Rwanda Examining Genocide in Africa in the 1990’s

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What is Genocide?. The word has a specific meaning. Genocide is. Acts committed. With the intent. To destroy (in whole or in part). A group of people. Based on a specific characteristic of that group, such as. ID: 715811 Download Presentation

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Rwanda Examining Genocide in Africa in the 1990’s

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Examining Genocide in Africa in the 1990’s


What is Genocide?

The word has a specific meaning

Genocide is

Acts committed

With the intent

To destroy (in whole or in part)

A group of people

Based on a specific characteristic of that group, such as




Or any other

characteristic specific to that group


The Most Famous Genocide

Is of course, the Holocaust

Officials of Nazi Germany worked on a systematic campaign to rid their territory of Jews and others they found “undesirable”


But There Have Been Others

Armenia, following WWI

Cambodia in the 1970’s*

Bosnia in the 1990’s*

Sudan in the early 2000’s

*We will look at these



Our Focus Today

Will be on the African nation of Rwanda

In 1994, this small African nation saw over one million of its citizens slaughtered in under 100 days

That’s roughly twice the population of Milwaukee


It Begins with Imperialism

We’ve discussed how Europeans had a “Scramble for Africa,” which made many African areas colonies of Europe

After World War I, Rwanda changed from a German colony to a Belgian one


The Germans in Rwanda

Had been fairly well-liked

They had also appreciated the African people who lived there

They admired how unified the people of Rwanda were


The Belgians in Rwanda

Felt threatened by the Africans when they took over the territory

Worried that Africans would fight them, the Belgians began to divide the Africans and pit them against each other


Hutus, Tutsis, and Twa

The Belgians divided the Africans into these three groups or tribes

They engaged in racial classification

The Tutsis were considered to be the best, because they were the most “white”


The Tutsis Do Quite Well

Under the Belgians, the Tutsis are the only Rwandans who are allowed to go to school, own land, or get jobs within the government

The Hutus and


were denied all of these things


As You Might Expect

This leads to considerable discontent among the Hutus

The Tutsis make up about 14-15% of the Africans in Rwanda

The Hutus make up about 80-85%


In 1959

Things got so bad that violence occurred

The Hutus overthrew Tutsi rule and proclaimed an independent republic

The first Hutu President, Greg


Kayabanda, was elected


Rather Than Simply Fix Things

The Hutus sought revenge

They began the same program of racial classification that the Tutsis had used, only now they used it to keep their control


More Time Passes

Rwanda elects new Presidents, but the tensions between Hutus and Tutsis continue to exist

However, one President seems to be ready to push for peace: Juvenal


(president from ‘73-’94)


Others in Government

Don’t like the idea that President


seems to be willing to sign a peace treaty with the Tutsis

Hutu extremists in the government begin preparations for violence

Creating citizen militias

Giving guns to Hutu civilians

Providing training for ordinary citizens in how to use weaponry


Then, on April 6, 1994

Violence will begin again

It starts when President


plane is shot down

While never proven, it is believed members of his own government ordered the plane shot down in order to get the President out of the way


With No President Seeking Peace. . .

Violence rules

Between 900,000-1 Million people are killed in under 100 days

While the government had provided some weapons to citizens, most of the Hutus engaged in violence didn’t have guns

The majority of the million who died were beaten to death or killed with everyday objects like garden tools, kitchen knives, and machetes

The United Nations estimates that in the same time period, over a quarter-million Tutsi women were raped


The Tutsis in Rwanda

Tried to rally

They banded together to form military units to fight back against the Hutu

This led to a civil war between the two groups, which only escalated the bloodshed


The International Response

Was not helpful

Leading up to April, the United Nations had received reports that the Hutus were planning a genocide, but they largely disbelieved or ignored it


Some Peacekeeping Forces Were Sent

There were UN Peacekeeping Forces in Rwanda

As the fighting escalated, however, the Belgian and U.S. Governments urged them to be removed for their own safety, and they were pulled out of Rwanda by UN Command


Flashback: Following WWII

The United Nations had moved to make certain that no genocide like the Holocaust would be permitted again: “

Never Again”

The nations of the UN had signed an agreement making member nations legally obligated to step in and stop the violence, if the UN found that genocide was occurring


Rather Than Step In

The UN refused to acknowledge Rwanda as a genocide, instead referring to it as a civil war

Under this classification, the United Nations refused to intervene in Rwanda


The Genocide in Rwanda Stopped

Only because the Tutsis military forces began to win battles over the loosely-organized Hutu militia groups

Known as the Rwandan Patriotic Front, they established a new government made up of several groups, both Hutu




But There Were Problems

Thousands of Rwandans had lost their lands and their homes

Many were scattered throughout the nation and throughout Africa, because they had fled from the violence


In Addition

Tens of thousands of children had become orphans because their parents had been killed

HIV/AIDS had spread dramatically due to the amount of forced rapes

Many of those who lived were missing limbs or hands, etc., and so could not work


The Search for Justice

Thousands were jailed in the aftermath of the genocide

There were so many arrested that some of them are still awaiting a trial today


The United Nations

Has established a second court in neighboring Tanzania to deal with the backlog of cases

Slowly, those who were involved in the genocide are being brought to justice


Rwanda Today

Has rebounded fairly well

Its economy is growing, and the nation seems to be doing well in terms of getting along

While still healing, the nation is now considered one of Africa’s more promising countries


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