Rwanda (Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity)
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda represents one of the clearest cases of genocide in modern history. From early April 1994 through mid-July 1994, members of the small Central African state's majority Hutu ethnic group systematically slaughtered members of the Tutsi ethnic minority. An extremist Hutu regime, fearing the loss of its power in the face of a democracy movement and a civil war, made plans for the elimination of all thoseoderate Hutu as well as Tutsit perceived as threats to its authority. The genocide ended only when a mostly Tutsi rebel army occupied the country and drove the genocidal regime into exile. Over a period of only one hundred days, as many as one million people lost their lives in the genocide and waraking the Rwandan slaughter one of the most intense waves of killing in recorded history.
Competing Theories of Ethnicity
The origins of ethnic identity in Rwanda remain a subject of considerable controversy. Nearly all scholars agree that populations having the designations Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa existed in the pre-colonial Rwandan state (prior to 1895); however, the exact historic and demographic meanings of these designations remain contested. A theoryeveloped during the colonial periodhat Rwanda's ethnic groups emerged out of successive waves of conquest and immigration has now been largely discredited among scholars, but it dominated understandings of Rwanda's past for several decades. According to this theory, the hunting and gathering Twa were the original inhabitants of the territory. They were subsequently overrun and dominated by Hutu agriculturalists who arrived in the region approximately two thousand years ago from more western regions of Africa. Tutsi cattle herders are alleged to have conquered the territory around five hundred years ago, and to have established their authority over the two groups despite their inferior numbers. Accordingly, the Rwandan genocide was the final outcome of the resentment that was generated by this occupation and subjugation.
Two other theories now dominate discussions of ethnic origins in Rwanda. Both theories maintain that ethnicity is a social construct, that it is fluid, and that ascriptions of ethnicity cannot be made on the basis of physical characteristics, but they diverge with respect to the question of when ethnicity in Rwanda is supposed to have gained its modern form. Many current politicians in Rwanda, as well as some scholars, hold the theory that, in pre-colonial Rwanda, Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa were categories that derived from work-related activity and possessed little social significanceiting that the groups shared a common language and culture and lived among one another throughout the territory. According to this theory, colonial policies and ideologies subsequently transformed these categories into ethnic identities.
Proponents of the second theory believe that the terms Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa conferred status and were freighted with status difference even in pre-colonial Rwanda. Beginning in the mid-1800s, the central court of the kingdom of Rwanda used the categorization of population by ethnicity as a means of extending its control, installing an elite Tutsi class in marginal areas of the kingdom to represent the court. According to this theory, the development of Tutsi dominance that had begun in the late pre-colonial period was accelerated by colonial rule. Colonization transformed group identities via the introduction of Western ideas of race and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity that endowed those identities with greater meaning than they had held previously.
Early Instances of Ethnic Violence
Rwanda was colonized by Germany, which ceded the region to the Belgians during World War I. Supporters of the two theories of the origins of Rwandan ethnic identity agree that violent conflict along ethnic lines rarely, if ever, occurred in pre-colonial Rwanda, and that German and Belgian colonial policies exacerbated the already existing divisions among Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Catholic missionaries, who arrived in Rwanda in 1900, influenced the development of ethnic identity in Rwanda. They believed that Rwanda had three distinct racial groups. The Tutsi were supposedly a Hamitic
These interpretations ultimately shaped how Rwandans saw themselves and understood their group identities; moreover, they had become a basis for policies. German and Belgian colonial administrators practiced ethnic group-based indirect rule. They put power in the hands of Tutsi and gave administrative and political positions to Tutsi, and at the same time eliminated the power of Hutu kings and chiefs. The Belgian colonial administration issued identity cards to all Rwandans that named their ethnicity. In addition the Belgian colonial law of Rwanda dictated that one's ethnicity was the ethnicity of one's fatherhich effectively eliminated the prior fluid nature of ethnic identities. Occupational and educational opportunities were reserved for Tutsi, whereas Hutu were required to provide forced labor for the Tutsi chiefs. As a result of these and other policies, the Hutu population of Rwanda became increasingly impoverished and embittered. In the 1950s a Hutu elite, supported by progressive Catholic missionaries, emerged to challenge the inequality of Rwandan society. In 1959 a Hutu uprising drove Tutsi chiefs from their positions and thousands of Tutsi citizens of Rwanda into exile. The uprising marked the beginning of the transfer of political power to the majority Hutu. Rwanda gained its independence in 1962. The Hutu-dominated post-independence governments referred to the 1959 uprising as a social revolution. (The current Rwandan government refers to the turbulent events of 1959 as Rwanda's first instance of genocidehough in fact few Tutsi were killed at that time.)
