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In 1994, the century-long tensions felt between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups erupted into a genocide

in which Tutsis were reduced to prey. Any sympathizers of the Tutsis were targeted as well, including politicians, employees of international organizations, or human rights activists. Between April 6 and July 17, 1994, it is estimated that roughly 800,000 Tutsis were killed in this premeditated event organized and carried out by violent Hutu extremists.1 The unprecedented violence resulted in the exodus of two million refugees,2 the creation of 95,000 orphans, the death of at least 300,000 children, and additional deaths resulting from problems acquired during the genocide such as AIDS and homelessness. 3 The genocide that occurred in Rwanda is far from rare and certainly not endemic to Africa. Such tragic events have occurred throughout history and are documented as far back as 146 BC when the Roman military plundered 150,000 Carthaginians. More recently, genocides have occurred in Indonesia, Cambodian, East Timor, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and most famously, Western Europe when six million Jews were executed in concentration camps.4 No region or group of people is immune to targeted violence campaigns and thus it is imperative that the international community learns to recognize and react to the signs of genocide so that the calculated devastation of a population never happens again. The United Nations (UN) arrived in Rwanda under the directive of the United Nations Assistance Mission of Rwanda (UNAMIR) with the aim of ending the civil war that began in 1990 and reemerged simultaneously with the genocide. When the civil war suddenly resulted in a widespread campaign to eradicate Tutsis, UN leaders were forced to react to the genocide and work to end the mass slaughtering. Under the leadership of Secretary-General Boutrous

PBS Frontline, Timeline, Ghosts of Rwanda, April 1, 2004. 2 Heide Rieder & Thomas Elbert, Rwanda lasting imprints of a genocide, Conflict and Health, May 1, 2013. 3 UNICEF, Rwanda: Ten years after the genocide, UNICEF, 2004 4 Jane Springer, Genocide (La Jolla: Groundwork Books), 2007.

Boutrous-Ghali and Commander of UN Peacekeeping Forces, General Romero Dallaire, the mission was largely unsuccessful at halting the genocide. The following research describes the efforts put forth by the United Nations during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Their efforts, taken under the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda, were largely unsuccessful for reasons that relate to both the internal facets of Rwandan society as well as internal conflicts between the United Nations member states. UNAMIR faced an assortment of challenges due to the perennial disdain felt between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, as well as from the absence of a stable government that could have partnered with UNAMIR to end the genocide. Additionally, UN leaders were unable to persuade apathetic nations to intervene due to a general feeling of indifference towards Rwanda and the bitter remorse still present from the mission in Somalia only a year prior. It is of utmost importance to understand why the genocide occurred and explore the political and social history of Rwanda from the colonial period to the year 1994. Once their tumultuous history has been established, the reasons for, and actions taken during the genocide will be better understood. The intervention by the United Nations is heavily intertwined with their political history that will be briefly discussed, along with a heavy analysis of UNAMIRs intervention tactics. The remaining portion of this research will clearly illustrate the reasons for why UNAMIR was a largely unsuccessful mission as per the arguments listed in the aforementioned paragraph.

Genocide The 1994 genocide in Rwanda was a manifestation of the deep division that was created and aggravated throughout the past century. Prior to the colonization of Rwanda, the Hutus,

Tutsis, and minor ethic group Twa, lived among each other, comprising 84%, 15% and 1% of the total population, respectively. The land was governed under a monarchy-style system in which a Tutsi was King and his chiefs were typically, though not always, Tutsi as well. The Hutus held positions lower in the hierarchy5 but a Hutu could become a Tutsi if they were able to acquire economic wealth and cattle.6 When the Germans colonized Rwanda7 between 1898 and the end of World War I,8 they recognized the fact that Tutsis ruled the country and emphasized these social distinctions. Tutsis were referred to as natural-born leaders who should unconditionally govern the Hutus.9 Once permission to govern Rwanda was transferred to Belgium through the Treaty of Versailles, the Belgians continued to enforce a harsh class system that favored the Tutsi ethnic group. The Tutsis were allowed employment opportunities in positions such as the colonial administration or the army, and they received other privileges such as a western-style education that offered them a social status superior to the Hutus.10 From infancy, the Tutsis were taught to believe that they were a superior race while the primitive Hutus were forced to accept discrimination, repression, and humiliation.11 When Rwanda reached its period of independence, the Hutus demanded more political, economic, and social strength from the ruling Tutsis. The existing dynamic was drastically skewed in 1957 after the Hutu ethnic group formed the PARAMEHUTU (Party for the Emancipation of the Hutus), and forced 150,000 fearful Tutsis to take refuge in Burundi.12

5 6

Joseph Oppong (2008), Rwanda, New York:Chelsea Publishing House. Kenneth White (2009), Scourge of Racism: Genocide in Rwanda, Journal of Black Studies. 7 At this time, Rwanda was known as Rwanda-Urundi. After independence from Germany, the nations split up to become Rwanda and Burundi. 8 Oppong, Rwanda. 9 White, Scourge of Racism: Genocide in Rwanda. 10 PBS, A Historical Chronology, Rwanda, 2013 11 Oppong Rwanda. 12 PBS, A Historical Chronology.

