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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rwanda yahimizwa kubadili sheria zake

Shirika la kutetea haki za kibinadam la Amnestry International, limetoa wito kwa serikali ya Rwanda kuchunguza upya sheria zake kuhusu mauaji ya kimbari au genocide, ambazo zinatumiwa kuwakandamizi wapinzani wa serikali.

Shirika hilo la linasema, maneno yanayotumiwa kwenye sheria hizo zinazopiga marufuku, utumizi wa fikra zinazowakumbusha watu mauaji ya kimbari na sera za ubaguzi, yameipa utawala wa nchi hiyo fursa ya kuyatumia vibaya, kuwakandamizi wanasiasa wa upinzani na kuzuia uhuru wa kuongea.

Sheria hizo zilibuniwa baada ya mauaji ya kimbari ya 1994. Serikali ya Rwanda imesema sheria hizo ni muhimu, ili kuhakikisha uthabiti. Hata hivyo Utawala wa nchi hiyo umeshutumiwa kwa kutumia sheria hizo kuwakandamiza wapinzani wake, kabla ya uchaguzi mkuu wa mwezi uliopita.

Rais Paul Kagame alishinda uchaguzi huo kwa idadi kubwa ya Kura.

History of Rwanda

Paul Kagame (born October 23, 1957) is the current President of the Republic of Rwanda. He rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), whose victory over the incumbent government in July 1994 effectively ended the Rwandan genocide. Under his leadership, Rwanda has been called Africa’s “biggest success story”[2] and Kagame has become a public advocate of new models for foreign aid designed to help recipients become self-reliant.[3] "There was a desire to correct what we thought was wrong," Kagame said on The Jazz Joy and Roy syndicated radio show in 2009, via a press feed supplied for a remote broadcast from Saddleback Church in California that featured Saddleback officials and parishioners.

However, involvement in the Congo Civil War and the recent and mysterious death of opposition deputy Andre Kagwa Rwisereka[4] has seen doubts raised over his Government's policies and motives, particularly regarding political freedom.[5] All major opposition to Kagame were disqualified from participation in the 2010 presidential elections and Kagame subsequently won with 93% of the vote.

Early life

Kagame was born to a Tutsi family in Ruhango, Rwanda in October 1957 to Deogratius and Asteria Rutagambwa.[8] In November 1959, an increasingly restive Hutu population sparked a revolt, eventually resulting in the overthrow of Mwami Kigeri V Ndahindurwa in 1961.[9] During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 150,000 people were killed in the fighting, with the Tutsis suffering the greatest losses. Several thousand moved to neighbouring countries including Burundi and Uganda.[9] In all, some 20,000 Tutsis were killed. In 1960 Kagame left with his family at the age of two[10] and moved to Uganda with many other Tutsis. In 1962 they settled in the Gahunge refugee camp, Toro, where Kagame spent the rest of his childhood years.[11] He attended Ntare Secondary School in Uganda.[12] During this time Kagame was a "motivated student" and bore an early fascination with revolutionaries like Che Guevara

Military service

His military career started in 1979, when he joined Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army (NRA) and spent years fighting as a guerrilla against the government of Milton Obote in what is commonly known in Uganda as the bush war.[8]

On July 27, 1985, Milton Obote was ousted in a military coup led by Tito Okello. In 1986 the NRA succeeded in overthrowing Okello and the NRA leader Yoweri Museveni became President of Uganda.
Paul Kagame and U.S. President George W. Bush in the White House.

This same year, Kagame was instrumental in forming, along with his close friend Fred Rwigema, the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), which was composed mainly of expatriate Rwandan Tutsi soldiers that had also fought with the NRA; the RPF was also based in Uganda.[14]

In 1986, Kagame became the head of military intelligence in the NRA, and was regarded as one of Museveni's closest allies.[14] He also joined the official Ugandan military.[14]

During 1990, Kagame went to Fort Leavenworth where the U.S. Army gave him military training. Broadening this connection, the U.S. and U.K. military provided further training and active logistical support to the RPF, which it used to take over power in Rwanda after 1994. After coming to power, Kagame arranged for the RPF to receive further counterinsurgency and combat training from U.S. Special Forces, which was put to use in the 1996-1997 Rwandan-backed military campaign to overthrow the government of neighboring Zaire.

Invasions, assassinations
Rwandan Genocide

In October 1990, while Kagame was undergoing military training in the U.S., the RPF invaded Rwanda in the struggle for the interests of Rwanda's Tutsi minority ethnic group. Only two days into the invasion, Rwigema was murdered, making Kagame the military commander of the RPF.[14] Despite initial successes, a force of French, Belgian, Rwandan, and Zairean soldiers forced the RPF to retreat. A renewed invasion was attempted in late 1991, but also had limited success.[citation needed]

The invasion increased ethnic tension throughout the region, including in neighbouring Burundi where similar tensions existed. Peace talks between the RPF and the Rwandan government resulted in the Arusha accords, including political participation of the RPF in Rwanda. Despite the agreement, ethnic tensions still flared dangerously.[citation needed]

On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying both the Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down by a surface-to-air missile as it approached Kigali airport. All on board were killed. The deaths immediately sparked the Rwandan Genocide and an estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed. Under the Arusha accords, the RPF had a small contingent of troops present in Kigali at the time. The outbreak of genocide ended what vestiges remained of the cease fire. The RPF, under the leadership of Kagame, proceeded to take control of the whole country. Kigali was captured July 4, 1994, bringing the downfall of the government of Jean Kambanda.

French indictment

Because three French citizens, crew members of the aircraft, died during the crash, an investigation was carried out by French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who controversially concluded that the shooting of the plane was ordered by Kagame. In November 2006 Judge Bruguière signed international indictments against nine of President Kagame's senior aides, and accused Kagame of ordering the assassination of the two African presidents. Kagame could not be indicted under French law, since as a head-of-state he had immunity from prosecution. The indictments have failed to produce any arrests, due to non-cooperation from the Rwandan government, which accused the judge of partiality. The Kagame government countered that the indictment was based upon declarations by fugitives and disgruntled former lower rank RPF members who testified that the RPF was the only organization with the type of missiles that were used in the assassination. It also pointed out that at the time of the shooting of the plane, the French military was in control of Kigali Airport;[17] although that point, and the possible attempt to imply that the French shot down the plane, is irrelevant as the plane was shot down on approach to the airport and not from the zone controlled by French forces. The former chief prosecutor for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Judge Richard Goldstone, argued in the interview that political motivations were at play in the indictment, though this did not negate the potential veracity of the accusations leveled by Judge Bruguière. Judge Goldstone stated that: "Well I don't think that case has been made at all. It's a very political judgement and I don't believe that it's borne out by the evidence. Certainly the witnesses who spoke to Bruguiere allege that those were statements made by President Kagame himself. Whether he did or not obviously is a matter in dispute, in hot dispute, but the political judgement it seems to me is another matter."[18]

The accusations against Kagame were corroborated by several witnesses including former intelligence RPF members, the most publicly known being Commando Lieutenant Abdul Ruzibiza.[19] Ruzibiza published a book (Rwanda: L'histoire secrete) and released testimony pertaining to Kagame and the RPF's involvement in the plane downing and massacres;[20][21] however, Ruzibiza subsequently retracted part of his testimony, especially as pertains to Kagame senior aide Rose Kabuye after she was arrested in Germany and extradited to France.[22] The Association des Avocats de la Defence released a statement backing Judge Bruguière's allegations.[23][24] Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan of mixed Hutu and Tutsi origin whose feat saving 1,268 civilians has been the basis of the Academy Award nominated film Hotel Rwanda (2004), has supported the allegation that Kagame and the RPF were behind the plane downing, and stated that:[25]

It defies logic why the UN Security Council has never mandated an investigation of this airplane missile attack to establish who was responsible, especially since everyone agrees it was the one incident that touched off the mass killings commonly referred to as the “Rwandan genocide of 1994”.