In 1962 Grégoire Kayibanda, the leader of the Party of the Movement for the Emancipation of Hutu (Parmehutu), became Rwanda's president. Kayibanda used ethnic appeals to build his supporthereby creating a tense social environment. When rebel groups that had taken form among the exiled Tutsi attacked the country several times in the early 1960s, Rwandan troops responded by massacring thousands of Tutsi. Thousands more were driven into exile. Ethnic violence erupted in Rwanda again in 1973, partially in response to the 1972 genocide of educated Hutu in neighboring Burundi (which had an ethnic composition similar to that of Rwanda), where Tutsi had retained control. The resulting social disruption in Rwanda was a factor that contributed to the July 1973 coup d'etat that installed army chief Juvenal Habyarimana as the president of Rwanda.
Under Habyarimana, ethnic tensions in Rwanda initially diminished, as the regime focused on attracting international assistance for economic development. The establishment of ethnic quotas in education and employment (which shrank opportunities for Tutsi) appeased Hutu, and the creation of a single political party, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND), sharply constrained potentially inflammatory political activity. Tutsi were still required to carry identity cards and faced discrimination, but active ethnic tensions diminished. The resulting political calm attracted both internal and international support for Habyarimana, and allowed a decade of steady economic growth.
By the mid-1980s, however, among Rwandans, frustration with the Habyarimana regime was on the rise. A collapse in the price of coffee, Rwanda's main export, caused a sharp economic downturn and a massive increase in youth unemployment. In the context of economic decline and a growing gap between rich and poor, increasingly apparent corruption among officials in the Habyarimana regime became a growing source of criticism. Preferential treatment for Hutu from Habyarimana's home region of northern Rwanda angered both southern Hutu and Tutsi from throughout the country. In 1990 public frustration manifested itself in a democracy movement that called for expanded civil rights, a legalization of multi-party politics, and free and fair elections. Facing growing unrest, President Habyarimana announced that he would consent to limited political reforms.
The October 1990 invasion of Rwanda by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) changed the political equation in the country, as it both further compromised the security of the regime and provided an opportunity for Habyarimana and his cohorts to regain popular support by playing the ethnic card. The RPF was a rebel group composed primarily of Tutsi refugees seeking the right to return to Rwanda. Since the beginnings of anti-Tutsi violence in Rwanda in 1959, tens of thousands of Tutsi had been living as refugees, primarily in the neighboring states of Zaire (present-day Democratic Republic of Congo), Burundi, and Ugandaountries in which their safety was precarious. In 1982 persecution of Tutsi by the regime of President Milton Obote in Uganda led thousands of Tutsi to try to return to Rwanda. They were turned away at the border: the Habyarimana regime claimed that there was no room for them in Rwanda. In Uganda, a number of Rwandan Tutsi joined the rebel movement that carried Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986, which afforded them political influence even as they remained vulnerable in that country. It was Tutsi within Museveni's National Resistance Army that had founded the RPF, which received clandestine support from the Museveni regime.
The initial RPF attack on Rwanda's northeastern frontier, on October 1, 1990, was easily quelled by troops of the Habyarimana regime, with the support of troops from Zaire, Belgium, and France. Nevertheless, Habyarimana used the invasion to retake the political lead. On the night of October 4, his supporters in the military staged what appeared to be an attack by the RPF on Kigali. This bogus attack was used to justify the arrest of thousands of prominent Tutsi and moderate Hutu, under the accusation of their being RPF accomplices. At the same time, regime officials organized massacres of Tutsi in several communities in the north of the country, which they portrayed as spontaneous popular revenge killings in response to the RPF attack. These assaults served to fan the flames of the ethnic tensions in the country.