Rwanda gained independence in 1962, when Belgium placed the power to govern in the hands of Gregoire Kayibanda, the leader of PARAMEHUTU.13 Juvnal Habyarimana, a Hutu extremist from the northwestern region of Rwanda rose to power when he removed Kayibanda through a coup dtat in 1973. During Habyarimanas rule, Tutsis faced heavy prejudice. He established an allotment system that limited the number of Tutsis who could receive secondary education14 and founded the party Mouvement Rpublicain National pour la Dmocratie et le Dvelopement (MRND) which played an active role in the genocide. The Interahamwe, meaning those who attack together, was created by the MRND while the Impuzamugambi, "those with a single purpose," was created by the Coalition pour la Defense de la Republique (CDR). In 1992, the Presidential Guard and segments of the Rwandan Government Forces (RGF) taught the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militias how to kill efficiently using the weapons they gave to them. Over the course of the next two years, the militias were sent to military training camps in order to prepare for the genocide that the Rwandan military authorities had been preparing for.15 In opposition to the Interahamwe and Rwandan Presidential Guard stood the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Comprised of exiled Tutsis that had been living in Uganda, the RPF sought the right to resettle in Rwanda and remove Habyarimana from power. They were against the European ideology of separating Tutsis, Hutus, and Twa into neat ethnic categories and claimed to be in favor of national unity.16 In 1990 the RPF invaded Rwanda, causing a four-year long civil war to erupt between them and the government led by President Habyarimana. In an effort to end the civil war, the

13 14

Oppong, Genocide. White, Scourge of Racism: Genocide in Rwanda. 15 Genocide in Rwanda April-May 1994, Human Rights Watch, May 1994. 16 The Rwandan Patriotic Front, Human Rights Watch, 1999.

international community pressured the feuding parties to sign the Arusha Peace Accords and bring the war to a close. Although Habyarimana had initially refused to sign the document, he appeared to be acquiescing to the pressure when he flew to Tanzania to discuss measures that would satisfy the agreement. On Habyarimanas return flight to Rwanda, April 6, 1994, his plane was shot down over Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.17 Although it is still unclear who exactly is responsible for the crime, the Radio Tlvision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) accused the Rwandan Patriotic Front and members of the United Nations of carrying out the attack.18 Radio Tlvision Libre des Mille Collines, played a vital role in inciting violence throughout the three-month genocide. Founded and run by Hutu extremists who were often related to President Habrayimana by blood or friendship, the radio station spewed hatepropaganda against all Tutsis and any person sympathetic to them. Broadcasts regularly referred to Tutsis as cockroaches and vermin that should be squashed and accused them of cannibalism so that Hutus could further justify their actions. Valerie Bemeriki now faces the death penalty for her participation in the genocide but when she was an active broadcaster, she asserted, they mutilate the body and remove certain organs, such as the heart, liver and stomach; they eat human flesh.19 When the Presidents plane was shot down, broadcasters urged listeners to begin the final war to exterminate the cockroaches.20 Less than an hour after the death of President Habyarimana, the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and Interahamwe began the genocide.21 Within the first week, 20,000 people in and around Kigali had been murdered.22
17 18

Ingvar Carlsson, The UN Inadequacies, Journal of International Criminal Justice, September, 2005. Inquiry, Report Of The Independent Inquiry Into the Actions of the United Nations During The 1994 Genocide In Rwanda, December 15, 1999. 19 Dele Olojede, When Words Could Kill Newsday, May 4, 2004. 20 Scott Straus, Rwanda and RTLM Radio Media Effects, University of Wisconsin, 2007. 21 Carlsson, The UN Inadequacies.

On April 7th, the day after Habyarimanas death, the extremists focused on eliminating their opposition within Kigali. Human rights activists and politicians that promoted peace amongst citizens of Rwandan were targeted for their political beliefs rather than their ethnic orientation thus many of the first victims were moderate Hutus.23 Hutu Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyamana was among the list of victims.24 On the same day, government soldiers murdered ten Belgian peacekeepers assigned to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda and the extremist troops spread quickly throughout the country.25 As the genocide progressed, many Tutsis found refuge inside schools, hospitals or sports stadiums, and the majority had organized themselves into large groups that ranged in size from one hundred to as many as ten thousand people. However, their attempts to protect themselves were largely futile as no shelter was off-limits to extremists, including orphanages and churches.2627 At the time of the genocide, roughly ninety-three percent of the Rwandan population practiced Christianity but most people did not feel that killing contrasted with their religious beliefs.28 During killing sprees within churches, it was not uncommon to see gunmen pausing to pray at altars. Pastors, priests and other church officials often organized death squads as well.29 Hutus attacked large groups of people with grenades, firearms, clubs, swords, and machetes, leaving few, if any survivors. During particularly gruesome massacres, some targets in large groups hid under the bodies of those who perished around them but they were typically

22 23

Genocide in Rwanda April-May 1994. Alan Kuperman, Rwanda in Retrospect, Foreign Affairs (79.1), February 2000, 97. 24 Jean Hatzfeld, Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak (London: Picador), April 18, 2006. 25 Carlsson, The UN Inadequacies. 26 Genocide in Rwanda April-May 1994. 27 Kuperman, Rwanda in Retrospect, 101. 28 Oppong, Rwanda. 29 Timothy Longman, Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda, Vassar College, May 13, 1997.

