 2003). Despite that even in the middle of June the UN forces were still not sent to Rwanda. The slaughter of Tutsis had only stopped when the RDF army occupied Kigali in July and the Hutu government was forced to escape to Zaire. According to the official statements of the Rwandan administration the number of victims during the 100 days of slaughter had reached 800,000 people. The Aftermath The genocide of 1994 affected Rwanda in social, political and economic aspects.
The country continues to live with the effects of this conflict. People struggled daily to heal broken bodies and traumatized psyches, to seek Justice, and to recreate trust among themselves. General Paul Kagame who led the genocide-stopping RPF invasion of Rwanda now serves as a president of the country. General Paul Kagame who led the genocide stopping RPF invasion of Rwanda now serves as a president of the country. The massacres and the war during April-July 1994 provoked massive population ovements, internally in Rwanda and from Rwanda to neighboring countries.
The amount of refugees displaced people remains as a significant problem for Rwanda. Due to the reduced labor force, forced people migrations and the destructions of the recent civil war, Rwanda is still a vert poor country with the low economic output of 60% of its population living under the poverty line. Rwandan government has made the premium coffee growing as its national priority and there are hopes that it will provide the stage for former enemies to resolve the problems of their past and to reunite in their future.
Rwanda’s Most Wanted Suspects for Genocide There are still many people that were involved in the acts of genocide that still needs to be brought to Justice. As of now the number one suspect that needs to be brought to Justice is Felicien Kabuga. For many years he was a provider of weapons for the genocide and broadcasted & promoted violence from his radio station. He needs to be brought to trial for crimes against humanity and genocide. It is believed that Kabuga is still living in his seventies and is living in Kenya. There was an arrest of 15 suspects that helped with the same aspects that Kabuga anticipated, in France and
Germany in 2007. “There cannot be true unity and reconciliation in Rwanda unless the fugitives, most of whom are the actual planners of the genocide, are brought to book,” says Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama (A Human Rights First report on the ICTR and National Trials 1997. ) Brown 8 U. N. Security Council resolutions force the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ICTR to complete its cases by the end of 2010, and then shut down. The ICTR legacy is uncertain. In 15 years, the Tanzania based international court has spent more than $1 billion and completed Just 33 cases.
The Rwandans, who believe they could have accomplished more at home, more quickly and with less cash. But finding the suspects for Just a small amount of money is very challenging. Funds have had to cover everything from locating and indicting the suspects to negotiating their transfer from countries as far as Cameroon and Zambia, Switzerland and in the U. S. Also they needed money for holding long and complicated trials. More than 2,000 witnesses have been flown in to the trial site in Arusha, says Amoussouga. There is a trial that is now in its sixth year. Conclusion
Taking from the Rwandan genocide of 1994 , we can distinguish several important internal aspects and external factors that had led to and allowed for that tragedy to happen. First of all the essence of the Rwandan genocide lies within the ethnic nations. These tensions were building up their momentum throughout the 20th century and resulted in many minor military conflicts before the genocide. Second, the tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsi were heated by the economic conditions within the country, like overpopulation which resulted in constant dissatisfaction and encouraged hatred towards the other ethnic group.
Third, the failure of the United Nations and the international Brown 9 community to intervene into the conflict and to prevent the genocide before it happened allowed the killings to reach unimaginable levels. The future of Rwanda is unclear. It is going to take a long time for the social, political and economic effects of the 1994 genocide to fade out. The significant problems of Rwanda with the economic recovery, the refugees and internally displaced people and the consciousness of the society need to be solved with the much more effective intervention and aid.
I feel that the problem will be avoided if the people of Rwanda as well as the government works together better and start agreeing on things to prevent something like from ever happening again. I feel they could gain social and economic goals by giving the people more security, having political organizations, and act on the danger or the violence on the first sign of it. The president Kagame stated, the Rwandan people lived together peacefully for six hundred years and with the right application of people’s energy there’s no reason for Rwanda not to recover from the national tragedy.