Over the next several years, Habyarimana and his supporters used a cunning two-pronged strategy to improve their political position. On the one hand, they appeased critics by entering into negotiations with the RPF and offering political concessions, including the legalization of opposition parties and the creation of a government of (ostensible) national unity. Yet on the other hand they actively undermined these concessions. They denied opposition politicians real political power as they simultaneously blamed them for any problems that the country faced, such as the economic decline and the growing unemployment resulting from the civil war and an International Monetary Fund (IMF)mposed austerity program and currency devaluation. Habyarimana's supporters encouraged acts of violence between the members of opposing political parties and were complacent toward an increase in overall criminal violence, then blamed the growing insecurity on the shift to multi-party politics. They appealed to anti-Tutsi sentiments (which had been intensified by the RPF invasion), and characterized all members of the anti-government opposition as RPF sympathizers. Each time negotiations with the RPF were on the verge of a breakthrough; Habyarimana's allies instigated small-scale massacres of Tutsi in various parts of the country and in general used ethnic violence to further inflame ethnic tensions. These massacres ultimately served as dress rehearsals for the eventual genocide, and were part of a strategy of mobilizing the population and motivating it further in the direction of violence. Throughout this period, Habyarimana's supporters increased their coercive power through a massive expansion of the Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR).
The Road to Genocide
Within the powerful clique close to Habyarimana known as the akazu, the idea of retaking broad political control via the setting off of large-scale massacres of any and all persons they regarded as threats to the Habyarimana regime was apparently first proposed sometime in 1992. The akazu was composed primarily of individuals from Habyarimana's home region in the north of Rwanda, and included descendants of Hutu chiefs who had been displaced by Tutsi during the colonial perioduch as some of the relatives of Habyarimana's wife Agathe Kazinga, who for this reason had retained great personal animosity toward Tutsi. Members of the akazu had acquired significant personal wealth and power under Habyarimana's rule, and they were feeling increasingly threatened by political reforms and negotiations with the RPF. Some in the akazullegedly by mid-1993ad devised a plan to eliminate both Tutsi and moderate Hutu, as a final solution to the threats against themselves.
A series of events in 1993 shifted popular support in favor of the Habyarimana regime, supplying the popular base that would make the genocide possible. Massacres of Tutsi in the prefectures of Gisenyi and Kibuye in January triggered a major RPF offensive in February, which captured a large swath of territory in northern Rwanda and displaced a million people (mostly Hutu) from the Ruhengeri and Byumba prefectures. With so many people having been displaced and rumors of civilian massacres in areas controlled by the RPF beginning to swirl, public opinion in Rwanda shifted sharply against the RPF. Even as the Habyarimana regime feigned participation in peace negotiations with the RPF and other opposition parties, it sought to undermine the negotiations by fostering anti-Tutsi and anti-RPF sentiments and attributing any concessions it made to the participation of opposition politicians. This strategy effectively split each of the opposition parties, thereby preventing the installation of a new unity government of transition and realigning many southern Hutu with Habyarimana. The final peace agreement, known as the Arusha Accords, signed in August 1993, was widely perceived within Rwanda as having ceded too much to the RPF and having solidified the division of political parties into pro-Arusha Accords and anti-Arusha Accords wings. The anti-Arusha Accords party factions joined with Habyarimana's MRND and the extreme anti-Tutsi party named the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) in a loose pro-regime coalition that called itself "Hutu Power."
Hutu Power promoted an ideology that revived much of the anti-Tutsi rhetoric of the Kayibanda period. According to this ideology, Hutu had the right to rule Rwanda because they constituted a majority and because Hutu had a long history in Rwanda (whereas Tutsi had supposedly arrived more recently to conquer and dominate the country). Proponents of the Hutu Power ideology sought to promote a collective memory of Tutsi exploitation of Hutu during the colonial period, and warned that the RPF sought to annul the social revolution of the early 1960s and reassert Tutsi dominance and Hutu subservience. They claimed that all Tutsi within the territory of Rwanda were RPF sympathizers who could not be trusted, and that Hutu who opposed Habyarimana and supported the Arusha Accords were either traitors to the Hutu cause or secretly Tutsi. Associates of Habyarimana established a new quasi-independent radio station in late 1993, Radio Télévision Libre Mille-Collines (RTLM), which broadcast Hutu Power's anti-Tutsi, anti-opposition, and anti-Arusha Accords rhetoric.
The October 1993 assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi's first popularly elected Hutu president, had a major impact within Rwanda. Hutu Power leaders claimed that the failure of a transition to majority rule in Burundi demonstrated that Tutsi could not be trusted. Inter-ethnic violence that swept through Burundi over the several weeks that followed drove thousands of Hutu refugees into Rwanda, where they helped to further radicalize the political climate. Rwandan military personnel began to provide paramilitary training for the youth wings of the Hutu Power parties, such as the MRND's Interahamwexpanding the membership of these youth groups and transforming them into civilian militia. In November the Catholic bishop of Nyundo parish near the city of Gisenyi warned that arms were being distributed to these civilian militias.
