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Canada's Role in the Rwandan Genocide

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Laura Devoe

on 15 June 2016

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Transcript of Canada's Role in the Rwandan Genocide

Canada's Role in the Rwandan Genocide
What sparked the genocide?
The Genocide: Overview
Canada's role: UN Peacekeeping Missions
The UN and Canada took on peace missions in Rwanda between 1993 to 1996.

After the president was killed, the Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, head of the UN peace-keeping, put in an urgent request for a doubling of his force. He was told not to intervene in the conflict.

The UNAMR was tasked with securing a cease-fire, providing security, and supporting humanitarian relief operations. They took under protection 40,000 Rwandans.

The U.S and UN security council voted to withdraw 90% of the peacekeepers. after 10 belgians were killed. General Dallaire was left with only 450 ill-equipped troops, which wasn't nearly enough to effectively suppress the genocide

The UN ultimately failed to suppress the Rwandan genocide, and there were many problems with their response.
Image by goodtextures: http://fav.me/d2he3r8
Problems with the Canadian Response
Aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide

In 1961 the HuTu started a rebellion to gain a higher status and gain independence from Beligum. This resulted in Belgium switching their support from the Tutsi's to the HuTu.

In 1962, Beligum granted Rwanda their independence after the Tutsi monarchy was abolished. There were tensions as the HuTu remembered the past years of oppression.

The president's use of propaganda, and constant political negotiation created a massive wedge between the Hutu's and the Tutisi's by the end of 1992

Tutsi who fled to Uganda after the HuTu took control formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), aimed to overthrow Habyarimana and secure their right to return back to Rwanda. They repeatedly tried to invade Rwanda, leading to a civil war.

On the night of April 6, 1994 a plane carrying the Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was shot down.

Hutu extremists put blame on the Rwandan Patriotic Font

The exiles denied this, and claimed that the Hutu's were making an excuse for the genocide.

Violence became widespread, and the Hutus began to massacre hundreds of thousands of Tutsis.

The effect that the genocide had on the people of Rwanda is immeasurable.

Informal local courts were set up for reconciliation between victims and those responsible. 130,000 suspects were held in Rwandan prisons after the genocide.

Many soldiers who served in Rwanda suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following the genocide.

The UN revamped the UNAMIR operation, which provided humanitarian relief in the aftermath of the genocide.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was set up in Arusha, Tanzania, after a vote by the UN Security Council. However, it only sentenced 61 people
The mission was planned poorly
Canada Wasn't Prepared
Soldiers didn't have a lot of experience
Most soldiers had very poor or no training.

They had a limited amount of money
Dallaire had estimated he would need $220 million for the operation. The UN, under pressure from the United States to keep down costs, gave him $54 million.

Late Response
The UNAMIR was slow to deploy, and when they did, they didn't do anything to suppress the genocide.

Within an hour of the plane crash, the Presidential Guard set up roadblocks and barricades and began slaughtering Tutsis and moderate Hutus

Hutu extremists began killing their political opponents, including the prime minister.

Local officials and government-sponsored radio stations called on ordinary Rwandan civilians to murder their neighbors and the violence quickly spread.

By early July RPF forces had gained control over most of country, including Kigali. In response, more than 2 million people, mainly HuTu, fled Rwanda, crowding into refugee camps in the Congo,

In just 100 days, an estimated 800,000 Tutsi were killed by HuTu extremists.

Romeo Dallaire
International Response
Most of the world stood on the sidelines during the Rwandan genocide

The security council provided more than 5000 troops. However, because of the delay & denial in the Security Council, all the military arrived months after the genocide was over.

The Rwandan Genocide was not seen as a 'sufficient interest' to warrant prevention of the violence, the expense of resources, or the risk of casualties.

The failure of the international community came down mainly to the UN, and 3 countries. The U.N. staff failed to provide adequate information, Belgium withdrew its troops, the U.S. put saving money ahead of saving lives, and France continued its support of a government engaged in genocide.
Juvenal Habyarimana
They had little information
General Roméo Dallaire had requested intelligence but was denied and given very little access to information. This resulted in the mission being planned poorly
He was considered a "blind man" going into the mission.

Provided with inexperienced experts
They didn't have experts in economic, political and human rights operational planning.
This resulted in military operations ignoring requirements for long-term addresses to the cause the Rwandan conflict

Poor Strategy
They were only allowed to use force in self-defense
The UN prohibited the UNAMIR to seize weapons as such action went beyond the mission’s mandate.
This strategy failed to suppress the genocide.
They ended up withdrawing 90% of their troops
There weren't enough soldiers & equipment
Dallaire had originally devised the operation for 8,000 troops. However, it was changed because the US and UK wanted the mission in Rwanda to be small. Eventually they decided on 2,438 troops

Aftermath: UN Soldiers
Lots of soldiers who served in the Rwandan Genocide suffered from PTSD.

Camp set up by Tutsi refugees
Rwanda is a small rural nation in Central Africa.

For centuries, three tribes had made up the country’s population, the HuTu (85%) the Tutsis (14%), and the Twa (1%).

When Belgian colonists settled in Rwanda, they had considered Tustis 'superior' to the HuTus. They gave them identification cards, and treated the HuTu like peasants.
Background: Genocide
Rwandan fleeing country to escape Civil War
My Opinion
I think that the Rwandan genocide could have been prevented if Western powers had made the right decisions at the right time. Due to lack of interest, Western powers missed a huge opportunity to save thousands of Rwandan lives.

The major international actors all understood the gravity of the crisis within the first twenty-four hours. They could have used national troops or UNAMIR or a combined force of both to confront the killers and immediately save lives
Map of Rwanda
Full transcript