In a political countereffort, Kagame broke diplomatic relations with France in November 2006 and ordered the formation of a commission of loyal Rwandans that was officially "charged with assembling proof of the involvement of France in the genocide".[26] The political character of that investigation was further averred when the commission issued its report solely to Kagame in November 2007 and its head, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, stated that the commission would now "wait for President Kagame to declare whether the inquiry was valid."[26]

In a 2007 interview with the BBC, Mr Kagame said he would co-operate with an impartial inquiry. The BBC concluded that "Whether any judge would want to take on such a task is quite another matter."[18]

As of 2009, a report commissioned by the Rwandan government concluded the RPF and Kagame were not responsible for the crash of the president's plane

Spanish indictment

In February 2008, Fernando Andreu, a Spanish judge, indicted 40 current or former Rwandan military officers for several counts of genocide and human rights abuses during the Rwandan Genocide.

The judge issued international arrest warrants against the 40, including Gen. James Kabarebe, whom the judge believed to be the chief of staff of Rwanda's military; Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, Rwanda's ex-ambassador to India; and Lt. Col. Rugumya Gacinya, military attache at Rwanda's embassy in Washington.

Evidence was presented of crimes allegedly perpetrated by the RPA/RPF in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the period 1990-2000, primarily. This revealed that the RPA/RPF’s hierarchical chain of command headed by Kagame, is responsible for three major and closely interrelated blocks of crime:

1. crimes perpetrated against 9 Spanish victims - missionaries and aid workers- observers of the killings of Hutu inhabitants in both countries
2. crimes against Rwandans and Congolese, against various specific leaders, or systematically carried out as mass murders of civilians
3. crimes of war pillage- the systematic, large-scale plundering of natural resources, especially strategically valuable minerals

The Second Congo War

Kagame was part of the cabinet of President Pasteur Bizimungu, who came to power in the aftermath of the genocide. Kagame was made Vice President of Rwanda and Defense Minister. Bizimungu was also a member of the RPF, and as its military leader, Kagame was viewed as the power behind the throne, and eventually became President when Bizimungu was deposed in March 2000.[citation needed]

In 1998, Rwanda got heavily involved in the Second Congo War, supporting a well-armed rebel group in Congo, the Congolese Rally for Democracy. Together with Uganda, Rwandan forces invaded the mineral-rich north and east of Democratic Republic of Congo, citing Congolese anti-Tutsi policies and historical Rwandan heritage in the area. The government of Congo soon found itself supported by several other African nations, and mounted a counter attack, with limited success.

An April 2001 United Nations report alleged "mass scale looting" of Congolese mineral resources. The report claimed that senior members of the Rwandan government had made hundreds of millions of dollars from illegal mineral trading, and that:
“ Presidents Kagame and [Uganda's President] Museveni are on the verge of becoming the godfathers of the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the continuation of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ”

A June 2001 Amnesty International report implicated Rwandan and Rwandan-backed forces (amongst others) in the deliberate killing of thousands of Congolese civilians.

Although the Rwandan and Ugandan governments claim to have withdrawn their forces from Congo, there are consistent reports of ongoing Rwandan involvement in support of rebel fighters trying to protect local Tutsi minorities against remnants of the Interahamwe, the militia involved in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. However, in September 2007, the Rwanda government has strongly denied any involvement in the current Congo fighting.

Critics allege that the Rwandan occupation of the Eastern Congo has been motivated chiefly by a desire to exploit Congolese mineral resources. Paul Kagame has, in turn, claimed that these criticisms are based on Hutu-extremist propaganda, and that Rwanda's sole reason for occupying the Congo has been to defeat the remnants of the Hutu-extremist militia who fled there from Rwanda after the 1994 genocide.

A 2002 United Nations report elaborated on the allegations of illegal profiteering by Rwandan and Ugandan forces in Congo:[30]
“ The claims of Rwanda concerning its security have justified the continuing presence of its armed forces, whose real long-term purpose is, to use the term employed by the Congo Desk of the Rwandan Patriotic Army, to "secure property". Rwanda's leaders have succeeded in persuading the international community that their military presence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo protects the country against hostile groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who, they claim, are actively mounting an invasion against them.

The Panel has extensive evidence to the contrary. For example, the Panel is in possession of a letter, dated 26 May 2000, from Jean-Pierre Ondekane, First Vice-President and Chief of the Military High Command for [the Rwandan-backed rebel group] RCD-Goma, urging all army units to maintain good relations "with our Interahamwe and Mayi-Mayi brothers", and further, "if necessary to let them exploit the sub-soil for their survival"...

A 30-year-old Interahamwe combatant living in the area of Bukavu described the situation in a taped interview with a United Nations officer in early 2002:

We haven't fought much with the RPA in the last two years. We think they are tired of this war, like we are. In any case, they aren't here in the Congo to chase us, like they pretend. I have seen the gold and coltan mining they do here, we see how they rob the population. These are the reasons for their being here. The RPA come and shoot in the air and raid the villagers' houses but they don't attack us any more.

President Kagame

Paul Kagame became President of Rwanda in March 2000,[31] after Bizimungu was deposed. Three and a half years later, on August 25, 2003, he won a landslide victory in the first national elections since his government took power in 1994 winning 95.5% of the votes.[31]

Kagame is highly critical of the United Nations and its role in the 1994 genocide. In March 2004, his public criticism of France for its role in the genocide and its lack of preventative actions caused a diplomatic row.[32] In November 2006, Rwanda severed all diplomatic ties with France and ordered all its diplomatic staff out of Rwanda within 24 hours following Judge Bruguiere issuing warrants accusing nine high ranking Rwandans of plotting the downing of President Juvenal Habyarimana's airplane in 1994 and also accusing Kagame of ordering the plane shot down.[32]

As president, Kagame has also been critical of the West's lack of development aid in Africa. Kagame believes that Western countries keep African products out of the world marketplace. In contrast, he has praised China, saying in a 2009 interview that "the Chinese bring what Africa needs: investment and money for governments and companies."[33]

Paul Kagame has in presidential standing expressed positive views on private enterprise and free markets.

