Genocide and Rwanda
I. Mass Killing: intentional killing of a significant number of members of any group of
non-combatants (political, ethnics, etc.); Many cases of mass killings in the 20h
century, but not as much cases of genocide
A. Genocide: a more narrow category of mass killing, construct post- Holocaust
*1944 Genocide: a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the
destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups with the aim of
annihilating the group itself
B. Genocide Convention 1948:
o About the punishment and prevention of genocide –recognized as the
supreme crime against humanity
o Definition coined during the Genocide Convention (now used by the ICC,
Genocide Tribunal for Rwanda etc.): any following acts committed with
an intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial, or religious
group: killing and creating serious bodily harm, deliberately inflicting
calculated conditions to bring upon their destruction, imposing measure to
prevent birth within the group
o A physical & mental aspect to genocide (intent)
o Usually the state (due to the mass scope of the crime that requires
organization) –though not defined in the convention by whose act
o Some wanted to include political but wasn’t due to Stalin; too many govt.
would be subjected to genocide thenleaving out political aspect became a
Ex) 1988 Iraq mass killing of Kurds –did they intend to kill the Kurds as
such or were they only trying to eliminate a political problem (genocide or
Ex) Cambodia: Khmer Rouge considered political killing not ethnically
driven when in reality, it was
II. How to study genocide and mass killing
A. Levels of Analysis
o How are individuals convinced to participate in genocide?
o Why do political leaders resort to genocide and ethnic cleansing?
o What is it that makes some leaders do that and some not?
o What domestic factors explain the occurrence of genocide in a particular
o Are certain types of states more/less likely to commit genocide?
o What kinds of justice and reconciliation techniques would help a state
deal with its genocidal past?
3. Systemic -lend itself better with a focus on intervention rather than genocide
o Is there an international norm against genocide?
o What are the circumstances under which you would expect outsiders
o What are int’l obstacles in intervention actions to stop/ prevent
B. Theoretical lenses –explaining international response to genocide
1. Realism/Neorealism Genocide and Rwanda
o Is it in the states interest? If not, neorealist don’t expect humanitarian
o Is humanitarian intervention more or less likely under different types
2. Neoliberal institutionalism: focus on int’l institutions that help coordinate
action; do these institutions exist? How strong are they?
o Why have states intervened when its not in their direct national interests?
o Are there international norms with genocide? Are they strong or weak?
o Where are our morals going?
III. Rwandan Genocide
A. History of Tutsi/Hutu relations
o 15% Tutsi, 84% Hutu & Burundi (neighbor) has a similar ethnic makeup
o Pre-colonial area: Hutu & Tutsi weren’t divided much (linguistically,
religiously, some amount of inter-marriage) & some inequality (Ex. Tutsi
were herdsmen and therefore better off)
o Post WWI: Based on race theory of the time, Belgium thought Tutsi were
more civilized, divided Rwanda along ethnic lines, and put the Tutsi in
positions of power over Hutu majority (hierarchy of Belgian-Tutsi-Hutu);
Began issuing ethnic identity cards which was required for identification
Hutus deemed Tutsis as devious, foreign, horrible perceptions
o Post WWII: Hutu had enough, began calling for majority ruling; 1957 Hutu
Manifesto: argued that Tutsi were foreign invaders & Rwanda was a nation
of Hutus from this point, on and off violence between the two in Rwanda
B. Lead up to genocide
o 1959- Revolution that kicked the Tutsi out of power and Hutu in power
(*important moment= Tutsi seen as the embodiment of counter-revolution –
like Jew as the enemy of German development during Holocaust; another
similarity: Minority group is blocked from political power but does better
economically which feeds the cycle of animosity)
o With the revolution, 70,000 Tutsi left to Congo and Uganda =59ers
o 1963- (worst case) 59ers charged into Rwanda through Burundi and came
very close to the capital; 5,000 Rwandan Tutsi were killed in revenge
o 1972- Tutsi killed up to quarter of million Hutus (internationally un-
notified); confirmed adversarial relations (viewed each other as the enemy)
o Early 1990s
1. An explosion of democratic movements
2. With the end of the Cold War, stopped interest and aid in Africa –no
3. Economic problems: coffee prices of its only export were down
4. Sons of 59ers formed Rwandan Patriotic Front and decided to invade
Rwanda with idea of liberating country from Habyarimana and
reuniting Hutus/Tutsis demanded democracy, refugee right of return
o Habyarimana Regime’s responses: some refor