Rwandan Genocidemac's History

History suggests, however, that Rwanda’s lessons were an insufficient deterrent. Just a year after the Rwandan genocide, events far away in Europe — in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority. 用户组 中级会员; 在线时间1057 小时; 注册时间2016-4-18 01:29; 最后访问2021-1-18 08:43; 上次活动时间2021-1-18 08:43. Rwanda genocide of 1994 - Rwanda genocide of 1994 - Genocide: On the evening of April 6, 1994, a plane carrying Habyarimana and Burundian Pres. Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down over Kigali; the ensuing crash killed everyone on board. Although the identity of the person or group who fired upon the plane has never been conclusively determined, Hutu extremists were originally thought to be.

Rwanda genocide of 1994
  • Aftermath
    • Prosecuting the perpetrators
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Rwanda genocide of 1994, planned campaign of mass murder in Rwanda that occurred over the course of some 100 days in April–July 1994. The genocide was conceived by extremist elements of Rwanda’s majority Hutu population who planned to kill the minority Tutsi population and anyone who opposed those genocidal intentions. It is estimated that some 200,000 Hutu, spurred on by propaganda from various media outlets, participated in the genocide. More than 800,000 civilians—primarily Tutsi, but also moderate Hutu—were killed during the campaign. As many as 2,000,000 Rwandans fled the country during or immediately after the genocide.


The major ethnic groups in Rwanda are the Hutu and the Tutsi, respectively accounting for more than four-fifths and about one-seventh of the total population. A third group, the Twa, constitutes less than 1 percent of the population. All three groups speak Rwanda (more properly, Kinyarwanda), suggesting that these groups have lived together for centuries.

The area that is now Rwanda is believed to have been initially settled by the Twa, who were closely followed by the Hutu, probably sometime between the 5th and 11th centuries, and then by the Tutsi, likely beginning in the 14th century. A long process of Tutsi migrations from the north culminated in the 16th century with the emergence of a small nuclear kingdom in the central region, ruled by the Tutsi minority, that persisted until the arrival of Europeans in the 19th century.

Rwandan Genocidemac

Social differences between the Hutu and the Tutsi traditionally were profound, as shown by the system of patron-client ties (buhake, or “cattle contract”) through which the Tutsi, with a strong pastoralist tradition, gained social, economic, and political ascendancy over the Hutu, who were primarily agriculturalists. Still, identification as either Tutsi or Hutu was fluid. While physical appearance could correspond somewhat to ethnic identification (the Tutsi were generally presumed to be light-skinned and tall, the Hutu dark-skinned and short), the difference between the two groups was not always immediately apparent, because of intermarriage and the use of a common language by both groups.

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During the colonial era, Germany and later Belgium assumed that ethnicity could be clearly distinguished by physical characteristics and then used the ethnic differences found in their own countries as models to create a system whereby the categories of Hutu and Tutsi were no longer fluid. The German colonial government, begun in 1898 and continuing until 1916, pursued a policy of indirect rule that strengthened the hegemony of the Tutsi ruling class and the absolutism of its monarchy. That approach continued under Belgium, which took control of the colony after World War I and administered it indirectly, under the tutelage of the League of Nations.

Some Hutu began to demand equality and found sympathy from Roman Catholic clergy and some Belgian administrative personnel, which led to the Hutu revolution. The revolution began with an uprising on Nov. 1, 1959, when a rumour of the death of a Hutu leader at the hands of Tutsi perpetrators led groups of Hutu to launch attacks on the Tutsi. Months of violence followed, and many Tutsi were killed or fled the country. A Hutu coup on Jan. 28, 1961, which was carried out with the tacit approval of the Belgian colonial authorities, officially deposed the Tutsi king (he was already out of the country, having fled the violence in 1960) and abolished the Tutsi monarchy. Rwanda became a republic, and an all-Hutu provisional national government came into being. Independence was proclaimed the next year.

The transition from Tutsi to Hutu rule was not peaceful. From 1959 to 1961 some 20,000 Tutsi were killed, and many more fled the country. By early 1964 at least 150,000 Tutsi were in neighbouring countries. Additional rounds of ethnic tension and violence flared periodically and led to mass killings of Tutsi in Rwanda, such as in 1963, 1967, and 1973.

Tension between Hutu and Tutsi flared again in 1990, when Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (Front Patriotique Rwandais; FPR) rebels invaded from Uganda. A cease-fire was negotiated in early 1991, and negotiations between the FPR and the government of longtime president Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, began in 1992. An agreement between the FPR and the government, signed in August 1993 at Arusha, Tanz., called for the creation of a broad-based transition government that would include the FPR. Hutu extremists were strongly opposed to that plan. Dissemination of their anti-Tutsi agenda, which had already been widely propagated via newspapers and radio stations for a few years, increased and would later serve to fuel ethnic violence.