caught elsewhere.30 RTLM continued to broadcast daily, offering their listeners the names and locations of many victims. The MRND, the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), the Presidential Guard, and individuals all participated in the campaign to eradicate the Tutsis. The mentality during the genocide was so brutal that teachers killed their students, parents killed children, neighborhoods were assaulted with suspicion, and the daily motions of cities were smothered by hatred. The act of murder was a casual affair for extremist leaders who were devoid of emotions such as regret or sadness. To many of them, death was a fate that the Tutsis deserved. One member of the MRND said: Since I was killing often, I began to feel it did not mean anything to me. It gave me no pleasure, I knew I would not be punished. I was killing without consequences, I adapted without a problem. I left every morning free and easy, in a hurry to get going. I saw that the work and the results were good for me, thats all.31 Other Hutus that became willing participants in the violence did so out of fear from both the extremists and the Tutsis. Propaganda such as the RTLM insisted that the Tutsis were going to regain control of the government like they did during colonial times and steal the Hutus land and lives. Some had never killed prior to the genocide and only did so to protect to themselves. They often worked as a group because they did not wish to complete the vicious acts alone.32 Some areas of Rwanda were far safer for the Tutsi minority than areas like Kigali because the Hutus did not initially feel possessed by the calls to violence. The province of Butare was home to more Tutsis and interethnic marriages than any other region of Rwanda and managed to resist involvement in the frenzied bloodshed until April 19. On this date, the leader of the interim

30 31

Kuperman, Rwanda in Retrospect, 97. Jean Hatzfeld, Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak 32 Bill Berkley, Road to a Genocide, The New Killing Fields: Massacre and the Politics of Intervention (New York: Basic Books), August 2003.

government, arrived in Butare for the sole reason of urging the citizens to participate in their national duty and over the course of the next two weeks, over ten thousand Tutsis died.33 By the end of the genocide, a stunning seventy-five percent of the Butare Tutsi population perished, leaving this once accepting area no safer than the rest of the country.34 In a chaotic effort to escape the country, two million Hutus and Tutsis received refugee status after abandoning their homes in search of safety and protection. At the end of April, 500,000 people fled at once, creating the largest exodus of refugees the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has ever had to contend with.35 Tanzania and Zaire received the greatest influx of these fearful victims but countries such as Congo faced numerous problems after Rwandan refugees resettled within its borders.36 Human Rights Watch asserted that 250,000 Tutsis had died within the first three weeks of the massacres, allowing for one of the fastest genocide rates in recorded history. The majority of shelters inside Rwanda were attacked prior to April 2137 and by some estimates, the Tutsi population was killed at a rate three times faster than the rate experienced by the Jews during the Holocaust.38 The violent genocide came to an end on July 19, 1994, as a result of Operation Turquoise led by French forces and the separate efforts of the Rwandan Patriotic Front to gain control of the Rwandan government through military force. Although the entire affair lasted only


George Packer, Justice on a Hill, The New Killing Fields: Massacre and the Politics of Intervention (New York: Basic Books), August 2003, 129. 34 Ibid. 35 Romeo Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (Cambridge: De Capo Press), December 21, 2004. 36 Rwanda- UNAMIR Untied Nations Peace-Keeping, n.d. 37 Kuperman, Rwanda in Retrospect, 94. 38 Philip Gourevitch, Letter from Rwanda: After the Genocide, New Yorker, December 18, 1995.

three months, 800,000 victims were left in its wake.39 Rwanda lost seventy-five percent of the overall Tutsi population and ten percent of the national population.40

UNAMIR: Ineffective Action Prior to Rwandas infamous genocide, the United Nations had been working inside the country under the mandate of UNAMIR. This mission was initially implemented to curb the civil war between the Rwandan Patriotic Front and Rwandan government that had erupted in 1990. Their ultimate goal was to create an environment of political stability until the nations national elections. Although its focus was not on the genocide, as it had yet to begin, UNAMIR did merge into the trajectory of the genocide and was therefore forced to respond to the unprecedented violence. At its inception on October 5, 1993, UNAMIRs main concerns were 1. Promote a secure environment in Kigali and the remaining areas of Rwanda; 2. Oversee the Arusha Peace Accords and its entailing cease-fire agreement between the RPF and the government; 3. Expand the demilitarized zone (DMZ); 4. Assist with clearing mines; 5. Investigate instances of dissent in regards to the Arusha Accords; and 6. Offer humanitarian relief and security to refugees and displaced persons. UNAMIR was separated into four phases and was scheduled for completion on the date concurrent with the national elections that were expected to occur no later than December 1995. Phase one was expected to begin on the day of the missions establishment, October 5, 1993. With the assistance of 1,428 personnel, a transitional government was to be established and lead into phase two. The second phase focused on disengaging and demobilizing both opposing parties, monitoring the DMZ, securing Kigali and assimilating UN forces and Gendarmerie into

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Carlsson, The UN Inadequacies. Rieder & Elbert, Rwanda lasting imprints of a genocide.

