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The Rwandan Genocide Quick Facts • Lasted from Early April to Mid-July of 1994 • Between 500,000 and 1 Million people murdered • Perpetrators: Hutu Government • Victims: Tutsi and Moderate Hutu tribe members How It All Came About • Tutsi tribes placed ahead of Hutu and Twa during the Colonial Period by French rulers • Hutu are bitter over the fact that they have always been made to serve • Coup d’etat in 1973 installed Army Chief Juvenal Habyarimana of the Hutu tribe as President of Rwanda. • The group that surrounded the president, akuza, came up with the idea for the genocide. • Genocide first proposed in 1992 by the akuza group, made up of many people from Habyarimana’s Northern Rwandan homeland. • Feeling threatened by rising power of the RPF—Rwandan Patriotic Front, an army made up of Tutsi refugees—the akuza came up with the plan to get rid of Tutsi and moderate Hutu. • In 1993, massacres of Tutsi in a few regions of Rwanda led to a massive RPF assault that led many Hutu to shift their support to Habyarimana and his party. • Habyarimana signed a peace agreement known as the Arusha Accords with the RPF that led to the creation of the Political Group Hutu power. Many believe the treaty was a front. Juvenal Habyarimana, the leader of the Hutu Power political party and the President of Rwanda before the Genocide Occurred. Habyarimana set up a national radio Station that broadcast anti-Tutsi, anti-opposition and anti-Arusha Accords rhetoric, all of which served to fuel the flames that would start the Genocide. In 1993, the assassination of Burundi’s popularly elected Hutu president forced thousands of Hutu refugees into Rwanda. The Hutu Power party accepted all the refugees. At this time the Rwandan military began training their youth organization, the Interahamwe, to be a civilian military of sorts. • Numerous political assassinations led to increased ethnic tensions in Rwanda. • These assassinations set the stage for genocide and increased the sense of crisis in the country. • Reports coming out of the Us, France and Belgium all warned that the results of this ethnic tension could easily be a full scale genocide • One commander even sent a report to the UN that said he was aware of the existence of a secret Hutu plan to carry out the Genocide. • None of the warnings were heeded. • On April 6th, 1994, President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down while returning to Rwanda. The president was killed. • No one knows for sure who led the assassination but the Hutu Power party took advantage of it. Habyarimana had been reluctant to allow a genocide, and with him gone, the government put their plan into motion. • On April 7th, the prime minister of Rwanda, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, a moderate Hutu, was assassinated. • On this first actual day of the genocide, many political leaders from the Liberal Party, Social Democratic party,, may cabinet ministers, court justices, journalists, human rights activists and progressive priests. • For a little while, the genocide was focused in Kigali and was mainly aimed at executing prominent figures that were perceived threats to the Hutu government. These included moderate Hutu as well as Tutsi. • Rather than fighting against the genocide, many foreign countries simply had their representatives evacuated out of the country, without clearly condemning the genocide. • Despite calls to increase aid to the country, the United Nations voted to decrease the number of forces from 2500 to about 270m largely at the call of countries like the US, who feared another disaster like Somalia. • The genocide really began when it was moved into its second phase. • It was now more focused on the complete eradication of the Tutsi tribe and the help of local militia was enlisted by the main death squads of the Rwandan Army. • The genocide followed a distinct pattern in each community and was meticulously planned by the Hutu Government • First, civilian militias raided Tutsi homes and businesses, forcing fleeing Tutsi to seek refuge in central locations. • Often times, many of the Tutsi were told they would be protected at these locations, which were usually churches, schools, or public offices, when in fact they were being rounded up for mass murders. • Once gathered at these locations, soldiers police and the militia would fire on the crowds and would throw grenades into their midst. • Survivors were systematically slaughtered with machetes and axes. • Sometimes, buildings filled with Tutsi were set on fire, destroying all the people inside. Sites like this one litter the Rwandan countryside after the genocide. This is just one of the places where the Rwandan military murdered hundreds of Tutsi and left them to rot. • By early may, the large scale massacres were finished, and now the genocide moved into its next stage. • Militia members had to search out all surviving Tutsi and put them to death. • All grown Hutu men were expected to help on nightly patrols and man the roadblocks. • These nightly patrols went out “looking for perpetrators” but in all actuality they searched out surviving Tutsi and killed them. Roadblocks like this one were manned by Hutu militia and civilians. People wishing to pass through the roadblock had to present the card that said which race they were, and if they were Tutsi, he or she was killed on the spot. If they were without a card, they were assumed to be Tutsi and killed on the spot. If a person had the inherent traits of a Tutsi or resembled a Tutsi they were killed on the spot. • Although many in the Rwandan Government considered the genocide a success, it was actually the its own downfall. • The genocide drained resources and directed attention away from the RPF onslaught. • The RPF took over much of eastern Rwanda on its march thru the country. They liberated Tutsi and by July 4th, had captured most of Rwanda’s major cities including the capital. Despite the good things the RPF did, they also perform mass civilian murders of many Hutu that they captured. • The UN finally decided to get a force together on May 17th to aid Rwanda, after previously refusing to intervene, but by the time they were ready to go, the genocide was already stopped. All of these were common sites for an everyday Rwandan during this genocide. Burned and murdered, the dead were left to rot out in the open. Top right is a picture of a survivor who suffered numerous machete attacks. After the mass destruction of the Rwandan people, militia men and the military simply check to make sure no one is still alive and then leave the bodies to rot. All these people were most likely cut down with machine guns and machetes. • The RPF became the new national army and set about taking control of the rest of Rwanda using mainly brute force. • Hundreds of people suspected of involvement with the genocidal plan were murdered and thousands more were arrested. • The RPF destroyed many refugee camps that held Hutu civilians who fled before the march of the RPF across Rwanda earlier in the year. Thousands of civilians were murdered.
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