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Jan 10 Genocide and Justice (Rwanda) Lecture and Readings

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Political Science
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POL101Y1
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Joseph Wong

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Kuperman, Rwanda in Retrospect
January 10/2011
A Hard Look at Intervention
The US is still searching for a comprehensive policy to address deadly communal
conflicts
Two basic principles have achieved some consensus
o First, US ground troops generally should not be used in humanitarian
interventions during ongoing civil wars
o Second, an exception should be made for cases of genocide, especially where
intervention can succeed at low cost.
Rwanda, finds insupportable the oft-repeated claim that 5,000 troops deployed at the
outset of the killing in April 1994 could have prevented the genocide
The hard truth is that even a large force deployed immediately upon reports of
attempted genocide would not have been able to save even half the ultimate victims
Prelude to Genocide
Rwandan politics were traditionally dominated by the Tutsi, a group that once made up
17% of the population
o Rest of the population was Hutu
o All groups lived intermingled throughout the country
During the transition to independence starting in 1959, however, the Hutu seized
control in a violent struggle that spurred exodus of about half the Tutsi population to
neighboring states
First decade of independence Tutsi refugees invaded Rwanda repeatedly seeking a
return to power
o Hutu responded by massacring domestic Tutsi
Stability began to unravel in October 1990, when an expatriate rebel force composed
mainly of Uganda-based Tutsi refugees, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), invaded
northern Rwanda
Military advance, combined with diplomatic pressure from the international
community, compelled Habyarimana to agree to share power in the Arusha accords of
August 1993
Rwandan leader obstructed and tried to modify the power-sharing provisions
The extremist wing of Hutu party viewed the accords as abject surrender to the Tutsi,
who they feared would seize the spoils of rule and seek retribution
o Trained militias, broadcasted anti-Tutsi hate radio, and plotted to kill moderate
Hutu leaders and Tutsi civilians
On April 6, 1994 Habyarimana plane was mysteriously shot down The genocide
plan was put in motion
Violence began on the following day
o Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines urged the Hutu to take vengeance
against the Tutsi for their alleged murder of the president Hutu began to
attack the homes of neighboring Tutsi, attempting to rob, rape, and murder
them, and often setting fire to their homes
Tutsi fled their homes and sought refuge in central gathering places churches, schools,
hospitals, athletic fields, stadiums, and other accessible spaces.
Most of the Tutsis had congregated at such centralized sites throughout the country, in
groups ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands
The assembled Tutsi gained a defensive advantage could often fend off attacks by
throwing rocks
Tutsi living condition were deteriorating and supplies were dwindling but most Hutu
were unwilling to risk casualties by attacking
o This changed when the members of the regular army, the reserves, the
Presidential Guard (PG), or the national police arrived with armed riffles only
a few lucky Tutsi arrived
Most remarkable aspect of the genocide was its speed all sites and gatherings were
attacked within 14 days
o 250,000 people died in just 2 weeks
Two factors constrained the speed and extent of the killing in Rwanda
o First, Hutu extremists avoided large-scale massacres when international
observers were present as part of a comprehensive strategy to hide the
genocide from both the outside world and Rwanda’s remaining Tutsi until it
could be completed. Wherever, Tutsi were congregated under the watch of
outside observers, the extremists favored an alternate strategy of slow, stealthy
annihilation
o Second, the killing varied among Rwanda’s ten original prefectures
The nature of killing in the capital, Kigali, also differed significantly from
that in the rest of the country. During the first two days, a highly
organized and thorough assassination campaign was carried out there
against opposition politicians
Unlike other prefectures, Kigali’s initial victims of Hutu
extremism were fellow Hutus
Civil War also erupted in Kigali an RPA battalion that had been
stationed under the Arusha accords demanded a halt to atrocities
against civilians and then clashed with government forces when its
demand was ignored Capital descended into chaos
Tutsi had a decent chance of gaining some refuge by reaching a central gathering site
where foreigners stood guard Hutus generally avoided wholesale massacres before
such witnesses in hope of averting foreign military intervention
By late April almost all massacres were finished est. 500,000 people were killed
The Knowledge Gap
US government actually received most of its information from nongovernmental
organizations
President Clinton could not have known that a nationwide genocide under way in
Rwanda until about April 20
Conclusion is based on 5 aspects of the reporting during the first two weeks.
o First, violence was initially depicted in the context of a two sided civil war one
that the Tutsi were winning rather that a one sided genocide against the Tutsi
o Second, violence was reported to be waning when it actually was accelerating
NY Times reported that fighting had diminished in intensity and that a strange
calm reigns in downtown Kigali
o Third, most early death counts were gross underestimates and never suggested
genocidal proportions true scope of killing emerged only on April 20, when
Human Rights Watch estimated that as many as 100,000 people have died to
date.
o Fourth, no credible and knowledgeable observers, including human rights
groups, raised the prospect that genocide was occurring until the end of the
second week rebels did not use this term until April 17
The Military Scene
At the time of Habyarimana’s death, Rwanda hosted three military forces those of the
government, the rebels, and the United Nation
On the first day of violence, the PG executed ten Belgian peacekeepers who were
attempting to protect Rwanda’s opposition prime minister
o Kigali prompted Western governments to evacuate their nationals European
troops began arriving on April 9 and evacuated several thousand Westerners
before departing on April 13
In just three months, the rebels captured most of the country
As reports of genocide reached the outside world starting late in April, public outcry
spurred the UN to reauthorize a beefed up “UNAMIR II”
o The UN was unable to obtain any substantial contributions of troops and
equipment as a result, on June 22 the Security Council authorized France to
lead its own intervention, Operation Turquoise, by which time the Tutsi were
already long dead
Potential US Interventions
Three levels of potential US military intervention warrant analysis: maximum,
moderate, and minimal
o None would have entailed full blown nationwide policing or long term nation
building by America troops full blown policing would have required 80,000 to
160,000 an amount far more than logistically or politically feasible
Maximum intervention would have used all feasible force to halt large-scale killing and
military conflict throughout Rwanda.
Moderate intervention would have sought to halt some large-scale killing without
deploying troops to areas of ongoing civil war, in order to reduce US casualties.
Minimal intervention would have relied on air power alone.
Maximum Intervention
o Would have focused on three primary goals: halting armed combat and
interposing itself between FAR and RPF forces on two stationary fronts of the
civil war; establishing order in the capital; and finally fanning out to halt large-
scale genocidal killing in the countryside but transporting such a force to a
landlocked country with limited airfields would have been considerably slower
As a result the taskforce would have required 33 days to airlift.
Some observers have suggested that the genocide would have ceased spontaneously
throughout Rwanda upon the arrival of Western enforcement troops in Kigali or
possibly even earlier, upon mere announcement of deployment
o They claim that the extremists would have halted killing in hopes of avoiding
punishment but the Hutu were already guilty of genocide and could not have
imagined that stopping midway would gain them absolution. More likely, the
announcement of Western intervention would have accelerated the killing as
extremists tried to finish the job and eliminate witnesses while they had a
chance