Human rights

Regarding human rights under the Kagame government, Human Rights Watch has accused Rwandan police of several instances of extrajudicial killings and deaths in custody.[35][36] In June 2006, the International Federation of Human Rights and Human Rights Watch described what they called "serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Rwanda Patriotic Army".[37]

According to The Economist, Kagame "allows less political space and press freedom at home than Robert Mugabe does in Zimbabwe", and "[a]nyone who poses the slightest political threat to the regime is dealt with ruthlessly".[38]

The United States' government in 2006 described the human rights record of the Kagame government as "mediocre", citing the "disappearances" of political dissidents, as well as arbitrary arrests and acts of violence, torture and murders committed by police. US authorities listed human rights problems including the existence of political prisoners and limited freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.[39]

Reporters Without Borders listed Rwanda in 147th place out of 169 for freedom of the press in 2007,[40] and reported that "Rwandan journalists suffer permanent hostility from their government and surveillance by the security services". It cited cases of journalists being threatened, harassed and arrested for criticising the government. According to Reporters Without Borders, "President Paul Kagame and his government have never accepted that the press should be guaranteed genuine freedom."

Honors and accolades

* Kagame was in March 2003 awarded the 2003 Global Leadership Award by the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO). He received the award in recognition of his "commitment and tireless work to address crises, to foster understanding, unity, and peace to benefit all people." YPO regard his role in reconciling the Tutsi and the Hutu differences in Rwanda and in developing a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a benchmark of great leadership, uncommon inspiration and remarkable achievement.

* In April 2005, Kagame was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor Laws by the University of the Pacific in the United States.
* In September 2005, Kagame was awarded the Andrew Young Medal for Capitalism and Social Progress by Georgia State University in the United States.
* In September 2005, Kagame was awarded the African National Achievement Award by the Africa America Institute in the USA.
* In April 2006, Kagame was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Oklahoma Christian University in the USA.
* In May 2006, Kagame was given the 2006 ICT Africa Award, an award that is designed to recognize and reward organizations and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in promoting the use of ICTs for the overall development of the African continent.
* In September 2006, Rwanda was listed as a Top-10 reformer on the Ease of doing business index by the World Bank.
* July 2007, Kagame won the Best Head Of State in Africa in Support of ICT Award. Kagame won the same award in May 2006, in an event that took place in Kigal
* In August 2007, Kagame was given the Hands Off Cain Award for his role in ending the death penalty in his country.
* In November 2007, Kagame was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor in Law by the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
* In December 2007, Kagame was given the African Gender Award in Dakar, Senegal for his role in promoting gender equality in Rwanda.
* March 2009, Kagame was awarded with “The Distinction of the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of Pioneers” by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.The highest honour in Liberian was given to Kagame in recognition of his exemplary leadership and exceptional contribution to the promotion of women’s rights.
* In June 2009, Kagame was awarded the Children's Champion Award by the US Fund for UNICEF for Promoting Children's Rights
* In September 2009, Kagame was awarded the International Peace Medal from Saddleback Church for his support and role in the P.E.A.C.E. plan.
* In September 2009, Kagame honoured with the Clinton Global Citizen Award in recognition of his leadership in public service that has improved the lives of people of Rwanda.
* November 2009, Kagame was presented with the ‘Most Innovative People Award for Economic Innovation’ at the Lebanon2020 Summit,
* May 2010, Kagame was awarded 'Lifetime Leadership Award for Development and Equality' by Rwandan Women in recognition of his efforts in developing the nation and promoting equality amongst Rwandans
* May 2010, Kagame was awarded the 2010 Rwanda Convention Association (RCA) Award of Excellence in recognition of his role in steering Rwanda towards a knowledge-based economy and promotion of the private sector.
* On June 5, 2010, Kagame was awarded the prestigious 'Energy Globe Award' on the occasion of World Environment Day celebrated in Kinigi, Rwanda.
* On July 5, 2010, Rwanda International Network Association (RINA) awarded Kagame for his continuous efforts in the promotion of Education

Rwandan Defence Forces

The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF, in French Forces Rwandaises de Défense) is the national army of Rwanda. Largely composed of former Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) fighters, it comprises (a) The High Command Council of the Rwanda Defence Forces; (b) the General Staff of the Rwanda Defence Forces; (c) the Rwanda Land Force; (d) the Rwanda Air Force; and (e) specialised units.[2] In November 2002 Emmanuel Habyarimana was removed from his post as Minister of Defence, which government spokesperson Joseph Bideri attributed to his "extreme pro-Hutu" views.[3] Habyarimana was replaced by Marcel Gatsinzi.

After the successful conquest of the country in 1994 in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide, the Rwandan Patriotic Front decided to split the RPF into a political division (which retained the RPF name) and a military division, which was to serve as the official army of the Rwandan state in two distinct and independent institutions.

Many soldiers from the former Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), the national army under the previous regime (see next section), have been incorporated into the RDF since 1994. This process began soon after the genocide in January 1995, when several former FAR officers were given high positions in the new armed forces: Colonel Marcel Gatsinzi became the Deputy Chief of Staff of the RPA, Colonel Balthazar Ndengeyinka became commander of the 305th Brigade, LTC Laurent Munyakazi took command of the 99th battalion, and LTC Emmanuel Habyarimana became an RPA member of parliament and the director for training in the Ministry of Defence. Gatsinzi later became Director of Security and then Ministry of Defence in 2002.[4]

Defense spending continues to represent an important share of the national budget, largely due to continuing security problems along the frontiers with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, and lingering concerns about Uganda's intentions towards its former ally. The government has launched an ambitious plan to demobilize thousands of soldiers.

Four serving army officers of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) were indicted in June 2008 for crimes committed during the 1994 genocide

Land Forces

A number of sources, including Gerard Prunier, document U.S. aid to the RPA before the First Congo War.[6] The officially admitted part of the training was Joint Combined Exchange Training. Prunier strongly implies the United States supplied communications equipment, vehicles, boots, and medicines to the RPA before the war began and after it broke out, delivered second-hand Warsaw Pact weapons and ammunition either directly to Goma or by airdrop along the AFDL front lines. He reports that after the war's outbreak, the United States Air Force had switched from using C-141 Starlifters and C-5 Galaxys to deliver the non-lethal aid to Kigali Airport and Entebbe Airport, to airdrops by C-130 Hercules aircraft.[7]

From July 1994 until December 1997 the RPA had six brigades, as designated in the Arusha Accords: 402nd in Kigali and Kigali Rurale Prefecture; 201st in Kibungo, Umatura, and Byumba Prefectures; 301st in Butare, Gikongoro, and Cyangugu Prefectures; 305th in Gitatama and Kibuye Prefectures; and 211th in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri Prefectures. The brigade boundaries mirrored the political administrative boundaries, which often complicated military operations.[8] During the First Congo War the brigade headquarters remained inside Rwanda but directed operations inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[9]

Jane's World Armies said in July 2009 that 'the RDF is deployed to protect the country's borders and defend against external aggression. There are four divisions, each deploying three brigades:

* 1 Division, based at Kigali, covers the central and east region;
* 2 Division, based at Byumba, covers the north and east region;
* 3 Division, based at Gisenyi, covers the northwest region; and
* 4 Division, based at Butare, covers the southwest region.'[10]

The Cyangungu Military Camp (alternative spelling seems to be Cyangugu) has been reported to house the 31st Brigade of the 4th Division of the Rwandan Defence Forces.[11]

Lieutenant General Charles Kayonga is the Chief of defense Staff of the Rwandese Defence Forces.

