In the spring of 1994, more than three-quarters of a million Rwandans were massacred by their own government. A breakdown in state authority and a foundering peace process had resulted in the extreme government of the country taking drastic measures, eliminating every person of rival ethnicity or those who sympathized with them. Knowing that after Somalia, the United States and the United Nations would not commit troops or money when a significant threat existed, they orchestrated an
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Tutsi exiles invaded Rwanda in October of that year and began to achieve both military and political victories against the ruling Hutu. Under the Arusha Accords of 1993, arbitrated by Tanzania, extreme Hutus agreed to share power with more moderate Hutus and Tutsis, and UN peacekeepers were also stationed in the country. The peace was short-lived; in 1993 the Hutu extremists rejected the conditions and killed several thousand Rwandans. The United Nations warned that an all-out genocide was increasingly possible.
Hintjens argues that the events of 1994 that subsequently occurred comprised a “last-ditch effort” by the ruling Hutus to hold on to their failing state, against a majority of moderates within the country and pressure from the United Nations. It is also significant that it was agents of the Rwandan state who performed the genocide, rather than an extremist political party not in power or a paramilitary group. Thus it was the dissolution of Rwandan state authority that precipitated the drastic measures by the ruling government.
The world had already taken notice of the Rwandan issue, and many international agencies had already decided that their involvement would be limited; in many cases, this was simply because they had become desensitized to regular killings in that part of the world.
The United Nations in particular, which had helped Tanzania broker the peace accords and pledged peacekeeping forces in the