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Description
Kuperman Rwanda in Retrospect January 102011A Hard Look at InterventionThe US is still searching for a comprehensive policy to address deadly communal conflictsTwo basic principles have achieved some consensus o First US ground troops generally should not be used in humanitarian interventions during ongoing civil wars o Second an exception should be made for cases of genocide especially where intervention can succeed at low costRwanda finds insupportable the oftrepeated claim that 5000 troops deployed at the outset of the killing in April 1994 could have prevented the genocideThe hard truth is that even a large force deployed immediately upon reports of attempted genocide would not have been able to save even half the ultimate victimsPrelude to GenocideRwandan politics were traditionally dominated by the Tutsi a group that once made up 17 of the population o Rest of the population was Hutu o All groups lived intermingled throughout the countryDuring the transition to independence starting in 1959 however the Hutu seized control in a violent struggle that spurred exodus of about half the Tutsi population to neighboring statesFirst decade of independenceTutsi refugees invaded Rwanda repeatedly seeking a return to power o Hutu responded by massacring domestic TutsiStability began to unravel in October 1990 when an expatriate rebel force composed mainly of Ugandabased Tutsi refugees the Rwandan Patriotic Army RPA invaded northern RwandaMilitary advance combined with diplomatic pressure from the international community compelled Habyarimana to agree to share power in the Arusha accords of August 1993Rwandan leader obstructed and tried to modify the powersharing provisions The extremist wing of Hutu party viewed the accords as abject surrender to the Tutsi who they feared would seize the spoils of rule and seek retribution o Trained militias broadcasted antiTutsi hate radio and plotted to kill moderate Hutu leaders and Tutsi civiliansOn April 6 1994Habyarimana plane was mysteriously shot downThe genocide plan was put in motionViolence began on the following day o RadioTelevision Libre des Mille Collinesurged the Hutu to take vengeance against the Tutsi for their alleged murder of the presidentHutu began to attack the homes of neighboring Tutsi attempting to rob rape and murder them and often setting fire to their homesTutsi fled their homes and sought refuge in central gathering placeschurches schools hospitals athletic fields stadiums and other accessible spacesMost of the Tutsis had congregated at such centralized sites throughout the country in groups ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands
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