Genocide in Rwanda: international response Essay

3456 Words Dec 30th, 2013 14 Pages

In the course of a hundred days in 1994, over 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed in the Rwandan genocide. It was the fastest, most efficient killing spree of the twentieth century. My thesis is that the international community utterly failed to prevent and stop this atrocity. I will focus on numerous interconnected aspects that led to international inaction and also on the main actors, Belgium, the United Nations Secretariat, the United States and France, that knew that there was genocide underway in Rwanda - therefore, they had a responsibility to prevent and stop the genocide, but lacked political will. This led to inaction at the level of the Security Council (SC), where member states
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On April 6 1994, Rwandan President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down and he was killed. Almost immediately, there was a nationwide call to arms from Hutu Power to begin the slaughter of Rwandan Tutsi. Spread over the propaganda radio station, the message was clear: it was time for the Tutsi in Rwanda to be wiped out. As a consequence of either lack of information or lack of political will to intervene, the policymakers described the conflict as “tribal killings”, “tribal resentments”, rather than genocide. There was also an inadequate understanding of the conflict. Foreign observers treated the genocide as a collateral damage of war, rather than an ethnic cleanse, which should be attacked directly. Diplomats addressed the problem in the usual way, by promoting dialogue between both sides and tried to maintain the posture of neutrality. If foreign troops have been sent, this would have signalled that the interim government was illegitimate in the eyes of the international community.
In the mid-April, after two weeks of killings, the SC (mostly on the initiative of Belgium, the US and the UK) withdrew most of the UN troops from UNAMIR – from 2500 to only 270 soldiers. Discussion about the new peacekeeping force continued until mid-May, mostly because of the slowness of bureaucracies, since participating nations tried to get more from the situation and give the least possible. “What was extraordinary was that such behaviour continued to be acceptable in the

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