the country. It was granted a timeline of ninety days and 2,548 military personnel. Phase three was expected to last the longest with a duration time of nine months. The main focus was on the disengagement and demobilization of opposition forces, finalizing the integration of the Gendarmerie, continuing to maintain a secure environment in Kigali and expanding the DMZ. The troop level was expected decrease to 1,240 personnel. Phase four was given a maximum of four months and a further reduction of troop levels down to 930. During this period, Kigali and the surrounding areas were to remain secure so that national elections could transpire without conflict.41 When the genocide began, leaders of UNAMIR and the UN were forced to react to the sudden burst of violence. These leaders include future Secretary General Kofi Annan; present Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali; Force Commander of United Nations Peacekeeping Force for UNAMIR, Romeo Dallaire; and member nations of the UN Security Council. From the outset of the genocide, these political figures wavered from one decision to another, allowing for the violence to continue until July 17, 1994 when France and the Rwandan Patriotic Front brought the genocide to a close. This section will identify and scrutinize the responses made by the aforementioned leaders in reference to the events and violence that occurred between October 5, 1993 and July 17, 1994. UNAMIR experienced a promising start when the Rwandan Patriotic Front and the Hutuled government issued a proclamation on December 10, 1993. The two parties agreed to cooperate with the parameters of the Arusha Peace Accords and allow Juvnal Habyarimana to continue acting as President until a new president was elected. Before the year was over, they also agreed to create a transitional government and a transitional national assembly but these


Rwanda- UNAMIR.


successes were short-lived. A transitional national assembly and government were not developed because the feuding parties failed to compromise on several matters.42 On January 11, 1994, a top-ranking Rwandan soldier that had close ties with Prsesident Habyarimana told General Dallaire that he had been ordered to create a formal list of all Tutsis living in Kigali.43 The informant feared that it was for the purpose of exterminating the Tutsis. He added that other targets of the Hutu militants included Belgian peacekeepers and that the attacks were ready to be carried out with the use of weapons hidden throughout the country. He assured Dallaire that if his family could receive protection and passports to exit Rwanda, then he would show him the exact location of the weapons. The General reported this information to Kofi Annan at the Peacekeeping office in New York City, ready to follow through with the informants offer. He signed the fax with an enthusiastic Where theres a will, theres a wayLets go however, Annan wrote back instructing Dallaire that he should speak with President Habyarimana rather than attempt to speak with the man again.44 The choice by Kofi Annan to ignore this information was the first of many mistakes made by the United Nations in its response to the Rwandan genocide and certainly contrasted with the missions responsibility to investigate any matter that could interfere with the implementation of the Arusha Accords. Between January and February, UNAMIR intercepted weapons at the airport four times even though importing arms and ammunition into Rwanda was in direct violation of the mandate. During each event, a plane landed at Kigali airport without the UNs authorization and unloaded cargo comprised solely of weapons. In each instance, the UN confiscated the weapons

42 43

Ibid. Philip Gourevitch Interview, PBS Frontline, n.d. 44 Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.


and placed them under collective UN-Rwandan supervision so as to prevent them from reaching the Rwandan army who were later actively involved in the genocide.45 UNAMIR repeatedly received intelligence involving plots to kill Rwandan politicians. On February 17, 1994, General Dallaire received information about death threats against Landoald Ndasingwa and Joseph Kavaruganda. In the wake of this information, Dallaire called for five armed UNAMIR soldiers to be stationed at the homes of these men and other public officials targeted by the Rwandan Death Esquadron but this decision was not strong enough to protect the politicians.46 On April 7, it was recommended by UNAMIR forces that the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Mrs. Agathe Uwilingiyimana, seek shelter at the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) compound in Kigali with the assistance of ten UNAMIR Belgian peacekeeper. Within less than 24 hours, the President Guard discovered Uwilingiyimanas hiding place, shot her and then proceeded to murder and kill the ten peacekeepers. Mr. Landoald Ndasingwa, Vice-President of the Liberal Party (PL) and Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, was another initial victim. On the same day as Uwilingiyimanas death, one of the Rwandan policemen protecting Ndasingwa and his family received a warning that the Presidential Guard was in route to the familys home so he quickly called for additional UNAMIR reinforcements. UNAMIR Ghanaian troops reported to the home but they quickly fled to a neighboring residence roughly 30 minutes before the Presidential Guard arrived, leaving the family no safer than before. According to a witness, roughly twenty armed members of the Presidential Guard entered the house of Ndasingwa and proceeded to kill him, his wife, their two children and his mother.

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Genocide in Rwanda April-May 1994. Inquiry.


Tragically, Judge Joseph Kavaruganda met the same fate as his peers. After Rwandese soldiers asked the Judge to travel with them to an uncertain location, he resisted and locked himself and his family inside their house. The UNAMIR guards spoke with the soldiers while the only weapons they had laid on a table beside them. Mr. Kavaruganda made telephone calls to Belgian, Bangladeshi and Ghanaian contingents of UNAMIR to request additional assistance and though he was told help would come, they never did. The soldiers were able to enter his home, abduct Mr. Kavaruganda and beat his family. According to his wife, their guards did nothing to prevent the abduction or the beatings. The next few days brought more tragedy found inside of the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO), a school in the suburb of Kicukiro. Roughly 2,000 people, including the Former Foreign Minister Boniface Ngulinzira and his wife, took refugee inside this school under the protection of French and Belgian contingents of UNAMIR. On April 11, the French troops evacuated the expatriates hiding inside the building but refused to take the former Foreign Minister and his wife with them.47 Once gone, the remaining Belgian forces left as well because of a decision by the Belgian government to withdraw from the mission completely. This action left nearly all of the 2,000 refugees to be massacred by the soldiers of the Interahamwe and Rwandan military that had been waiting outside.48 Belgium became increasingly concerned about the safety of Belgian troops and the objectives of UNAMIR after UN leaders displayed a stark inability to protect peacekeepers and Rwandan civilians. The Foreign Minister of Belgium, Willy Clase, asserted that since the Arusha Peace Accords were certainly void and that 20,000 people had already died despite a UN

