THE RWANDA GENOCIDE: EYE WITNESSES TO A HUMAN CATASTROPHE
THE RWANDAN GENOCIDE:EYE WITNESSES TO A HUMAN CATASTROPHEBenjamin Nzioka, B.A.Mentor: Gregory Havrilak, Ph.D.ABSTRACTOn April 6, 1994, the jet carrying the Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, was shot down as it approached Kigali airport--killing all aboard. The systematic slaughter of Rwanda's Tutsi minority by Hutu extremist hardliners began almost immediately. By killing ten UN peacekeepers, the hardliners who seemed to have done their homework well, knew the UN would abandon the peacekeeping mission and withdraw from Rwanda --and they were correct.For the next one hundred days using machetes and other low-tech weapons, the Hutus massacred almost one million Tutsis in a deliberate campaign to annihilate them. The systematic state-led effort to violently eliminate the Tutsi population unequivocally meets the definition of genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. If signatories of the Genocide Convention are obligated to prevent and punish the crime of genocide, why did the international community become bystanders to this horror? How could the screams of one million people be ignored?This thesis will analyze the response of both the United Nations and the UnitedStates to the Rwandan genocide. Why did the UN which already had peacekeepers on the ground, abandon Rwanda? Why did the US, the world's most powerful nation refuse to intervene? Could the Rwandan genocide have been prevented, or at least stopped? How could such a crime happen at the down of the twenty-first century when the world had said "never again," following the horrors of the Holocaust?To answer these questions, the first chapter will look at the key players in Rwanda's politics, the Hutu and Tutsi, and the events leading to the slaughter. Chapter two focuses on Rwanda's intertwined and complex history between the Hutu, Tutsi and, and the impact of colonial rule--by both German and Belgium. Chapter three examines why the US and UN became eye witnesses to a genocide and failed to intervene. Chapter four examines early ignored warnings of the disaster and the chances of a successful prevention. Chapter five seeks to draw lessons from the events in Rwanda that can help policymakers prevent future genocides.
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