  • April 1994 - July 1994
Rwandan Genocidemac

Rwandan Genocidemac's History Timeline

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The state of Rwanda is situated in central-east Africa, a small and relatively poor country that is currently in the headlines due to its involvement in the strife currently continuing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda itself is a former German, and post-First World War Belgian, colony that gained independence on July 1st, 1962. There is a complicated background to the ethnic tensions within Rwanda that need to be discussed at the outset. The main ‘ethnic’ groups of Rwanda are the Hutu and Tutsi (there is also a minority of the Twa peoples that reside in Rwanda, constituting approximately 2% of the population). The groupings of the Rwandan people into Tutsi or Hutu stems from what originally were social castes, with the Tutsi originally being those who obtained more land or cattle. The Belgians were the first to actually establish firm designations for the Hutu/Tutsi groupings, favouring the minority Tutsis in their rule, and deriving their views ‘from an egregious nineteenth-century contribution of the nascent discipline of anthropology.’ (Jones, 2006, pp234-235) This anthropological view of the two groups saw the Tutsi as more ‘European’, and destined to rule. The introduction of compulsory ID cards in 1933 further codified the separation of Tutsi and Hutu as well as discrimination toward Hutus in every day life, causing Hutu resentment to grow throughout the colonial period.

There were calls for an end to Hutu subservience in 1957 with the publishing of a ‘Hutu Manifesto’. This manifesto laid the blame for Rwanda’s problems on Tutsi supremacy, and established a belief that the Tutsi were not really Rwandans at all, but rather an ethnic group that had migrated to Rwanda years before and usurped itself into positions of power. Tensions reached the tipping point in 1959, when the Rwandan king died in mysterious circumstances, and saw a group of Tutsi extremists blame his death on the Belgians and Hutus, and saw them attack a prominent Hutu leader. This attack saw a series of retaliations and pogroms against Tutsi families, which saw thousands killed and many more thousands fleeing the violence. Upon independence, Rwandan political parties were established along strict ethnic lines rather than political. Over the next 3 decades, Rwanda saw a series of pogroms and massacres of Tutsi, resulting in widespread displacement of people and large groups of Tutsi refugees across the border in Uganda.

In 1973, a year after a genocide of Hutu in the neighbouring state of Burundi, a military leader by the name of Juvénal Habyarimana seized political power in a coup. His regime focused upon a small knit group of northern Rwandan Hutu called the Akazu, who wielded power behind the scenes, increasing anti-Tutsi sentiments and cracking down on demands for democratic reform. With the Rwandan economy weak, there was growing civic tension during the later 1980s, and the onset of civil war in 1990 led to further problems for the Habyarimana regime. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) had been founded in 1987 by Rwandan exiles based in Uganda, and their invasion in 1990 resulted in Habyarimana’s regime receiving French military assistance to prop up his regime.

The situation in Rwanda by the early 1990s was fragile. Hutu/Tutsi tensions were high due to the Burundian Genocide of Hutu in 1972, and the Tutsi dominated RPF invasions. In 1990 we see the publication of the ‘Hutu Ten Commandments’, advocating the extermination of Rwandan Tutsi; in 1993, the Hutu extremist RTLM radio station began broadcasting, with extremist Hutu propaganda flooding the airwaves, and fueling fears of the Tutsi as a ‘fifth column inside Rwanda’, ready to help the RPF. The word inyenzi begins to appear at this point to describe the Tutsi, meaning ‘cockroaches’.

Image 1: Members of the Interahamwe militia,

President Habyarimana was, by 1993, deeply involved in the Arusha Peace Accords, which looked to establish a peaceful settlement between the regime and the RPF. On his return from talks in Tanzania on April 6th, 1994, Habyarimana’s plane was shot down at around 8.30pm as it approached Kigali airport, killing both him and the Hutu president of Burundi. To this day, it is unknown who shot down the plane, but the situation was used by Hutu extremists to launch a campaign to exterminate the Tutsi. Within 45 minutes, the Presidential Guard had begun erecting roadblocks around Kigali, and the Akazu had begun plotting, despite openly engaging with the U.N mission in Rwanda to prove they were not staging a military coup. The Tutsi Prime Minister of Rwanda was then to make a radio broadcast to appeal for calm, but as she attempted to on April 7th, was murdered along with 10 Belgian U.N peacekeepers. The result was to see Western nations evacuating their citizens from the Rwandan tinderbox. This was in part affected by the death of 18 American and 24 Pakistani troops in Mogadishu the year before (portrayed in the film ‘Black Hawk Down‘).