Rwandan Armed Forces ~1960-1994

The Rwandan Armed Forces or Forces Armées Rwandaises was the national army of Rwanda until July 1994, when the Hutu-dominated government collapsed in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide and the invasion by Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front. Alison Des Forges and Human Rights Watch describe the army under President, former General, Juvénal Habyarimana, as some 7,000 strong, including about 1,200 of whom were part of the Gendarmerie. Elite troops included the Presidential Guard, estimated at between 1000 - 1300 troops, as well as the Paracommando and Reconnaissance units.[13] These two units were of battalion strength by 1994, and then counted a total of 800 troops.[14]

In response to the RPF invasion of 1990, the 5,000-man FAR rapidly expanded, with French training assistance (as many as 1,100 French troops were in Rwanda at a time[15]), to some 30,000 by 1992.[16] A significant number of the new soldiers opposed the negotiations with the RPF (the process that would lead to the Arusha Accords), not just because they did not wish to give up the fight, but because the dreaded demobilisation, and potential return to menial labour that they thought they 'had left behind' by their new military careers.

The Arusha Accords, signed on August 4, 1993, laid out a very detailed plan for the integration of the Rwandan Government and Rwandan Patriotic Front military forces.[17] The Rwandan government was to provide 60% of the troops for the new integrated army, but would have to share command positions with the RPF down to the level of battalion. The new army was to consist of no more than 19,000 soldiers and 6,000 Gendarmerie.[18] However radical elements within the Rwandan government were implacably opposed to implementation of the Accords and, instead, began the planning that would lay the foundations for the genocide.

The Reconnaissance Battalion's commander, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, and his subordinates played a key role during the genocide. Together with the Reconnaissance Battalion, the Paracommando Battalion under Major Aloys Ntabakuze and the Presidential Guard under Major Protais Mpiranya became the three most significant genocidare units.

Colonel Marcel Gatsinzi was briefly named chief of staff of the armed forces from April 6 to April 16, 1994, but was replaced by Augustin Bizimungu, quickly promoted to major general, as Gatsinzi opposed the genocide.[19] Bizimungu was only briefly chief of staff before fleeing the country. Many soldiers of the FAR have since been implicated by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the genocide, including its leader during the genocide, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, who was chief of the cabinet (private office) of the Ministry of Defence prior to the genocide. Other top leaders in the FAR were implicated in the assassination of the President, Juvénal Habyarimana, which sparked the genocide.

Many elements of the former Rwandan régime, including soldiers formerly of the FAR, fled to eastern Zaire after the RPF victory, where they formed the RDR army, which still has a descendant force in today's Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, active primarily in North Kivu.

Human occupation of Rwanda is thought to have begun shortly after the last ice age. By the fifteenth century the inhabitants had organized into a number of kingdoms. In the nineteenth century, Mwami (king) Rwabugiri of the Kingdom of Rwanda conducted a decades-long process of military conquest and administrative consolidation that resulted in a the kingdom coming to control most of area of what is now Rwanda. The colonial powers, first Germany and then Belgium, allied with the Rwandan court, allowing it to conquer the remaining autonomous kingdoms along its borders and using racializing the system of minority Tutsi dominance created under Rwabugiri.

A convergence of anti-colonial, anti-monarchist and anti-Tutsi sentiment resulted in Belgium granting national independence in 1961. Direct elections resulted in a representative government dominated by Hutus under President Grégoire Kayibanda. Unsettled ethnic and political tensions were worsened when Juvénal Habyarimana seized power in 1973. In 1991, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group composed of Tutsi refugees from previous decades of unrest, invaded the country, starting the Rwandan Civil War. The war ground on, vastly worsening ethnic tensions until the assassination of Habyarimana in 1994 was the catalyst for the eruption of the Rwandan Genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed, and ended when the RPF conquered the country. The resulting large refugee camps of Hutu in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo were disbanded by a RPF-sponsored invasion in 1996 that replaced the Congolese president. A second invasion to replace the new Congolese president created the deadliest war since World War II.

Early history

Origins of Tutsi and Hutu
Twa women with traditional pottery

The territory of present day Rwanda has been green and fertile for many thousands of years, even during the last ice age, when part of Nyungwe Forest was above the ice sheet.[1] It is not known when the country was first inhabited, but it is thought that humans moved into the area shortly after that ice age, either in the Neolithic period, around ten thousand years ago, or in the long humid period which followed, up to around 3000 BC.[1][2] The earliest inhabitants of the region were the Twa, a group of aboriginal Pygmy forest hunters and gatherers, who still live in Rwanda today.[1][3]

Archaeological excavations conducted from the 1940s onwards have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter gatherers in the late stone age, followed by a larger population of early iron age settlers.[1] These later groups were found to have manufactured artifacts, including a type of dimpled pottery, iron tools and implements.[4]

Several hundred years ago the Twa were partially supplanted by the immigration of a Bantu group, the forebearers of the agriculturalist ethnic group, today known as the Hutus.[3] The Hutu began to clear forests for their permanent settlements. The exact nature of the third major immigration, that of a predominantly pastoralist people known as Tutsi, is highly contested.[nb 1] By the fifteenth century, many of the Bantu-speakers, including both Hutu and Tutsi, had organized themselves into small states. According to Ogot,[5] these included at least three. The oldest state, which has no name, was probably established by the Renge lineages of the Singa clan and covered most of modern Rwanda, besides the northern region. The Mubari state of the Zigaba (Abazigaba) clan also covered an extensive area. The Gisaka state in southeast Rwanda was powerful, maintaining its independence until the mid-nineteenth century. However, the latter two states are largely unmentioned in contemporary discussion of Rwandan civilization.

Reign of Rwabuguri

In the nineteenth century, the state became far more centralized, and the history far more precise. Expansion continued, reaching the shores of Lake Kivu. This expansion was less about military conquest and more about a migrating population spreading Rwandan agricultural techniques, social organization, and the extension of a Mwami's political control. Once this was established camps of warriors were established along the vulnerable borders to prevent incursions. Only against other well developed states such as Gisaka, Bugesera, and Burundi was expansion carried out primarily by force of arms.

Under the monarchy the economic imbalance between the Hutus and the Tutsis crystallized, a complex political imbalance emerged as the Tutsis formed into a hierarchy dominated by a Mwami or 'king'. The King was treated as a semi-divine being, responsible for making the country prosper. The symbol of the King was the Kalinga, the sacred drum hung with the genitals of conquered enemies or rebels against the King.