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Inquiry. Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.


presence, UNAMIR should be suspended. On April 13, Belgium began a campaign aimed at persuading the Council members to withdraw their troops from Rwanda.49 Forced to respond to the growing international debate, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations drafted two resolutions on the same day that Belgiums campaign began. The resolutions were to be reviewed and voted on by the Council members who would determine the missions fate. The first option would allow UNAMIR to stay in Rwanda for an additional three weeks without the Belgian contingent. The major stipulation relied on a cease-fire between the warring parties, which would have to be implemented by May 6, 1994. The second option would remove the majority of UNAMIR forces and leave only a small group. On April 21, the Security Council members declared that they felt appalled at the ensuing large-scale violence in Rwanda but regardless of how appalled they may have felt, it wasnt enough to convince them that continuing the mission was the best course of action. The Council unanimously agreed on the first option, which included reducing the amount of UNAMIR personnel to 270 and implementing a new strategy. Similar to the original duties of the mission, the Security Council decided in resolution 912 to work towards a ceasefire agreement and offer humanitarian assistance. In response to the decrease of UNAMIR troops, Boutros-Ghali wrote to the Security Council on April 29, urging them to reconsider their decision and instead consider the militaristic options they could take to stop the killing spree. In his letter, he hoped to remove the image of the United Nations as neutral mediator and force them to consider forceful measures to restore control. In a report published May 1, 1994 by Human Rights Watch, they made clear that any work done to stop the genocide thus far was grossly insufficient. They stated, After nearly

Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.


seven weeks of slaughter and hundreds of thousands of lives lost, the international community has still made no effective response to the genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law in Rwanda. Many reports that came out during and after the genocide attested to the indifference of the international community. A resolution made by the Security Council on April 30 alluded to genocide but did not formerly conclude that the conflict was indeed genocide. It is most probable that the nations of the Council avoided the term genocide because signatories of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide are required to intervene and punish those responsible.50 On June 22, the Security Council adopted Resolution 929 that authorized French intervention in Rwanda under the name Operation Turquoise. The resolution stipulated that the mission could last no more than sixty-days, and that within that time-period, additional UNAMIR 2 troops should be deployed to Rwanda. On June 24, the French arrived in Gisenyi and Cyangugu then progressed inward from the north and south. By July 2, they managed to create a humanitarian protected zone in Cyangugu, Kibuye and Gikongoro although the RPF disapproved of their presence in Rwanda because the French often gave weapons to members of the extremist Hutu groups organizations.51 The RPF continued to take control of the country by claiming Kigali, Butare, Ruhangeri and Gisenyi by July 17, while the RGF retreated into Zaire.52 They released their Declaration of the RPF for the Installation of the Formal Institutions of Government which outlined their requested changes to the Arusha Agreement. On July 18, they declared a cease-fire that

50 51

Genocide in Rwanda April-May 1994. Inquiry. 52 Rwanda- UNAMIR.


effectively ended the civil war and genocide. The Tutsi-led Government of National Unity was established on July 19 and claimed control over the entire country.53

Reasons for UNAMIR Failure The failure of the United Nations to stop the 1994 Rwandan genocide can be attributed to multiple internal and external factors relevant to the UN. The rivalry between the Hutus and Tutsis that solidified during the colonial era had caused the creation of a destructive political and social setting that would have been difficult for any non-governmental or inter-governmental organization to contend with. While working to create stability in Rwanda, the United Nations received only opposition from the Hutu-led interim government and lethargy by the international community. Some of these nations including Belgium, the United States and the United Kingdom were not swayed by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghalis lackluster calls to action, especially in the aftermath of the failed UN mission in Somalia. Primary UN leaders working with UNAMIR lacked foresight and general knowledge regarding Rwanda, which contributed to the absence of urgency felt by prominent world leaders. Each of these factors contributed to the ultimately unsuccessful United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda. In response to the death of President Habyarimana, the Akazu group took control as interim government on April 9, 1994. Aside from the Akazu, there was no fixed government entity to help the United Nations end the genocide and punish those responsible for the crimes. To further complicate the progression of UNAMIR, the Akazu was comprised of an elite body of Hutu extremists that were co-conspirators in the coordination and execution of Tutsis, moderate Hutus, and UN officials. In 2008, the former Rwandan military director and prominent leader of the Akazu, Colonel Thoneste Bagosora, was charged with war crimes, conspiring to commit

