Rwandan Genocide (1994)

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Rwandan Genocide (1994)

Carson ScheuermanAnmol SharmaReese Jones

In Rwanda from April to July in 1994, the Hutu majority went on an 100 day mass murdering of the Tutsi minority; fitting the United Nations (U.N.) framework for defining a genocide.

Rwandan Genocide

Contention 1: Inter-group relations, including record of discrimination or other human rights violations committed against a group Long standing tension between Tutsis and Hutu ethnic groups; Belgium required ID cards during colonial period. Prior to the colonial era, Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa lived in relative harmony. The Tutsi (14% of the population) were the cattle herders, soldiers and administrators, the Hutu (85%) were the farmers, and the marginalized Twa (1%) were hunter-gatherers or potters. Individuals could and did move between the categories of Tutsi and Hutu as their fortunes rose and fell, and intermarriage was not uncommon. It was not until Belgian colonization and the introduction of identity cards distinguishing between the three groups that the tensions between the Hutus and Tutsis became focused on race. Contention 2: Circumstances that affect the capacity to prevent genocide. Hutu leaders after the outbreak of the civil war made a list of Tutsi leaders to kill. This greatly reduced the leadership of the Tutsis which was greatly needed at the time. It made the Tutsis disorganized and terrified which prohibited them from trying to organize and defend themselves. The Hutus also separated the people into different neighborhoods much like the Nazi ghetto camps. Under Hutu rule, the Tutsis faced discrimination and violence, and thousands more fled to neighboring Burundi. It is estimated that by the mid-1960s, half of the Tutsi population was living outside Rwanda. Contention 3: Presence of illegal arms and armed elements In 1990, the Rwandan army began to train and arm civilian militias known as Interahamwe (“Those who stand together”). Among these militias were young children who were handed Machetes and AK-47s to help "defend" the neighborhood and were most likely part of some small scale massacres. During those 100 days there was a lot of illegal weapon trafficking that happened in Rwanda. Throughout this period thousands of Tutsis were killed in massacres around the country. Opposition politicians and journalists were persecuted. Contention 4: Motivation of Leading actors in the State/Region; acts which serve to encourage divisions between national, racial, ethnic and religious groups. Many of the Hutu policies led many Tutsis to flee which separated the people in the area. Within Rwanda, Hutu extremists among the country’s political elite blamed the Tutsi population for the country's increasing social, economic, and political pressures. Civil war between Hutus and Tutsis broke out on October 2, 1990, when the Rwandan Patriot Front, the Tutsi rebel group, invaded Rwanda from the north. Hutu extremists accused all Tutsis of supporting the rebels operating outside the country. Contention 5: Circumstances that facilitate perpetration of genocide (dynamic factors) When the civil war broke out between the Rwandan Government and the Rwandan Patriot Front, a Tutsi rebel group, in 1990; Hutu extremists took that as the time to plan the final solution the their Tutsi problem. They began to draw lists and assassinate Tutsi and moderate Hutu leaders, while also building a youth militia. Beginning in 1993, Hutu political leaders began to import large numbers of machetes and distributed the weapons to the militias that supported them, the Interahamwe (“Those Who Attack Together”) and the Impuzamugambi (“Those Who Have the Same Goal”). Contention 6: Genocidal acts After a missile shot down the Rwandan president's plane on the 4th of April, 1994, Hutu extremists took that as the time to take power and start in the capital with planned attack on the Tutsi minority. Starting with the killing of anyone who could take control of situation, the movement swept the nation. Hutu militias, equipped and trained by the Rwandan government forces, did the majority of the killings. When the level of violence became clear to Tutsi people they looked to schools, churches, etc., but when it became clear to the Belgian UN troops they evacuated with orders to take the Europeans and Americans with them. It's estimated that 800,000 were killed and that 200,000 assisted in the genocide. Contention 7: Evidence of intent "to destroy in whole or in part..." The Rwandan Presidential Guard, along with the Rwandan armed forces (FAR) and Hutu militia groups known as the Interahamwe (“Those Who Attack Together”) and Impuzamugambi (“Those Who Have the Same Goal”), began to set up road blocks an hour after the Burundian president, Cyprien Ntaryamira's plane crashed. At these roadblocks, they checked people and used their Rwandan ID cards (implemented and imposed by Belgian government that every Rwandan carry ID stating tribe afiliation) to kill them. If they were Tutsi or a moderate Hutu, they were yanked out of their car onto to the ground and shot. The FAR and other militia group planned a systematic killing of Tutsi political and tribe leaders, causing disunity and disorganization within the Tutsi when they needed it most. The government then used government-sponsored radio stations to encourage their Hutu citizens to take up arms against their Tutsi neighbors, and to kill them with whatever weapons they could get their hands on, usually machetes and clubs. Contention 8: Triggering factors None; the Rwandan Patriotic Front's victory led to a total change in government. Because it was composed of almost all Tutsi, they implemented laws to avert possible future genocides, like adopting a new constitution in 2003 that took out a reference to ethnicity/tribes, and instated a Hutu as president and Tutsi as vice president and defense minister, proving the country could get along despite ehtnic differences. They also outlawed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development Party, which was the party in power when the genocide begun and it was largely responsible for it. Rwanda's new government also has since adopted its first ever elections for political office.Closing Thoughts: It is very difficult to wonder why anyone in the world would want to kill all theses people. Evil exists in every cornor of the world and it is our job to help to eradicate that evil and get rid of it. In the Rwandan Genocide, the fact that almost 1 million people were killed over the course of only 100 days is aoustanding. Everyone needs to work together regardless of race, color, nation, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, to make sure that everyone is able to voice their opinions, and speak for those that cannot. At the end of the day we're all humans with emotion and feelings that have to make sure that no one has to suffer, and that everyone is accepted regardless of who they are.,%20flickr).preview.jpg

History Channel. The Rwandan Genocide. n.d. Video/Text.Muesuem, Holocaust. United States Holocause Mueseum Memorial. n.d. 8 12 2015.Rwandan Genocide Documentry. 15 March 2012. Video.Stanton, Gregory H. "The 8 Stages of Genocide." The 8 Stages of Genocide. Fredericksburg, 1996. Document.UN Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide. n.d. Interactive Timeline. 12 12 2015.

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