The Mwami main power base was in control of over a hundred large estates spread through the kingdom. They would include fields of banana trees and many heads of cattle and formed the base of the rulers' wealth. The most ornate of these estates would each be home to one of the king's wives, monarchs having up to twenty. It was between these estates that the Mwami and his retinue would travel.

All the people of Rwanda were expected to do tribute to the Mwami, and this tribute was collected, in turn, by a Tutsi administrative hierarchy. Beneath the Mwami was also a Tutsi ministerial council of great chiefs, the batware b'intebe, while below them was a group of lesser Tutsi chiefs who for the large part governed the country in districts, each district having a cattle chief and a land chief. The cattle chief collected tribute in livestock, and the land chief collected tribute in produce. Beneath these chiefs were hill-chiefs and neighborhood chiefs. Again, over 95% of hill and neighborhood chiefs were of Tutsi descent.

Also important were military chiefs who had control over the frontier regions. They played both defensive and offensive roles, protecting the frontier and making cattle raids against neighboring tribes. Often, the Rwandan great chief was also the army chief. Lastly, the biru or "council of guardians" was also an important part of the administration. The Biru advised the Mwami on his duties where supernatural king-powers were involved. These honored people advised also on matters of court ritual.

Taken together, all these posts from great chiefs, military chiefs and Biru members existed to serve the powers of the Mwami, and to reinforce the control of the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The military, located in the border camps, were a mix of Hutu and Tutsi drawn from across the kingdom. This intermixing helped produce a uniformity of ritual and language in the region, and united the populace behind the Mwami. Most evidence suggests that relations between the Hutu and Tutsi were mostly peaceful at this time. Some words and expressions suggest there may have been friction, but other than that evidence supports peaceful interaction.

A traditional local justice system called Gacaca predominated in much of the region as an institution for resolving conflict, rendering justice and reconciliation. The Tutsi king was the ultimate judge and arbiter for those cases that ever reached him. Despite the traditional nature of the system, harmony and cohesion had been established among Rwandans and within the kingdom.[7]

The distinction between the three ethnic groups was somewhat fluid, in that Tutsis who lost their cattle due to a disease epidemic such as Rinderpest sometimes would be considered Hutu. Likewise Hutu who obtained cattle would come to be considered Tutsi, thus climbing the ladder of the social strata. This social mobility ended abruptly with the onset of colonial administration. What had hitherto been often considered social classes took a fixed ethnic outlook

Colonial era

Unlike much of Africa, the fate of Rwanda and the Great Lakes region was not decided by the 1884 Berlin Conference. Rather the region was divided in an 1890 conference in Brussels. This gave Rwanda and Burundi to the German Empire as colonial spheres of interest in exchange, renouncing all claims on Uganda in exchange for being given the island of Heligoland. The poor maps referenced in these agreements left Belgium with a claim on the western half of the country, and after several border skirmishes the final borders of the colony were not established until 1900. These borders contained the kingdom of Rwanda as well as a group of smaller kingdoms on the shore of Lake Victoria.

In 1894 Rutarindwa inherited the kingdom from his father Rwabugiri IV, but many of the king's council were unhappy. There was a rebellion and the family was killed. Yuhi Musinga inherited the throne through his mother and uncles, but there was still dissent.
[edit] German

The first European to set foot in Rwanda was Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen, who from 1893 to 1894 led an expedition to claim the hinterlands of the Tanganyika colony. Götzen entered Rwanda at Rusumo Falls, and then travelled right through Rwanda, meeting the mwami (king) at his palace in Nyanza, and eventually reaching Lake Kivu, the western edge of the kingdom. However, with only 2,500 soldiers in East Africa, Germany did little to change social structures in much of the region, especially in Rwanda.[citation needed]

War and division seemed to open the door for colonialism, and in 1897 German colonialists and missionaries arrived in Rwanda. The Rwandans were divided with a portion of the royal court being very wary and the other seeing the Germans as a welcome alternative to the dominance of Buganda or the Belgians. Backing their faction in the country a pliant government was soon in place. Rwanda put up far less resistance than Burundi to German rule.

In the early years the Germans had little control in the region and were completely dependent on the indigenous government. The Germans didn't encourage modernization and centralization of the regime.

During this period many Europeans had become obsessed with race, and this had an impact on life in Rwanda. Now to the Germans, the Tutsi ruling class was a superior racial type who, because of their apparent "Hamitic" origins on the Horn of Africa, were more "European" than the Hutus they oppressed. Because of their seemingly taller stature, more "honorable and eloquent" personalities, and their willingness to convert to Roman Catholicism, the Tutsis were favored by colonists and powerful Roman Catholic officials, and were put in charge of the farming Hutus (almost in a feudalistic manner), the newly formed principalities, and were given basic ruling positions. Eventually, these positions would turn into the overall governing body of Rwanda. Thus the Tutsi oppression of the Hutus seemed somehow normal and expected. As with later Belgian colonizers, the Germans romanticized Tutsi origins.[citation needed]

Before the colonial period about 15-16% of the population was Tutsi; many of these were poor peasants, but the majority of the ruling elite were Tutsi. A significant minority of the political elite were Hutu, however. Europeans simplified this arrangement and decided that the Hamitic Tutsi were racially superior and should thus make up the entire ruling class, while the inferior Bantu Hutu should become a permanent underclass.

The Germans, simply out of their need for a streamlined administration, helped the Mwami gain greater nominal control over Rwandan affairs. But there were forces that entered with the German colonial authority that had the opposite effect. For instance, Tutsi power weakened through the exposure of Rwanda to capitalist European forces. Money came to be seen by many Hutus as a replacement for cattle, in terms of both economic prosperity and for purposes of creating social standing. Another way in which Tutsi power was weakened by Germany was through the introduction of the head-tax on all Rwandans. As some Tutsis had feared, the introduction of this tax also made the Hutus feel less bonded to the will of their Tutsi patrons and more dependent on the European foreigners, any head-tax necessarily implying equality between any of those heads being counted - whether Hutu or Tutsi. Thus, despite Germany's attempt to uphold traditional Tutsi domination of the Hutus, the Hutus were now getting a slight taste of autonomy from Tutsi rule.

