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 fixated on the ongoing civil war rather than discussing the genocide, which would have required them to act under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948, article 5)1. Finally, it will be shown that this international letdown had dreadful consequences for the United Nations Assistance Mission For Rwanda (UNAMIR), which, with neither adequate resources nor mandate, became an eyewitness to the extermination.
The article focuses on the course of the events in the civil war in Rwanda, parallel with the decisions made by the honourable diplomats in the forum for international community, the UN.
In 1990, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda from their exile in Uganda, setting off a civil war with the Hutu-dominated Government of Rwanda. The international community did not pay a lot of attention to the systematic discrimination and violation of human rights in the country, since the government was generally quite stable. Three years later, this conflict was seen as a good opportunity for international community (the UN) to reestablish its reputation after a failed intervention in Somalia. They believed that the conflict will be solved successfully, since
References: Barnett, Michael N. 1997. The UN Security Council, Indifference, and Genocide in Rwanda. Cultural Anthropology 12 (4): 551–78. Dostopno prek: http://home.gwu.edu/~barnett/articles/1997_indifference_ca.pdf (9. december 2013). Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. 1948. Sprejeta in razglašena z resolucijo 260 (III) A Generalne skupščine Združenih narodov, 9. decembra. Dostopno prek: http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html (9. december 2013). Des Forges, Alison. 1999. Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda. New York: Human Rights Watch. Dostopno prek: http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1999/rwanda/ (9. december 2013). Goose, Stephen D. in Frank Smyth. 1994. Arming Genocide in Rwanda. Foreign Affairs 73 (5). Dostopno prek: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/50333/stephen-d-goose-and-frank-smyth/arming-genocide-in-rwanda-the-high-cost-of-small-arms-transfers (9. december 2013). Putterbaugh, Samantha. 2010. Abandoning Rwanda: The International Community’s Failure to Preventand Stop Genocide. ITT Technical Institute. Research paper. 7 DEBATE PREVIEW I will focus our debate on four discussable questions – each one of them related to the international response to the Rwandan genocide. Firstly, in my seminar I presented the role of France as a Rwandan government 's number-one supplier of weapons. Does this fact alone make France more culpable for the genocide than the rest of the international community? How should responsibility be allocated for what happened, both inside and outside Rwanda? How has the international community, in particular Belgium, France, the United States, and the UN, faced up to the question of responsibility and blame in the years since the genocide? Secondly, the UN authorized the troops as the "peace-keepers," not "peace-makers." By UN mandate, UN troops were permitted to use their weapons only in self-defense. If the generals had disobeyed orders and authorized their troops to fire on fighters who were killing masses in front of their eyes, would they have done the right thing? Next, I mentioned that various factors contributed to the inactivity of the international community, such as the disastrous U.S. humanitarian intervention in Somalia in 1993, less than a year before, which ended with the U.S. helicopter shot down and the bodies of U.S. soldiers dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Does this justify the U.S. and the UN 's refusal to intervene? Can we risk our own citizen 's lives in order to save foreign and can we risk the reputation of an intergovernmental institution, which possibly could never be restored again in order to help – even if that means that some major countries may not want to cooperate at all in the future? Finally, I will also encourage a debate over possible solutions for halting genocide and violation of human rights – when and how should the governments act, who should contribute the resources etc. 8 APPENDICES