RTLM initiated the subsequent widespread killing, calling for people to ‘clear the bush’. The Interahamwe militia (Habyarimana’s MRND political party militia, armed to the teeth with machetes and some firearms over the preceding 3 years) played a key role in the violence, but they were not the only ones complicit in the killing. Ordinary Hutu civilians were conscripted and composed the vast majority of the killers, and between April 6th and the third week of May, over 650000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu civilians were butchered with machetes and firearms. Roadblocks were set up, where anyone with a Tutsi identity card, or even those deemed to look Tutsi, were hacked to death. Hutu death squads roamed the country, killing any Tutsi they came across, massacring entire villages; on April 20th, in the parish of Karama, about forty thousand people were killed in less than 6 hours. (Jones, 2006, p239)

As genocide spread across the country, the international community stood back and refused to become involved. After ensuring foreign citizens had been evacuated, the UN Security Council focused more on extracting UN troops rather than attempting to stop the killing. The UN military commander in Rwanda, General Dallaire, was left with a stunted force of 470 peacekeepers, defying orders and holding onto more troops than he was ordered to. Poorly equipped and thin on the ground, these soldiers managed to save thousands of lives, most famously those at the Hotel des Milles Collines (portrayed in the 2004 film ‘Hotel Rwanda’). Whilst the genocide continued, the rebel RPF forces fought deep into Rwanda. France proposed sending troops to intervene on June 17th, and by the 21st had troops massing on the Rwandan border with Zaire (today’s Democratic Republic of Congo). This rapid mobilisation of forces showed the capability of western nations to intervene, but the French merely established a safe zone in south-west Rwanda, further continuing their support of the Hutu regime, and allowing 2 million Hutu to flee into Zaire, as well as tens of thousands of those complicit in the killing. The refugee camps that were subsequently established provided bases for Hutu extremists to later continue their attacks, which would have severe consequences for various surrounding countries, particularly Zaire.

On July 4th, the RPF captured the capital, Kigali, effectively ending the genocide. Estimates suggest that more than 800,000 people were killed during the 3 months of the genocide. Many more were maimed, raped and displaced. Largely ignored by the West, the Rwandan Genocide places major shame on the international community, who largely stood by and watched as hundreds of thousands died in a flurry of violence. Furthermore, the large displacement of both innocent people and those who partook in the killing has caused widespread problems in

the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where a war lasting 6 years between 1997 and 2003 led to the deaths of around 5 and a half million people. Although there is not enough space to get into detail about that conflict, the continued conflicts between Hutu extremists based in the DRC and the Rwandan government saw a forced change of regime in the DRC’s government, followed by fighting to secure its mineral and natural resources by countries including Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Uganda, Burundi, Sudan, Chad and Angola.

Main Points of this Blog:

  • Despite the claim to never let something like the Holocaust happen again, the international community stood by in 1994 whilst more than 800,000 people died
  • The use of propaganda to stir up a populace to become complicit in mass murder is shocking
  • The mass murder in Rwanda happened a mere 18 years ago
  • The genocide was one of the precursor events to what would bcome known as Africa’s World War, the Great War of Africa

Further Reading:

Rwandan Genocidemac's History Definition

Frank Chalk, ‘Hate Radio in Rwanda’ – HowardAdelman and Astri Suhrke, ‘The Path of a Genocide. The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda To Zaire’, (New Jersey: Transaction, 1999)

Jean Hatzfeld, ‘A Time for Machetes, The Rwandan Genocide: The Killers Speak’, (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005)

Jean Hatzfeld, ‘Into the Quick of Life, The Rwandan Genocide: The Survivors Speak’, (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2005)

Paul Magnarella, ‘Justice in Africa: Rwanda’s Genocide, Its Courts and the UN Criminal Tribunal’, (UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2000)

Mahmood Mamdani, ‘When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism and the Genocide in Rwanda’, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001)

Linda Melvern, ‘A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide’, (London: Zed Books Ltd., 2000)

Linda Melvern, ‘Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide’, (USA: Verso, 2004)

Gerard Prunier, ‘The Rwanda Crisis: History of the Genocide’, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995)

Paul Rusesabagina, ‘An Ordinary Man: The True Story Behind Hotel Rwanda’, (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006)

Rwandan Genocidemac's History War

Peter Uvin, ‘Aiding Violence. The Development Enterprise in Rwanda’, (New York: Kumarian Press, 1998)