Rwanda- UNAMIR


genocide, engaging in genocide, encouraging genocide, and performing crimes against humanity. Although he briefly participated in discussions regarding the Arusha Peace Accords, it was clear that he had no interest in continuing the process. At a 1992 meeting in Tanzania, he abruptly left and stated that he was going to "prepare the apocalypse". It is well documented that he also prepared propaganda that pointed to Tutsis as the enemy and rallied his soldiers to renounce the Peace Accords. Other crucial members of Akazu, including Protais Zigiranyirazo and Jean Kambanda, were later prosecuted for genocide. Since Rwanda was deprived of a solid government entity with recognized leaders, it was nearly impossible for the United Nations to create safe-haven areas for victims, operate out of some regions of Rwanda, or to promote peace treaties.54 At its core, Rwandan society operated with a discriminatory mindset that became cemented during colonial rule and the implementation of identification cards. Ethnic inequity remained rampant, allowing Hutus to monopolize government positions, obtain higher levels of education, dominate certain fields of employment and even take a prevailing role serving in churches. Such extreme alienation and animosity toward one another allowed for the elements of genocide to grow and fester. Like Valerie Bemeriki who compared Tutsis to cannibals, Leopord Twagirayezu explained, We [Hutus] no longer considered the Tutsis as humans or even as creatures of GodThat is why it was easy for us to wipe them outit was more than forbidden to speak kindly of the Tutsis to God or anyone else. Even after their deaths, even of a newborn.55 The nature of Rwanda was certainly brutal but the United Nations did not posses a strong authority figure or the vision needed to carry out a successful mission. UN Secretary General

Katherine Iliopoulos, Life Sentence For Mastermind of Rwandan Genocide, Global Policy Forum, December 18, 2008. 55 Jean Hatzfeld, Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak, 145.


(SG) Boutros Boutros-Ghali has been the focus of many unfavorable reports since the end of UNAMIRs mandate. Michael Barnett, political officer at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Rwanda, wrote that the SG emanated indecision to the point of. He was either overwhelmed or insensitive in his responses to the intensifying crisis.56 After the death of the ten Belgian Peacekeepers, former Foreign Minister of Belgium, Willy Claes consulted Boutros-Ghali on whether withdrawing Belgian troops would be detrimental to UNAMIR. He replied that he would get back to him in four or five, but as noted earlier, Belgium removed their troops within less than a week and encouraged other nations to do the same.57 Among the high-ranking officials working for both the United Nations and individual nations, there was a severe lack of communication. When General Dallaire received confirmation from a Rwandan solider that a genocide was planned and ready to be initiated, he sent a fax to UN officials in New York. This information did not reach every member of the Security Council equally though, as the fax was never shared at a meeting with all fifteen members present. Though Belgium, the United States and the United Kingdom had extensive intelligence on the status of the conflict in Rwanda, only Belgium initially wanted to intervene. The Belgian ambassador lobbied for an increase in peacekeepers but the United States and UK were vehemently against such action for financial reasons, and hardly advocated for the initial development of UNAMIR. Other Council members that lobbied for intervention, such as Nigeria, were largely ignored.58 The UN Department of Peacekeeping Office was also the focus of criticism. According to General Dallaire, There was a devoid of leadership in New York. We had sent a deludge of


Michael Barnett, The UN Security Council, Indifference, and Genocide in Rwanda, Cultural Anthropology, 1997. 57 Ibid. 58 Melvern, The Security Council: Behind the Scenes, 105.


paper and received nothing in return; no supplies, no reinforcements, no decisions.59 It was immensely difficult for the General and the peacekeepers to receive the medical and sanitation supplies, food, and water that they needed to carry out the mission. Furthermore, many nations had difficulty ascertaining information on the location or safety of their troops. They would often call the Department of Peacekeeping Office but at times, no one would answer or return their phone calls.60 It is imperative that the United Nations is able to rally world leaders around their missions because individual nations are largely responsible aiding missions, with either financial or material resources. In the case of Rwanda, the United States and New Zealand played a mutually minor role in UNAMIR partially due to bitter memories of the Somali mission during the same decade. Only a year prior to the genocide, eighteen American soldiers were in Mogadishu to support UNOSOM II when they were killed in what is known as the Battle of Mogadishu. Their death received worldwide attention and subsequently caused Americans to resist future U.S. involvement in U.N. operations.61 Like the United States, New Zealand doubted the UNs ability to carry out successful peacekeeping operation. New Zealand was acting as a rotating member of the Security Council during the genocide in Rwanda as well as during the intervention in Somalia when their ambassador, Colin Keating referred to the Council members as diplomatic amateurs.62 When the Security Council announced the new plan in late April 1994 to establish peace in Rwanda, the United States dismissed it as impractical, lacking

59 60

Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, 290. Micheal Barnett, Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and Rwand (Ithaca:Cornell University Press), 2003. 61 Joseph Oppong (2008). 62 Linda Melvern, The Security Council: Behind the Scenes, International Affairs (77.1), January 2001, 102.


