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Rwanda Genocide

by Lisa Marina and Colin

Lisa Niederman

on 26 April 2011

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Transcript of Rwanda Genocide

Rwandan Genocide Causes of the Genocide Cause 1 The Rwandan Civil War
In 1990, a civil war started between the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), backed by the Tutsi, and Hutu government troops. The war was started because of ambitious intentions of the rebels and the government dehumanizing the Tutsi minority. The UN intervened in 1993 and an uneasy ceasefire was established. Cause 2 The assassination of Rwandan president Habyarimana. He was killed when his plane was shot down, most likely the work of an extremist. The Hutu government used this as an excuse to begin attacking the Tutsi people, whom the government believed was responsible for the crime. Cause 3 The division and distrust between the Tutsi and the Hutu. The Hutu, the original people of Rwanda, felt that the Tutsi, who were usually the landowners, were taking advantage of the Hutu, the workers. This created a rift between the two ethnic groups that destroyed the peaceful relationship that the two peoples had established. Perpetrators:
The perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide were Hutu extremists. The ethnic group of the Hutus made up 85% of Rwanda's population in 1994. President Habyarimana was a Hutu and once he got shot, violence from Hutu extremists started up. Victims: Victims of the genocide include both Tutsis and Hutus. "In the weeks after April 6, 1994, 800,000 men, women, and children perished in the Rwandan genocide, perhaps as many as three quarters of the Tutsi population. At the same time, thousands of Hutu were murdered because they opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it" ("United Human Rights Council"). Other victims also included high profile political leaders that could have possibly put an end to the uprisings. There were also many victims of other circumstances such as torture and rape. The Hutus used men with STDs and HIV/AIDs to rape women and girls so as to infect as many victims as possible. primary sources of victims: Government Responses to the Incidents Events of the Genocide 1. In 1962, Rwanda gains its independence. Events of the Genocide 1. The Hutu led government began by passing dehumanizing laws against the Tutsi people where they were excluded from secondary schools, theaters, and restaurants. This created tensions between the two groups.
2. The civil war between the RPF and government forces. This conflict lasted for three years and was only ended by a UN-backed intervention.
3. On April 6, 1994, president Juvenal Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down, most likely the work of an extremist who wanted to ignite a conflict. This prompted the Hutu population to take up arms against the Tutsi, whom they blamed for the crime.
4. Bands of armed Hutu people roam the country and hunt down and kill their Tutsi countrymen. The killers were friends and neighbors of the Tutsi. These mass-killings went on for 100 days.
5. Tutsi forces led by Paul Kagame defeat Hutu rebels and are able to take control of the government. The genocide endedwhen the Hutu people heard that their government had fallen. 1. The following account demonstrates how somewhere one would think is safe is really a place of mass murder and danger. In Rwanda, "more people have been killed in churches and church compounds than in any other sight"(Lemarchand 418). Josianne Mukeshimana was a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl when she experienced attack on her chuch- Ntamara Church and she describes her experience: Josianne's Story "About five days after we had been there, there was an attack against the churh. When we saw them coming, we closed the doors. They broke the doors down and tore down some of the bricks in the baack wall... They were ordinary villagers from womewhere else...
People could not leave. But it was also intolerable to remain in one's position as the macheting continued... All around you, people were being killed and wounded...
Eventually I decided to drop down among the dead. I raised my head slightly; an interhamwe (one of the attackers) hurled a brick at me. It hit me just on top of my eye. My face became covered with blood which was useful in making them think I was even more dead... The macheting continued all around me...
Once they thought most people were dead, they paid more attention to looting the dead. But one of them was not satisfied with his loot. He remained in the church... He came to search my pockets and discovered that I was alive. He threatened to kill me unless I paid him. I said I had no money. He took my watch. In the meantime the other attackers were calling out to him, warning him that he might be killed if he delays any longer. He left" (Lemarchand 419). 2. The next story shows the horrors of when Venuste Hakizamungu, a 24-year-old Tutsi, was forced to kill his own brother (Theoneste Ruykwirwa) by a group of interhamwe. Venuste's Story "When the killings started our family was not aware that Tutsi were the target. Therefore we had no time to escape...
After four days about twenty interhamwe, armed with machetes, hoes, spears and bows and arrows =, came to the house. They stood over me and said 'Kill him!' Theoneste got up and spoke to me. 'I fear being killed by a machete; so please go ahead and kill me but use a small hoe.' He himself brought the hoe and handed it to me... I kept hitting him on the head but he would not die. It was agonizing. Finally I took the machete he dreaded in order to finish him off quickly. The interhamwe were there during the whole time, supervising what they called 'work.' When Theoneste was dead they left" (Lemarchand 421-422). 3. This next account is of a girl named Louise, who was seventeen and became a rape victim during the Rwandan Genocide. Many of the victims were killed after being raped, and Louise is one of the few survivors. Louise's Story "They were three dilinquents. As they came towards me, they were discussing how they were going to kill me...
Then one of them suggested that they should rape me instead. The three of them raped me in turns. Each having finished, he walked away. As the last one finished a new group of interhamwe arrived. They ordered the man who raped me last to rape me again. He refused. Then they threatened to burn both of us alive unless he raped me again. So he raped me again.
When he was through, the new group of interhamwe beat me up... they threw me into the pit latrine (collection of human waste). The man who pushed me pushed me so hard that instead of falling in I fell across. He dragged me back by the legs and I fell in upright, on top of my aunt" (Lemarchand 423). Bystanders: The UN The UN defines genocide as such:
General Assembly Resolution 260A (III) Article 2
