* Rwanda officially known as the Republic of Rwanda is a sovereign state in central and east Africa. * The term ‘genocide’ did not exist before 1994. It is a very specific term referring to violent crimes committed against members of a national, ethical, racial or religious group with the intention of destroying the existence of the group. Geno- comes from the Greek word for race or tribe and –cide comes from the Latin word for killing. Genocide came into general use only after World War II when the extent of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime against the Jews of Europe during that conflict became known. An international treaty signed by some 120 countries in 1998 established the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has jurisdiction to prosecute crimes of genocide.
In 1994, Rwanda’s population of seven million people was composed of three ethnic groups: 1. Hutu (approximately 85%)
2. Tutsi (approx. 14%)
3. Twa (approx. 1%)
Who Are the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa?
The Hutu and Tutsi are two peoples who share a common past. When Rwanda was first settled, the people who lived there raised cattle. Soon, the people who owned the most cattle were called "Tutsi" and everyone else was called "Hutu." At this time, a person could easily change categories through marriage or cattle acquisition. Twa are a very small group of hunter-gatherers who also live in Rwanda. Generally, the Hutu-Tutsi strife stems from class warfare, with the Tutsis perceived to have greater wealth and social status (as well as favoring cattle ranching over what is seen as the lower-class farming of the Hutus). The Tutsis are thought to have originally come from Ethiopia, and the Hutu from Chad. Hutu-Tutsi Conflict
It wasn't until Europeans came to colonize the area that the terms "Tutsi" and "Hutu" took on a racial role. The Germans were the first to colonize Rwanda in 1894. They looked at the Rwandan people and thought the Tutsi had more European...