a legitimate plan of action and asserted that its primary goal was to improve the reputation of the United Nations rather than aid Rwanda.63 Leaders in the United Nations were often just as critical towards individual nations as the nations were towards the UN. In his book, General Dallaire often recalled the lack of empathy for the dying civilians of Rwanda and many nations refusal to offer humanitarian aid. The most cynical reason the world did not quickly respond, according to Dallaire, is that the world simply did not care. In the midst of the violence, Western Bureaucrats visited Rwanda to assess the damage and told Dallaire, We will recommend to our government not to intervene as the risks are high and all that is here are humans.64 Actions taken by Bangladesh, the United States and the United Kingdom illustrate the assertion made by General Dallaire. The Bangladeshi commander caused General Dallaire to become furious when he said that he would rather save foreigners trapped in Rwanda than risk the lives of his troops to save Rwandan civilians. According to the Bangladeshi commander, he was under orders by Dhaka to not place his men in eminent danger in order to save Rwandans or even allow victims to ride in their vehicles.65 The United States, led by President Bill Clinton, refused to intervene on numerous occasions.66 General Dallaire considered RTLM to be a primary instigator in the widespread killings but the United Nations did not possess the necessary equipment to shut it down. The US was formally requested to disable the radio station by jamming, a direct air strike on the transmitter, or covert operations but they declined.67 They claimed that the financial cost of
63 64

Barnett The UN Security Council, Indifference, and Genocide in Rwanda. Springer, Genocide, 76. 65 Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, 273. 66 Mats Berdal, The United Nations, Peacebuilding, and the Genocide in Rwanda, Global Government (11,1), JanMar 2005, 115. 67 Dallaire, 375.


$8,500 each hour to jam the station was too high and that doing so was an infringement of Rwandas sovereignty.68 After looking back on the genocide, President Clinton wrote that one of the greatest regrets of his presidency was not intervening in Rwanda.69 The United Kingdom was no more eager to help than the US. At one point, the great power attempted to sell fifty Bedford trucks from the Cold-War era for an up-front payment. When heads of the mission refused to pay for the trucks as it was unclear whether they were even in operating condition, Britain revoked their financial requests and instead donated a few of the trucks. One by one, they all broke down.70 The most poignant piece of information is that many journalists, human rights advocates and even the United Nations had reason to believe that Rwanda was experiencing genocide prior to the event the international community now recognizes as such. Human rights organizations found that between 1991 and 1992, officials in the government and military were engaging in large-scale killings of the Tutsi population. In March 1993, a report accused the government, run by Hutu extremists, of carrying out these attacks on 2,000 Tutsis. An additional 10,000 Tutsis and moderates were incarcerated indefinitely and without charges, simply for acting as an opposition to extremist forces. A reporter from France documented the ongoing problems and said that the death squads are operating a genocide against the Tutsi as though it were a public service.71 Furthermore, the United Nations had information that the Rwandan government organized the massacres that took place between 1991 and 1993. Special Rapporteur of the UN, Bacre Waly Ndaiye, submitted a report titled Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on August 11, 1993 in which he documented the human rights abuses implemented in Rwanda.

68 69

Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Berdal, The United Nations, Peacebuilding, and the Genocide in Rwanda, 118. 70 Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. 71 Melvern, The Security Council: Behind the Scenes, 103.


He found that the Rwandan security forces and some citizens were responsible for the massacring, and that the MRND and the CDR had issued death threats to people in opposition to the governments actions. His report claimed that the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide could be attributed to the actions taken in Rwanda in 1993, meaning that eight months prior to the genocide on record, additional violence that could qualify as genocide ravaged the Tutsi population.72 In May 1994, Secretary General Boutros-Ghali expressed his irritation with the lack of success experienced at the time and made clear that every participant played a role in allowing the genocide to continue. During a news conference he said, All of us are responsible for this failure. It is a genocide which has been committed. More than 200,000 people have been killedand the international community is still discussing what ought to be done. I have tried, I have been in contact with different heads of state and begged them to send troopsUnfortunately, let us say with great humility, I failed. It is a scandal. I am the first one to say it. And I am ready to repeat it."73 Ten years after the effort, Boutros-Ghali still found it necessary to express his sorrow and discontent with the mission that failed so miserably. He said genocide in Africa has not received the same attention that genocide in Europe or genocide in Turkey or genocide in other parts of the world. There is still this kind of basic discrimination against the African people and the African problems.74 After nine months attempting to complete the objectives of UNAMIR, the paper tiger failed to achieve their initial goals and allowed for the mass extermination of up to one million

Economic and Social Council, Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world, with particular reference to colonial and other dependent countries and territories, United Nations, August 11, 1993. 73 Stanley Meisler, Rwanda 'Genocide' Angers, Frustrates U.N. Chief, Los Angeles Times, 1994. 74 Interview with Boutros Boutros-Ghali, PBS Frontline, April 1, 2004.


people in a matter of 100 days.75 Although the United Nations had peacekeeping troops in Rwanda for roughly a year before the genocidal campaign began, they deliberately ignored the warning signs. Once the genocide began, the United Nations was ultimately forced to rely on the French-led mission Operation Turquoise to bring the civil war and genocide to their end.