By 1899 the Germans exerted some influence by placing advisors at the courts of local chiefs. Much of the Germans' time was spent fighting uprisings in Tanganyika, especially the Maji Maji war of 1905-1907. On May 14, 1910 the European Convention of Brussels fixed the borders of Uganda, Congo, and German East Africa which included Tanganyika and Ruanda-Urundi.[8] In 1911, the Germans helped the Tutsi put down a rebellion of Hutus in the northern part of Rwanda who did not wish to submit to central Tutsi control.[citation needed]
[edit] World War I

While the agreements dividing the region had called for the region to remain neutral in the event of any European war, this was disregarded after the outbreak of World War I. Small forces of Europeans, backed by large numbers of locals fought for control of the region. The main offensive was by the Belgians who in 1916 advanced from the Congo into Germany's East African colonies, quickly forcing the German forces out of the region. A British offensive from Uganda came next, British machine gunners preventing the Germans from mounting a successful counter-attack. The German army was now in almost a full panic and retreat. The Belgians then released Congolese raiders who proceeded to loot and pillage the region. A great number of Rwandans, who were fighting alongside the Germans, were killed in the long German retreat.
[edit] Belgian colonialism

At the end of the war Belgium accepted the League of Nations Mandate of 1923 to govern Rwanda as the territory Ruanda-Urundi along with its existing Congo colony to the west. The portion of the German territory, never a part of the Kingdom of Rwanda, was stripped from the colony and attached to Tanganyika, which had been mandated to the British.[citation needed] However, colonial military campaign from 1923 to 1925 brought the small independent kingdoms to the west, such as Kingogo, Bushiru, Bukunzi and Busozo, under the power of the central Rwandan court.[9]

The Belgian government continued to rely on the Tutsi power structure for administering the country, though their involvement in the region was far more direct than German involvement and extended its interests into education and agricultural supervision. The latter was especially important in the face of two droughts and subsequent famines in 1928-29 and in 1943. These famines forced large migrations of Rwandans to neighboring Congo.[10] The Belgians insisted that the colony turn a profit, and this meant forcing the population to grow large quantities of coffee. Each peasant was required to devote a certain percentage of their fields to coffee and this was enforced by the Belgians and their local, mainly Tutsi, allies. An onerous corvée was also introduced, labour that was enforced by the whip - eight strokes before work each morning. This forced labour approach to colonization was condemned by many internationally, and was extremely unpopular in Rwanda. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans immigrated to the British protectorate of Uganda, which was much wealthier and did not have the same draconian policies.

As mentioned above, Hutus and Tutsis lived together as neighbors before the colonial period. However, Belgian rule solidified the racial divide. The Belgians then gave political power to the Tutsis. Due to the eugenics movement in Europe and the United States, the colonial government became concerned with the differences between Hutu and Tutsi. Scientists arrived to measure skull—and thus, they believed, brain—size. Tutsi's skulls were bigger, they were taller, and their skin was lighter. As a result of this, Europeans came to believe that Tutsis had caucasian ancestry, and were thus "superior" to Hutus. Each citizen was issued a racial identification card, which defined one as legally Hutu or Tutsi. The Belgians gave the majority of political control to the Tutsis. Tutsis began to believe the myth of their superior racial status, and exploited their power over the Hutu majority. In the 1920s, Belgian ethnologists analysed (measured skulls, etc.) thousands of Rwandans on analogous racial criteria, such as which would be used later by the Nazis. In 1931, an ethnic identity was officially mandated and administrative documents systematically detailed each person's "ethnicity,". Each Rwandan had an ethnic identity card. The Belgians considered the Tutsis to be the superior race and systematically imposed their authority over the Hutus across the colonial administration and the access to education, engendering great frustration among the other Rwandans.

A history of Rwanda that justified the existence of these racial distinctions was written. No historical, archaeological, or above all linguistic traces have been found to date that confirm this official history. In fact, as those who have looked for such evidence have remarked, the observed differences between the Tutsis and the Hutus are about the same as those evident between the different French social classes in the 1950s. The way people nourished themselves explains a large part of the differences: the Tutsis, since they raised cattle, traditionally drank more milk than the Hutu, who were farmers.

Some observers have also noted an induced replica of the Belgian linguistic conflict in the Rwandan problem. It is undeniable that the Walloons, who were the majority in the beginning in Rwanda, and the Flemish continued their ideological fights and also tried to gain supremacy over one another on Rwandan soil. In the 1950s and 60s, the back and forth of Belgian support for the Tutsis over the Hutus was articled at the same time over Tutsis demands for political independence, like everywhere in Africa, and over the development of the presence of Flemish people in Rwanda who would see in the Hutu a people who were repressed just as they had been.

The fragmenting of Hutu lands angered Mwami Yuhi IV, who had hoped to further centralize his power enough to rid himself of the Belgians. In 1931 Tutsi plots against the Belgian administration resulted in the Belgians deposing the Tutsi Mwami Yuhi. This caused the Tutsis to take up arms against the Belgians, but because of their fear of the Belgians' military superiority, they did not openly revolt.[11] Yuhi was replaced by Mutara III, another Tutsi, who later (in 1943) became the first Mwami to convert to Catholicism.[citation needed]

From 1935 on, "Tutsi", "Hutu" and "Twa" were indicated on identity cards. However, because of the existence of many wealthy Hutu who shared the financial (if not physical) stature of the Tutsi, the Belgians used an expedient method of classification based on the number of cattle a person owned. Anyone with ten or more cattle was considered a member of the aristocratic Tutsi class. The Roman Catholic Church, the primary educators in the country, subscribed to and reinforced the differences between Hutu and Tutsi. They developed separate educational systems for each, although throughout the 1940s and 1950s the vast majority of students were Tutsi


Following World War II, Rwanda-Urundi became a UN trust territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists who saw in them a threat to Tutsi rule.

From the late 1940s King Rudahigwa, a Tutsi with democratic vision abolished the "ubuhake" system and redistributed cattle and land. Even though the majority of pasture lands remained under the control of the Tutsi, the Hutus began to feel yet a deeper sense of liberation from Tutsi rule established by the Belgian "divide and rule" policy. Through the reforms, the Tutsis were no longer perceived to be in total control of cattle, the long-standing measure of a person's wealth and social position. Thus, these reforms marked the beginning of a long period of ethnic tension in Rwandan history.

In addition, the Hutus began to develop a group consciousness as the Belgians instituted ethnic identity cards (in 1933, Belgium required all its Rwandan and Burundian subjects to self-identify as Tutsi, Hutu or Twa; this data appeared on the cards themselves). Yet a further step was Belgium's system of electoral representation for Rwandans. At first, the Tutsis retained total control, and then Belgium decided to make the electoral process function by means of secret ballots. Thereafter, Hutus made enormous gains within the country. The Catholic Church, too, began to oppose Tutsi mistreatment of Hutus, and began promoting equality. Tutsis were about to be removed from their traditional role as masters in Rwanda.

Mwami Mutara took steps to end the destabilization and chaos he saw in the land.[citation needed] Mutara made many changes — in 1954 he shared out the land between the Hutu and the Tutsi, and agreed to abolish the system of indentured servitude (ubuhake and uburetwa) the Tutsis had practised over the Hutu until then.

Strife and independence

In the 1950s and early 1960s, a wave of Pan-Africanism swept through Central Africa, with leaders such as Julius Nyerere in Tanzania and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. Anti-colonial sentiment stirred throughout central Africa, and a socialist platform of African unity and equality for all Africans was forwarded. Nyerere himself wrote about the elitism of educational systems,[12] which Hutus interpreted as an indictment of the elitist educations provided for Tutsis in their own country.

