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Rwanda - Political Science Perspective

Rwanda - Political Science Perspective

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Published by zimmerpflanze
A PoliSci view on the Rwandan genocide, based upon Adam Jones Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction
A PoliSci view on the Rwandan genocide, based upon Adam Jones Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction

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Published by: zimmerpflanze on Oct 14, 2008
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11/28/2012

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Rwanda: The Political Science Perspective
Class:
Critical Issues: Violent Conflict, War and Genocide
Instructor:
 Richard McCutcheon
By
Carsten Kaefert (3012875)
Table of Contents
Rwanda: The Political Science Perspective.....................................................................................1Abstract.......................................................................................................................................1Explaining the Rwandan Genocide.............................................................................................2Explanatory Variables for Genocide.......................................................................................21. Presence of an Exclusionary Ideology...........................................................................22. Ethnic “Capture” of the State........................................................................................33. Lack of Democratic Institutions....................................................................................34. International “openness”................................................................................................3Modern War and Genocide.....................................................................................................4Lessons for Genocide Prevention................................................................................................5Bibliography................................................................................................................................7
 Abstract 
There are various ways of analyzing genocide. Political Science, at least within the liberalschool mainly focusing on power and its distribution, has to offer two: The empirical way of ex- plaining genocide via a set of prerequisites or “explanatory variables”
1
and in the context of 21
st
century warfare or “war among the people”
2
, as Smith calls it.Political Science also has a widely preventionist view on genocide, especially within thefield of International Relations (IR), focusing mainly on the positive or adverse effects of inter-national regimes. Here the concept of state sovereignty is under special scrutiny.
1
Adam Jones,
Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction
(New York: Routledge, 2007), 310.
2
Rupert Smith,
The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World 
(London: Penguin Books, 2006), 183.Carsten Kaefert: Rwanda: The Political Science Perspective→Rwanda: The Political Science PerspectivePage 1/7
 
Explaining the Rwandan Genocide
Explanatory Variables for Genocide
 Empirically, all but one of the genocides and politicides that began between 1955 and 1998 occurred during or immediately after political upheavals[...]
3
This quote by Barbara Harff shows the importance of conflict in explaining genocide. Shedid a comprehensive empirical study determining factors prevalent in countries where a genocideoccurred and rates how those affect the risk of genocide. According to Jones, she identifies five basic explanatory variables for genocide
4
,out of which at least four 
5
apply to the case of Rwanda:
1. Presence of an Exclusionary Ideology 
According to Harrf, countries with a governing elite adhering “to an exclusionary ideologyideology [are] two and a half time as likely”
6
 to experience genocide than others. With the pre-valence of a Hutu Power ideology in Rwanda in the years leading to 1994, this was definitelygiven. Gourevitch identifies this elite as the akazu, which “tightened its grip of the state”
7
. He de-scribes its ideology as one identifying Tutsi (and moderate Hutu) as “internal enemies” and “RPF'accomplices'”
8
as early as 1990, thus providing the pretext for mass murder.
3
Barbara Harrf, “No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust? Assessing Risks of Genocide and Political MassMurder since 1955,”
 American Political Science Review
, 97: 1 (February 2003): 62, as quoted in: Jones,
Genocide...
, 310.
4
cf. Jones,
Genocide...
, 310.
5
The variable left out is “presence or absence of genocidal precedents”, as Rwanda has had a history of violence between Hutus and Tutsis, but (arguably) not a previous genocide.
6
Harrf,
 No Lessons...,
as quoted in: Jones,
Genocide...,
310.
7
Philip Gourevitch,
We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families
(New York:Picador, 1998), 82.
8
Ibid., 83.Carsten Kaefert: Rwanda: The Political Science Perspective→Rwanda: The Political Science PerspectivePage 2/7
 
2. Ethnic “Capture” of the State
The Hutu government in the years before 1994 has been described as “between Moderniza-tion and Ethnocracy”
9
.Debiel dates this (Hutu ruling Tutsi) ethnocratic side of Rwandan politics back to the social revolution of 1961, when the Hutu majority overthrew the feudal Tutsi govern-ment (which has been backed by the colonial power Belgium for the better part of a century).
10 
Taking into consideration the strong influence of the aforementioned akazu (ethnical Hutus), it becomes obvious, how deeply ethnicised the Rwandan state was – according to Harrf a fact mak-ing “the risks of geno-/politicide two and a half times more likely”
 compared to other states.
3. Lack of Democratic Institutions
Following a military coup in 1973, Habyarimana governed the country basing his power toa large part on the military and political violence. According to Debiel, he chose officials mainly based upon their ethnicity and regional background, further securing his influence by outlawing political parties and having potential enemies murdered.
Given that Harrf finds that “once in place, democratic institutions – even partial ones – reduce the likelihood of armed conflict andall but eliminate the risk that it will lead to geno-/politicide”
,this can be counted as a strongcontributor to the genocide.
4. International “openness” 
Harrf states that “the greater the interdependence with the global economy, the les likelythat [national] elites will target minorities […] for destruction”
.As Debiel explains, there was
9
Tobias Debiel,
UN-Friedensoperationen in Afrika. Weltinnenpolitik und die Realität von Bürgerkriegen
(Bonn:Stiftung Entwicklung und Frieden, 2003), 163. Translated from “zwischen Modernisierung und Ethnokratie”.
10
cf. ibid., 164
11
Harrf,
 No Lessons...,
as quoted in: Jones,
Genocide...,
310.
12
Debiel,
UN-Friedensoperationen...
, 165.
13
Harrf,
 No Lessons...,
as quoted in: Jones,
Genocide...,
310.
14
Ibid.Carsten Kaefert: Rwanda: The Political Science Perspective→Rwanda: The Political Science PerspectivePage 3/7

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