Both political and ethnic tensions continued to rise in Rwanda in early 1994. Even as provisions of the Arusha Accords were being implemented, Hutu Power forces sought to scuttle the final transfer of power to a new unity government. The United Nations (UN) Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) stationed international troops in the country to oversee the transition; a battalion of six hundred RPF troops was stationed in Kigali. Rather than reduce its forces, the FAR continued to expand in size and acquire armseceiving weaponry from France, Egypt, and South Africa. In February Faustin Twagiramungu, the transitional prime minister named in the Arusha Accords, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, while Félicien Gatabazi, the executive secretary of the moderate Social Democratic Party, was assassinated. In response, a crowd that had assembled in Gatabazi's home commune lynched the national chairman of the CDR, Martin Bucyana. These political assassinations intensified the sense of crisis in the country and set the stage for the genocide. Intelligence reports coming out of the United States, France, and Belgium in early 1994 all warned that ethnic and political massacres were an imminent possibility in Rwanda. The commander of UNAMIR forces, General Roméo Dallaire, sent a memo to UN headquarters informing them that he had been informed of the existence of the secret plans of Hutu extremists to carry out genocide. None of these warnings were headed.
On April 6, 1994, the plane carrying President Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the president of Burundi, who were returning from a meeting in Tanzania that had focused on the implementation of the Arusha Accords, was shot down by surface-to-air missiles as it approached the airport in Kigali, and all on board were killed. The downing of the plane remains shrouded in mystery, since the Rwandan military restricted access to the area of the crash and blocked all serious investigation. Although associates of Habyarimana initially blamed the RPF for the assassination, many other observers believed that troops close to the president had carried out the attackossibly because of an awareness of Habyarimana's reluctance to permit the plans for genocide (of which he was alleged to have been aware) to move forward, or the perception that he had been too moderate in his attitude toward the RPF. In part because of evidence that was eventually presented before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), many political experts now believe that the RPF, frustrated at the president's resistance toward implementing the Arusha Accords, did in fact fire the rockets that brought down Habyarimana's plane.
Whoever was responsible for the crash, the assassination of Habyarimana served as the spark that set the plans for genocide in motion. Within hours of the crash, members of the presidential guard and other elite troopsarrying hit lists composed of the names of persons perceived to be RPF sympathizers, including prominent Tutsi and Hutu opposition politicians and civil society activistsere spreading throughout the capital. On the morning of April 7, the presidential guard assassinated the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, a moderate Hutu, along with ten Belgian UNAMIR troops who had been guarding her. On the first day of the genocide, death squads also killed leaders of the predominantly Tutsi Liberal Party and the multiethnic Social Democratic Party, several cabinet ministers, justices of the constitutional court, journalists, human rights activists, and progressive priests.
For the first several days, the murderous attacks took place primarily in Kigali and were focused on prominent individuals, both Hutu and Tutsi, perceived to be opponents of the regime. The international community, at this initial stage of the genocide, construed the violence in Rwanda as an ethnic uprising, a spontaneous popular reaction to the death of the president. Without clearly condemning the political and ethnic violence that was taking place, foreign governments moved to evacuate their nationals from Rwanda. Despite calls from UNAMIR Commander Dallaire to have troop strength increased, the member states of the UN Security Council voted to cut the UNAMIR presence from around 2,500 to a token force of 270, largely because countries such as the United States feared becoming entangled in an intractable conflict that would be reminiscent of the then recent disastrous intervention by the United States in Somalia. Belgium quickly withdrew its forces, and was followed by most other participating countries. From the beginning of the violence, the international community thus promulgated a clear message that it was disinterested and would not act to stop the massacres in Rwanda.
Far from being a spontaneous popular uprising, the 1994 genocide had been carefully planned and coordinated by a small group of government and military officials who used the administrative structure and coercive force of the state to invigorate the genocide and extend it across the country. Following Habyarimana's death, a new interim government composed entirely of Hutu Power supporters had seized control. Once it became clear that the international community was not going to intervene, the death squads moved the genocide into a second phase, expanding the violence until it engulfed the entire country and focusing it more specifically on Tutsi. Using the language of self-defense, the interim government called upon the population to help protect Rwanda from the invading RPF and to root out collaborators and infiltrators within the country. It sent word to regional and local leaders of the Interahamwe and other militias to move forward with existing "civil self-defense" plans that entailed the elimination of all "threats to security" (understood to mean all Tutsi and, to a lesser extent, moderate Hutu). Political officials had to support the "security" efforts or relinquish their government positions.
