View Larger Image From April to Julymembers of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many aspeople, mostly of the Tutsi minority. Begun by extreme Hutu nationalists in the capital of Kigali, the genocide spread throughout the country with staggering speed and brutality, as ordinary citizens were incited by local officials and the Hutu Power government to take up arms against their neighbors. By the time the Tutsi-led Rwandese Patriotic Front gained control of the country through a military offensive in early July, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were dead and many more displaced from their homes. The RPF victory created 2 million more refugees mainly Hutus from Rwanda, exacerbating what had already become a full-blown humanitarian crisis.
Join our e-mail list Rwanda: Prior to the colonial era, Tutsis generally occupied the higher strata in the social system and the Hutus the lower. However, social mobility was possible, a Hutu who acquired a large number of cattle or other wealth could be assimilated into the Tutsi group and impoverished Tutsi would be regarded as Hutu.
A clan system also functioned, with the Tutsi clan known as the Nyinginya being the most powerful. Throughout the s, the Nyingiya expanded their influence by conquest and by offering protection in return for tribute.
Ethnic Conflict Begins The former colonial power, Germany, lost possession of Rwanda during the First World War and the territory was then placed under Belgian administration.
The Hutu political movement, which stood to gain from majority rule, was gaining momentum while segments of the Tutsi establishment resisted democratization and the loss of their acquired privileges.
In Novembera violent incident sparked a Hutu uprising in which hundreds of Tutsi were killed and thousands displaced and forced to flee to neighboring countries. Bywhen Rwanda gained independence,people, primarily Tutsis, had taken refuge in neighboring states to escape the violence which had accompanied the gradual coming into power of the Hutu community.
A new cycle of ethnic conflict and violence continued after independence. Tutsi refugees in Tanzania and Zaire seeking to regain their former positions in Rwanda began organizing and staging attacks on Hutu targets and the Hutu government. Ten such attacks occurred between andeach leading to retaliatory killings of large numbers of Tutsi civilians in Rwanda and creating new waves of refugees.
By the end of the s someRwandans had become refugees, primarily in Burundi, Uganda, Zaire and Tanzania. They continued to call for the fulfillment of their international legal right to return to Rwanda, however, Juvenal Habyarimana, then president of Rwanda, took the position that population pressures were already too great, and economic opportunities too few to accommodate large numbers of Tutsi refugees.
The Civil War Inthe Rwandan Patriotic Front RPF was founded in Kampala, Uganda as a political and military movement with the stated aims of securing repatriation of Rwandans in exile and reforming of the Rwandan government, including political power sharing.
While the ranks of the RPF did include some Hutus, the majority, particularly those in leadership positions, were Tutsi refugees.
Because of the RPF attacks which displaced thousands and a policy of deliberately targeted propaganda by the government, all Tutsis inside the country were labeled accomplices of the RPF and Hutu members of the opposition parties were labeled as traitors.
Media, particularly radio, continued to spread unfounded rumours, which exacerbated ethnic problems.
In Augustthrough the peacemaking efforts of the Organisation of African Unity OAU and the governments in the region, the signing of the Arusha peace agreements appeared to have brought an end to the conflict between the then Hutu dominated government and the opposition Rwandan Patriotic Front RPF.
From the outset, however, the will to achieve and sustain peace was subverted by some of the Rwandan political parties participating in the Agreement.
With the ensuing delays in its implementation, violations of human rights became more widespread and the security situation deteriorated. Later, evidence demonstrated irrefutably that extremist elements of the Hutu majority while talking peace were in fact planning a campaign to exterminate Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The Genocide On 6 Aprilthe deaths of the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in a plane crash caused by a rocket attack, ignited several weeks of intense and systematic massacres.
The killings - more thanpeople are estimated to have perished - shocked the international community and were clearly acts of genocide. An estimatedtowomen were also raped. Members of the presidential guard started killing Tutsi civilians in a section of Kigali near the airport.
Less than half an hour after the plane crash, roadblocks manned by Hutu militiamen often assisted by gendarmerie paramilitary police or military personnel were set up to identify Tutsis. Later that day the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers assigned to protect her were brutally murdered by Rwandan government soldiers in an attack on her home.
Other moderate Hutu leaders were similarly assassinated. After the massacre of its troops, Belgium withdrew the rest of its force. If the absence of a resolute commitment to reconciliation by some of the Rwandan parties was one problem, the tragedy was compounded by the faltering response of the international community.
On June 22, the Security Council authorized French-led forces to mount a humanitarian mission. The mission, called Operation Turquoise, saved hundreds of civilians in South West Rwanda, but is also said to have allowed soldiers, officials and militiamen involved in the genocide to flee Rwanda through the areas under their control.
In other areas, killings continued until 4 July when the RPF took military control of the entire territory of Rwanda. The Aftermath of the Genocide Government officials, soldiers and militia who had participated in the genocide fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo DRCthen known as Zaire, taking with them 1.
Thousands died of water-borne diseases. The camps were also used by former Rwandan government soldiers to re-arm and stage invasions into Rwanda.
The attacks were one of the factors leading to the war between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo that took place in Former Rwandan forces continue to operate in the DRC alongside Congolese militia and other armed groups. They continue to target civilian populations and cause deaths, injury and harm.
The Rwandan government began the long-awaited genocide trials at the end of The delay was due to the fact that the country had lost most of its judicial personnel, not to mention the destruction to courts, jails and other infrastructure.
Bythere were overgenocide suspects awaiting trial. Communities elected judges to hear the trials of genocide suspects accused of all crimes except planning of genocide or rape. The defendants in Gacaca courts have been released provisionally awaiting trial.The bloody history of Hutu and Tutsi conflict stained the 20th century, from the slaughter of 80, to , Hutus by the Tutsi army in Burundi in , to the Rwanda genocide.
In just days during which Hutu militias targeted Tutsis, between , and 1 million people were killed. The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda during the Rwandan Civil War, which had started in It was directed by members of the Hutu majority government during the day period from 7 April to mid-July The Rwandan genocide is one of the heaviest moments in human history.
An airplane crash in carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi provided a spark for an organized campaign of violence against the Tutsi and moderate Hutu civilians across the country. Approximately , Tutsis and Hutu. Rwanda’s colonial period, during which the ruling Belgians favored the minority Tutsis over the Hutus, exacerbated the tendency of the few to oppress the many, creating a legacy of tension that exploded into violence even before Rwanda gained its independence.
The growing cultural tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsis, worsened by the impositions of colonial rule, effectively set the stage for the genocide that would take place in In Rwanda there are two ethic groups: the Hutu, which makes up the majority of the population, and the Tutsi, the minority.
Tensions between these two groups have been going on for years, so was not surprising that their conflicts would eventually escalate drastically.