Encouraged by the Pan-Africanists, Hutu advocates in the Catholic Church, and by Christian Belgians (who were increasingly influential in the Congo), Hutu sentiment against the aristocratic Tutsi was increasingly inflamed. The United Nations mandates, the Tutsi overlord class, and the Belgian colonialists themselves added to the growing unrest. The Hutu "emancipation" movement was soon spearheaded by Grégoire Kayibanda, founder of PARMEHUTU, who wrote his "Hutu Manifesto" in 1957. The group quickly became militarized. In reaction, in 1959 the UNAR party was formed by Tutsis who desired an immediate independence for Ruanda-Urundi, to be based on the existing Tutsi monarchy. This group also became quickly militarized. Skirmishes began between UNAR and PARMEHUTU groups. Then in July 1959, the Tutsi Mwami (King) Mutara III Charles was believed by Rwandan Tutsis to have been assassinated when he died following a routine vaccination by a Flemish physician in Bujumbura. His younger half-brother then became the next Tutsi monarch, Mwami (King) Kigeli V.

In November 1959, The Tutsis, enraged by their gradual loss of power, made an attempt on the life of Grégoire Kayibanda. Tutsi forces also beat up a Hutu politician, Dominique Mbonyumutwa, and rumours of his death set off a violent backlash against the Tutsi known as the wind of destruction. An estimated 20,000 to 100,000 Tutsis were killed and many thousands more, including the Mwami, fled to neighboring Uganda before Belgian commandos arrived to quell the violence. Several Belgians were subsequently accused by Tutsi leaders of abetting the Hutus in the violence. The report of a United Nations special commission reported racism reminiscent of "Nazism against the Tutsi minorities" that had been engineered by the government and Belgian authorities.

The revolution of 1959 marked a major change in political life in Rwanda. Some 150,000 Tutsis were exiled to neighbouring countries. Those Tutsis that remained in Rwanda were excluded from having any political power in a state becoming more and more centralized under Hutu power. Tutsi refugees also fled to the South Kivu province of the Congo, where they called themselves Banyamalenge.

In 1960, the Belgian government agreed to hold democratic municipal elections in Rwanda-Urundi, in which Hutu representatives were elected by the Hutu majorities. This precipitous change in the power structure threatened the centuries-old system by which Tutsi superiority had been maintained through monarchy. An effort to create an independent Rwanda-Urundi with Tutsi-Hutu power sharing failed, largely due to escalating violence. The Belgian government, with United Nations urging, therefore decided to divide Rwanda-Urundi into two separate countries, Rwanda and Burundi. On 25 September 1961, a referendum was held to establish whether Rwanda should become a republic or remain a kingdom. The result indicated an overwhelming support for a republic. After parliamentary elections held on the same day, the first Rwandese Republic was declared, with Grégoire Kayibanda as prime minister. Dominique Mbonyumutwa, who had survived his previous attack, was named the first president of the transitional government. This attack was the pretext used to explain that Tutsis were dangerous and had to be killed.[citation needed]

Between 1961 and 1962, Tutsi guerrilla groups staged attacks into Rwanda from neighboring countries. Rwandan Hutu-based troops responded and thousands more were killed in the clashes.

On 1 July 1962, Belgium, with UN oversight, granted full independence to the two countries. Rwanda was created as a republic governed by the majority MDR-Parmehutu, which had gained full control of national politics by this time. The Tutsis were often used as national scapegoats. The previous history of Rwanda under the Tutsi monarchy and then as a colony was rejected as a long period of darkness. The new Rwanda was Hutu and Catholic and thus believed to be a complete break with the past.

In 1963, a Tutsi guerrilla invasion into Rwanda from Burundi unleashed another anti-Tutsi backlash by the Hutu government in Rwanda, and an estimated 14,000 people were killed. In response, a previous economic union between Rwanda and Burundi was dissolved and tensions between the two countries worsened. Rwanda also now became a Hutu-dominated one-party state. In excess of 70,000 people had been killed.[citation needed] It was thought for a while that British Royal Marines then stationed in Tanzania might be sent to Rwanda to stop the horrific loss of life there.[by whom?]

Grégoire Kayibanda became Rwanda's first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda regime. Relations with forty-three countries, including the United States, were established in the first ten years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s.

Under President Kayibanda, a system of quotas was established. Thenceforth, the Tutsis would be allowed only nine percent of school and university seats. The quotas also extended to the civil service. In these posts too, the Tutsis would only be allotted a 9% take. At the time, employment was bad, and competition for the available seats only exacerbated ethnic tensions.

The Kayibanda government also continued the Belgian colonial government's policy of labeling people with ethnic identity cards, and used this practice to attack mixed marriages.

Another bout of violence followed in 1964, and for years a system of legal inequality was instituted. Opposition political parties UNAR and RADER were banned and their Tutsi members executed. Tutsi militants called themselves "inyenzi", or "cockroaches", because of their intention to infiltrate the entire country; the name would eventually be used as a term of denigration by Hutu militants. Hundreds of thousands fled as refugees into neighbouring countries. While some in the West (most notably Bertrand Russell) asserted that this was the worst event since the Holocaust and called for something to be done, these calls were ignored.

The Rwandan government was friendly to the West and provided a base for CIA operations in the successful effort to oust the left-leaning Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. The Catholic Church was closely intertwined with Parmehutu. They shared local resources and on the ground networks, and through the church the government maintained links and support with those in Belgium and Germany. The country's two newspapers, both strong supporters of the government, were both staunchly Catholic publications.

Military rule

On July 5, 1973, while serving as defense minister, Maj. Gen. Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu native of the northwestern province of Gisenyi, overthrew Grégoire Kayibanda, a native of central province of Gitarama. Habyarimana claimed the government to have been ineffective and riddled with favoritism.[citation needed] He installed his own political party into government. This occurred partially as a reaction to the Burundi genocide of 1972, with the resultant wave of Hutu refugees and subsequent social unrest.[citation needed] Rwanda enjoyed relative economic prosperity during the early part of his regime.[citation needed]

Habyarimana dissolved the National Assembly and the Parmehutu Party, and abolished all political activity.[clarification needed] Still, the issue of ethnicity remained powerful. Each ethnic group held onto the memories of massacres in the past, and for the predominantly Hutu establishment, Tutsis remained scapegoats of convenience. For instance, Kayibanda was born in a southern region of the country, while Habyarimana came from the north. Southerners, however, blamed Habyarimana's perhaps favoritism for the north on Tutsi plots and machinations.[citation needed]

In 1974, a public outcry developed over Tutsi over-representation in professional fields such as medicine and education. Thousands of Tutsi were forced to resign from such positions, and many were forced into exile. In associated violence, several hundred Tutsi were killed.

In 1975, President Habyarimana formed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) whose goals were to promote peace, unity, and national development. The movement was organized from the "hillside" to the national level and included elected and appointed officials.

Under MRND aegis, a new constitution making the party a one-party state under the MRND was approved in a referendum in December 1978, which was shortly followed by presidential elections, in which Habyarimana was confirmed as president. President Habyarimana was re-elected with over 99% of the vote in 1983 and again in 1988, when he was the sole candidate. Responding to public pressure for political reform, President Habyarimana announced in July 1990 his intention to transform Rwanda's one-party state into a multi-party democracy.