Following Habyarimana's death and the start of the civilian massacres, the RPF ended the ceasefire that had been in effect since the previous year and renewed its assault on the country. The RPF troops stationed in Kigali as part of the terms of the Arusha Accords quickly occupied a section of the capital, which became a safe zone for Tutsi and others threatened by the genocidal regime. Other RPF troops advanced on the capital from the north, overtaking the prefecture of Byumba and
The genocide in each community followed a pattern. First, the civilian militias raided Tutsi homes and businesses. Fleeing Tutsi were forced to seek refuge in central locations, such as schools, public offices, and churches, where they had been protected during previous waves of violence. Coordinators of the genocide actively exploited the concept of sanctuary and encouraged Tutsi to gather at these places, offering promises of protection when in fact they were calling Tutsi together for their more efficient elimination. In some communities, a limited number of moderate Hutu were killed early in the violences a way of sending a message to other Hutu that they needed to cooperate. Once Tutsi had been gathered, soldiers or police joined with the militia in attacking them: first firing on the crowd and throwing grenades, then systematically finishing off survivors with machetes, axes, and knives. In some cases, buildings teeming with victims were set on fire or demolished. In instances in which communities initially resisted the genocide, militias from neighboring areas arrived on the scene and participated in the attacks until local Hutu joined in the killing. Generally armed only with stones, Tutsi were able to pose effective resistance in only a few locations.
By early May the large-scale massacres were complete, and the genocide in each community moved into a second stage of seeking out survivors. The organizers of the genocide clearly sought in this stage to lessen their own responsibility by implicating a larger segment of society in the killing. Although the massacres were carried out by relatively limited groups of militia members and members of the armed forces, all adult men were expected to participate in roadblocks and nightly patrols. People passing through roadblocks were required to show their identity cards. If a person's card stated that his or her ethnicity was Tutsi, he or she was killed on the spot. If a person had no card, he or she was assumed to be Tutsi. Persons who looked stereotypically Tutsi were almost certainly killed. The military patrols ostensibly searched for perpetrators, but they actually looked for surviving Tutsi who were hiding in communities. Many Hutu risked their own lives to protect Tutsi friends and family. The patrols searched homes where Tutsi were believed to be hiding, and if Tutsi were found, the patrols sometimes killed both Tutsi and the Hutu who were harboring them. Twa, who were a minuscule minority of the Rwandan population, were rarely targets of the genocide and in many communities participated in the killing in an effort to improve their social status.
Post-Genocide Reconstruction and Reconciliation
From the vantage point of the Hutu Power elite, the genocide, although effective at eliminating internal dissent, proved to be a terrible military strategy, as it drained resources and diverted attention from the RPF assault. Better armed and better organized, the RPF swiftly subdued FAR troops. It advanced across eastern Rwanda, then marched west, capturing the former royal capital Nyanza, on May 29; the provisional capital Gitarama, on June 13; and Kigali, on July 4. As it advanced, the RPF liberated Tutsi still being harbored in large numbers in places such as Nyanza and Kabgayi, but they also carried out civilian massacres in many communities they occupied, sometimes after gathering victims for supposed public meetings. Much of the population fled the RPF advance. As the RPF occupied eastern Rwanda, nearly one million refugees fled into Tanzania, while in July, over one million fled into Zaire.
After initially refusing to intervene in Rwanda and to stop the genocide, the UN Security Council, on May 17, authorized the creation of an expanded international force, UNAMIR IIut by the time the force was ready to deploy, the genocide was over. The RPF, angry at international neglect and believing that it could win an outright victory, rejected the idea of a new international intervention. In mid-June France, which had
On July 17, 1994, the RPF declared victory and named a new interim government. The post-genocide Rwandan government faced the inordinately daunting task of rebuilding a country that had been devastated by violence. The exact number of people killed in the genocide and war remains disputed, and ranges from 500,000 to over a million, with serious disagreement over the portion killed by the RPF and the portion killed by the genocidal regime. Whatever the exact number of dead, the loss of life was massive and the impact on society immeasurable. The RPF, seeking wider popular support, based the new government loosely on the Arusha Accords and appointed a multiethnic slate of ministers from the former opposition parties that included a Hutu president and prime minister. Real power, however, remained firmly in RPF hands, with Defense Minister and Vice President Paul Kagame widely acknowledged as the ultimate authority in the country.