"In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group" ("The International Convention..."). Rescuers: The Government was the ring leader in the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis people. Akazu (a group formed just for killing) carried out the murders. Many of the Akazu members were top officials in the government. The government actually approved and supported Akazu and their relentless killing of innocent Tutsis' citizens. Foreign governments did not want to get involved with Rwanda. They pretty much abandoned them. Hence the large number of dead citizens. Other events in different countries had been going on so everyone was hesitant to getting involed. The United States government did not want to associate and definitely didn't want to lead the fight against something the whole UN knew was happening. For example, the United States Department of State says "It may be difficult to locate adequate numbers of troops willing to serve. The U.S. is not prepared at this point to lift heavy equipment and troops into Kigali." (Document 13.) But, after an outrageous amount of time not helping, the UN felt the pressure from the media and citizens who heard the stories and saw the pictures of death. They had to get involved. A compromise was made on May 16 to have troops brought in to help out. Finally, after months of the killings, France took control and entered Rwanda saving the lives of thousands of innocent civilians. Foreign governments certaintly failed in attempting to prevent/stop the absurd events of the Rwanda genocide. It took them a significantly long time to eventually send troops in to help. Sure the UN had plans of helping but took way to much time to actually follow through with them. None of the countries wanted to intervene in the on going genocide. Abandoning the citizens of Rwanda to die in mass amounts. Nearly a death toll of about one-tenth of the population which consists of millions. On June 15 finally the French decided to for go the action in helping the people by creating a "humanitarian zone” Which later was a success in saving thousands of Tutsis. The Rwandan Geonicide can be classified as a genocide because members of the Tutsi tribe were targeted and a large percentage were killed (a), women and girls were also raped (b). Definition of
a bystander A bystander is anyone who may be observing an act of cruelty but does not do anything. A synonym of bystander is observer. Bystanders in
the Rwandan Genocide The bystanders in the Rwandan Genocide include those who watched others in their towns being taken away, beaten, killed or raped. The rescuers of the Rwandan genocide was the Tutsi militia force."After 100 days of death and destruction, the Tutsi militia led by Kagame defeated the Hutu rebels and took control of the government" ("Rwanda:100 days...). Definition of Perpetrator The perpetrator is the person or group who is performing the injustice. They would be the killers, rapists, or kidnappers, etc. Perpetrators in the Rwandan Genocide The perpetrators in the Rwandan Genocide were mostly Hutu extremists (the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi). They accused the Tutsis of killing Rwanda's Hutu president and numerous groups went into phases of killing, torturing, and raping members of the Tutsi population or anyone who did not obligue to their orders. Those who were forced to kill their own family could also be considered perpetrators, but in a different sense as they were also victims of the Hutu's pressure. The End The Rwandan Genocide officially ended in 1994 after 100 days of chaos. Rwanda is now much improved since its finish. "Rwanda is now considered one of Africa's most stable nations. Education, health care, tourism and trad- which were destroyed in the genocide- have improved dramatically" ("Rwanda:100 days..."). Outcome and Effects of the Genocide After 100 days of slaughter 800,000-1,000,000 Tutsi men, women, and children lay dead. "Some figures put the number of dead at 1 million, 10 percent of teh population of the central African nation. Millions more were raped and disfigured. A whole generation of children lost thier parents." (Rwanda: 100 days) Human Costs Changes in Government After the Genocide ended, a multi-ethic government of both Hutu and Tutsi people is created. Many high ranking officials in the former Hutu government are tried for ethnic crimes and most are jailed. Some are given the death penalty in local courts called Gacacas, or "open grass." The World View of the Genocide The Rwandan Genocide changed the world's view of a genocide. Many countries tried to ignore the tragedy and not get involved, including the US. "The USA had actually banned its officials from using the term (genocide)." (Talking About Genocide; Rwanda 1994) But the world had seen what had happened swore that this sort of thing would never happen again. In using the stages of genocide, I would classify the Rwandan Genocide in the extermination stage. This is because Hutu extremist groups would go on killing rampages. They seemed to skip some previous stages such as polarization, because the genocide started up so quickly. (After the shooting of the Hutu president the genocide picked up quickly). It cannot be classified as denial because the Hutu groups did/ have not denied their actions. "It is estimated that some 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide" ("Genocide in Rwanda"). The genocide only ended when "the Tutsi- dominated rebel group, the RPF, defeated the Hutu perpetrator regime and President Paul Kagame took control" ("Genocide in Rwanda") Foreign countries such as France, Belgium, and the United States and also the United Nations were aware of Rwanda's growing situation before the genocide occured, but did not take the steps they needed in order to help prevent a genocide from happening.However, when the UN tried to help out they were unsucessful at creating a ceasefire. Later on, the UN couldn't get more troops into Rwanda. "Not only did international leaders reject what was going on, but they also declined for weeks to use their political and moral authority to challenge the legitimacy of the genocidal government" ("Genocide in Rwanda"). "Aware from the start that Tutsi were being targeted for elimination, the leading foreign actors refused to acknowledge the genocide" ("Genocide in Rwanda"). Brief History Belgians took control of Rwanda from Germany after Germany's defeat in WWI, they favored the Tutsis and gave them multiple benefits over the Hutus and Twas.

When Rwanda gained independence the Hutus had come into power after a violent Hutu revolution, and continued attacks against the Tutsis which left them with only half of their original population.

At this time Juvénal Habyarimana had become president, and he was a Hutu. He ruled Rwanda for about 20 years. When he was in power organized attacks on Tutsis were stopped, but discrimination still continued.

August 6th his plane was shot down and he was killed, attacked on Tutsis started up again that very day. When interviewed on NPR news, Leroy Sievers said, "Monsters exist. I've met them. They are commanders of the Rwandan Hutu militia" (Sievers). He also said, "I was shaking their hands, hands covered with blood. A collegue of mine who lives in Africa said, 'If you worry about that, you'd never be able to shake anyone's hand in this region'" (Sievers).
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