Conclusion The Rwandan genocide is an example of the mass devastation that can occur when communities emphasize differences and an elite segment of the population seeks to control the government. As one of the fastest genocides on record, it is estimated that up to one million people died between April 6 and July 17, 1994.76 The entire ordeal lasted only 100 days but the rapid extermination by the Interahamwe, Coalition pour la Defense de la Republique (CDR), Rwandan Presidential Guard and MRND brought down 100,000 people by April 19, allowing chaos to run rampant throughout all regions of the country.77 Citizens and soldiers alike were encouraged to participate in their national duty by the extreme radio station, Radio Tlvision Libre des Mille Collines.78 Murdering, raping and stealing from Tutsis were an everyday occurrence in which the perpetrators had little fear of reprisal. When the United Nations jumped into action to contain the conflict, they did so with hardly any ambition or authority. It is nearly impossible to say how many lives could have been saved if the international community had forcefully intervened but by some estimates, a U.S.

75 76

Romeo Dallaire, UNAMIR Mission to Rwanda, Joint Force Quarterly, Spring 2003, 14. PBS Frontline, Timeline. 77 BBC News Africa, Rwanda genocide: Kagame 'cleared of Habyarimana crash', January 10, 2012. 78 Packer, Justice on a Hill, 129.


intervention could have stopped the killing of 75,000 to 125,000 Tutsis plus well over ten thousand Hutus.79 It is certainly true that the environment of Rwanda was chaotic because of the civil war and genocidal violence. Implementing a government of moderate and neutral leaders would have been a challenge for any organization, however, some scholars argue that the weaknesses in UNAMIR were terrifyingly obvious.80 UN leaders had little ambition and there existed an inexcusable lack of communication between Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and member nations of the Security Council. To make matters more difficult, powerful member nations including the United States and United Kingdom had little interest in participating in UNAMIR because of the UNOSOM mission in Somalia that had failed to promote positive influence within the country. The United Nations and many other Council members seemed simply to not care enough about the atrocities in Rwanda. Reports received by both the UN and member nation officials warned of extreme violence that could be characterized as genocide, but it seems that the international community simply did not care enough about the region or the suffering population to take direct action. During the tenth year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a press release on March 3, 2004 describing the new relationship between Rwanda and the United Nations. Annan stated that April 7 had been deemed the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda by the General Assembly in order to honor the victims of the astounding violence. The UN was also in the country yet again, actively restoring hospitals and schools that had been destroyed during the decades of conflict, removing leftover mines from warfare, and helping former refugees to readjust to life in Rwanda. The United Nations has

79 80

Alan Kuperman, The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention, Genocide in Rwannda, May 2004, 162. Melvern, The Security Council: Behind the Scenes, 107.


also created the Rwandan Criminal Tribunal used to prosecute the genocidaries for their crimes.81 The trials have resulted in verdicts of paramount importance for international courts of justice. Thus far, these trials have resulted in the conviction for genocide in an international tribunal, have found a head of state guilty of genocide, found journalists guilty of genocide, and have concluded rape can be an act of genocide. Prior to the Criminal Tribunals of Rwanda these four decisions had never been made.82 Since the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda and the Rwandan genocide have come to an irreversible close, the international community can only learn from its mistakes made during the mission. UNAMIR failed Rwanda on many levels, but the United Nations has the opportunity to continue helping Rwanda to recover, and to not only recognize the warning signs of genocide but react with swift and directed action.


David Greenfield, The Crime of Complicity in Genocide: How the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia Got It Wrong, and Why It Matters, The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology (98.3), 2008. 82 United Nations, Rwanda genocide must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret and abiding sorrow, says Secretary-General to New York memorial conference, UN Press Releases, March 26, 2004.


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Interview with Boutros Boutros-Ghali. PBS Frontline (April 1, 2004). Iliopoulos, Katherine. Life Sentence For Mastermind of Rwandan Genocide. Global Policy Forum (December 18, 2008). Kuperman, Alan. Rwanda in Retrospect. Foreign Affairs 79.1 (February 2000). Kuperman, Alan. The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention. Genocide in Rwannda (May 2004). Longman, Timothy. Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda. Vassar College (May 13, 1997). Meisler, Stanley. Rwanda 'Genocide' Angers, Frustrates U.N. Chief. Los Angeles Times (1994). Melvern, Linda. The Security Council: Behind the Scenes. International Affairs 77.1 (January 2001). Olojede, Dele. When Words Could Kill. Newsday (May 4, 2004). Oppong, Joseph. Rwanda. New York:Chelsea Publishing House, 2008. Packer, George. Justice on a Hill. The New Killing Fields: Massacre and the Politics of Intervention. New York: Basic Books, August 2003. PBS. A Historical Chronology. Rwanda (2013). PBS Frontline. Timeline. Ghosts of Rwanda. April 1, 2004. Philip Gourevitch Interview. PBS Frontline (n.d). Rieder, Heide & Elbert, Thomas. Rwanda lasting imprints of a genocide, Conflict and Health, May 1, 2013. Rwanda- UNAMIR Untied Nations Peace-Keeping, n.d. Springer, Jane. Genocide. La Jolla: Groundwork Books, 2007. Straus, Scott. Rwanda and RTLM Radio Media Effects. University of Wisconsin (2007).


The Rwandan Patriotic Front. Human Rights Watch (1999). UNICEF. Rwanda: Ten years after the genocide. UNICEF (2004). United Nations. Rwanda genocide must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret and abiding sorrow, says Secretary-General to New York memorial conference. UN Press Releases (March 26, 2004). White, Kenneth. Scourge of Racism: Genocide in Rwanda. Journal of Black Studies (2009).