The RPF, which became Rwanda's new national army, took as its first main task the taking of control over the territory, which it did with considerable brutality. The RPF summarily executed hundreds of people who were suspected of involvement in the genocide, and arrested thousands more. Following the late August departure of French forces, the RPF sought to close the camps for the internally displaced. It used force in some cases, such as in its attack on the Kibeho camp in April 1995, in which several thousand civilians died. The refugee camps just across the border in Zaire continued to pose a security threat for the new government, as members of the former FAR and citizen militias living in the camps used the camps as a base from which to launch raids on Rwanda. In mid-1996 the RPF sponsored an antigovernment rebellion in eastern Zaire by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL). The RPF itself attacked the refugee camps. The RPF killed thousands of refugees who sought to go deeper into Zaire rather than return to Rwanda. With support from the RPF and troops from Uganda and Burundi, the ADFL swiftly advanced across Zaire, driving President Mobutu Sese-Sekou from power in early 1997.
After taking power, the new government of Rwanda set about rebuilding the country's physical infrastructure, but it also committed itself to reconstructing the society. The establishment of the principle of accountability for the genocide and a repudiation of the principle of impunity were primary goals. By the late 1990s the government had imprisoned 120,000 people under the accusation of participation in the genocide. Although considerable effort was put into rebuilding the judicial system, trials of persons accused of genocide proceeded very slowlyeginning only in December 1996 and with fewer than five thousand cases tried by 2000. Responding to the need to expedite trials, but also hoping more effectively to promote accountability and reconciliation, the government decided in 2000 to implement a new judicial process, called gacaca, based loosely on a traditional Rwandan dispute resolution mechanism. The new gacaca courts, the first of which began to operate in June 2002, consist of panels of popularly elected lay judges from every community in the country. The panels preside at public meetings, at which all but the most serious genocidal crimes are tried. Beginning in 2003, the government began to release provisionally thousands of people who had had no formal charges brought against them or who had confessed to participation in the genocide (and would therefore be given reduced sentences). In addition to judicial strategies, the government has sought to promote reconciliation by promulgating a revised understanding of Rwandan history that emphasizes a unified national identity; creating reeducation camps for returning refugees, released prisoners, entering university students, and newly elected government officials; establishing memorials and annual commemorations of the genocide; changing the national anthem, flag, and seal; decentralizing the political structure; and adopting a new constitution.
Efforts to promote reconciliation have been undermined by the RPF's continuing mistrust of the population and its desire to retain control. The government has been highly intolerant of dissent, accusing critics of supporting the ideology of division and genocide. The government has harassed, outlawed, and co-opted human rights organizations, religious groups, and other segments of civil society. Journalists have been harassed and arrested. All political parties but the RPF have been tightly controlled. Power has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of the RPF and of Tutsi, and Paul Kagame has amassed and continues to amass increasing personal power. Kagame assumed the presidency in 2000. A putative "democratic transition" in 2003 actually served to consolidate RPF control over Rwanda.
The international community, plagued by guilt over its failure to stop the genocide, has been highly forgiving of the human rights abuses of the RPF, generally treating the abuses as an understandable or even necessary occurrence in the aftermath of genocide. It has given backing and assistance to both to the camps in Zaire and the reconstruction of Rwanda. The main outcome of the international reaction to the Rwandan genocide was the creation of the ICTR, based in Arusha, Tanzania. Created by the UN Security Council in late 1994, the ICTR is entrusted with trying the chief organizers of the 1994 genocide as well as RPF officials responsible for war crimes. Despite a slow start, the ICTR has tried or at least holds in its custody many of the most prominent officials of the former Rwandan regime. No RPF officials have yet come into ICTR custody.
Ten years after the 1994 genocide, ethnic relations in Rwanda remain tense. The government has become increasingly intolerant of dissent, and a steady flow of individuals has sought political asylum outside Rwanda. Although initially these exiles were mostly Hutu, they now include many Tutsi, including genocide survivors as well as RPF members who have fallen afoul of Kagame. These exiles could eventually become a basis for a serious challenge to the present regime. The constraints that have been put on open communication within Rwanda have hampered discussions about the genocide and its causes, but political reforms and an emphasis on national unity, as well as the active use of security forces, have helped to maintain peace in the country.
SEE ALSO Altruism, Biological; Altruism, Ethical; Burundi; Comics; Ethnicity; Genocide; Humanitarian Intervention; Identification; Incitement; Memorials and Monuments; Racism; Radio; Radio Télévision Libre Mille-Collines; Refugee Camps; Refugees; Safe Zones; United Nations
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