Inter-relationship with events in Burundi

The situation in Rwanda had been influenced in great detail by the situation in Burundi. Both countries had a Hutu majority, yet an army-controlled Tutsi government in Burundi persisted for decades. After the assassination of Rwagasore, his UPRONA party was split into Tutsi and Hutu factions. A Tutsi Prime Minister was chosen by the monarch, but, a year later in 1963, the monarch was forced to appoint a Hutu prime minister, Pierre Ngendandumwe, in an effort to satisfy growing Hutu unrest. Nevertheless, the monarch soon replaced him with another Tutsi prince. In Burundi's first elections following independence, in 1965, Ngendandumwe was elected Prime Minister. He was immediately assassinated by a Tutsi extremist and he was succeeded by another Hutu, Joseph Bamina. Hutus won 23 of the 33 seats in national elections a few months later, but the monarch nullified the elections. Bamina was soon also assassinated and the Tutsi monarch installed his own personal secretary, Leopold Biha, as the Prime Minister in his place. This led to a Hutu coup from which the Mwami fled the country and Biha was shot (but not killed). The Tutsi-dominated army, led by Michel Micombero brutally responded: almost all Hutu politicians were killed.[13] Micombero assumed control of the government and a few months later deposed the new Tutsi monarch (the son of the previous monarch) and abolished the role of the monarchy altogether. He then threatened to invade Rwanda.[14] A military dictatorship persisted in Burundi for another 27 years, until the next free elections, in 1993.

Another seven years of sporadic violence in Burundi (from 1965–1972) existed between the Hutus and Tutsis. In 1969 another purge of Hutus by the Tutsi military occurred. Then, a localized Hutu uprising in 1972 was fiercely answered by the Tutsi-dominated Burundi army in the largest Burundi genocide of Hutus, with a death toll nearing 200,000.

This wave of violence led to another wave of cross border refugees into Rwanda of Hutus from Burundi. Now there were large numbers of both Tutsi and Hutu refugees throughout the region, and tensions continued to mount.

In 1988, Hutu violence against Tutsis throughout northern Burundi again resurfaced, and in response the Tutsi army massacred approximately 20,000 more Hutu. Again thousands of Hutu were forced into exile into Tanzania and Congo to flee another genocide of Hutu.

Rwandan Civil War

Many exiled refugee Rwandan Tutsis in Uganda had joined the rebel forces of Yoweri Museveni in the Ugandan Bush War and had then become part of the Ugandan military upon the rebel victory in 1986. Among these were Fred Rwigema and Paul Kagame, who rose to prominence in the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a Rwandan rebel group largely consisting of Tutsi veterans of the Ugandan war. On October 1, 1990, the RPF invaded Rwanda from their base in neighboring Uganda. The rebel force, composed primarily of ethnic Tutsis, blamed the government for failing to democratize and resolve the problems of some 500,000 Tutsi refugees living in diaspora around the world.

The Tutsi diaspora miscalculated the reaction of its invasion of Rwanda. Though the Tutsi objective seemed to be to pressure the Rwandan government into making concessions, the invasion was seen as an attempt to bring the Tutsi ethnic group back into power. The effect was to increase ethnic tensions to a level higher than they had ever been. Nevertheless, after 3 years of fighting and multiple prior "cease-fires," the government and the RPF signed a "final" cease-fire agreement in August 1993, known as the Arusha Accords, in order to form a power sharing government, a plan which immediately ran into problems.

The situation worsened when the first elected Burundian president, Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu, was assassinated by the Burundian Tutsi-dominated army in October 1993.[15] In Burundi, a fierce civil war then erupted between Tutsi and Hutu following the army's massacre. This conflict spilled over the border into Rwanda and destabilized the fragile Rwandan accords. Tutsi-Hutu tensions rapidly intensified. Although the UN sent a peacekeeping force named the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), it was underfunded, under-staffed, and largely ineffective in the face of a two country civil-war. The UN denied Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire's request for additional troops and changes to the rules of engagement to prevent the coming genocide

The Rwandan genocide

Assassination of Habyarimana and Ntaryamira and Rwandan Genocide
Skulls of genocide victims

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying Juvénal Habyarimana, the President of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu President of Burundi, was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali.[17] Both presidents were killed when the plane crashed.

Military and militia groups began rounding up and killing Tutsis en masse, as well as political moderates irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsis (800,000 is a commonly noted number) and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia (Interahamwe) or organized rebels (Inkotanyi). Even ordinary citizens were called on by local officials to kill their neighbors. The president's MRND Party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide.

The RPF renewed its civil war against the Rwanda Hutu government when it received word that the genocidal massacres had begun. Its leader Paul Kagame directed RPF forces in neighboring countries such as Uganda and Tanzania to invade the country, battling the Hutu forces and Interahamwe militias who were committing the massacres. The resulting civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for two months. The Tutsi-led RPF continued to advance on the capital, and soon occupied the northern, eastern, and southern parts of the country by June. Thousands of additional civilians were killed in the conflict. UN member states refused to answer UNAMIR's requests for increased troops and money.

Aftermath and peace

Great Lakes refugee crisis
Refugee camp in Zaire, 1994

Between July and August, 1994, Kagame's Tutsi-led RPF troops first entered Kigali and soon thereafter captured the rest of the country.[citation needed] The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the genocide, but approximately two million Hutu refugees - some who participated in the genocide and fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire. This exodus became known as the Great Lakes refugee crisis.[citation needed]

After the Tutsi RPF took control of the government, in 1994, Kagame formed a government of national unity headed by a Hutu president, Pasteur Bizimungu. Kagame became Minister of Defence and Vice-President, and was the de facto leader of the country.[citation needed]

Following an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi, sometimes referred to as a whole as Banyamulenge (although this term only represents people from one area in eastern Zaire—other ethnic Tutsi Kinyarwanda-speaking people include the Banyamasisi and the Banyarutshuru, as an example) people in eastern Zaire in October 1997, a huge movement of refugees began which brought more than 600,000 back to Rwanda in the last two weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of another 500,000 from Tanzania, again in a huge, spontaneous wave. Less than 100,000 Rwandans are estimated to remain outside of Rwanda, and they are thought to be the remnants of the defeated army of the former genocidal government, its allies in the civilian militias known as Interahamwe, and soldiers recruited in the refugee camps before 1996. There are also many innocent Hutu who remain in the forests of eastern Congo, particularly Rutshuru, Masisi and Bukavu, who have been misinformed by rebel forces that they will be killed upon return to Rwanda. Rebels also use force to prevent these people from returning, as they serve as a human shield.

In northwest Rwanda, Hutu militia members killed three Spanish aid workers, three soldiers and seriously wounded one other on January 18, 1997. Since then, most of the refugees have returned and the country is secure for tourists.

Rwandan coffee began to gain importance after international taste tests pronounced it among the best in the world, and the U.S. responded with a contribution of 8 million dollars. Rwanda now earns some revenue from coffee and tea export, although it has been difficult to compete with larger coffee-producing countries. The main source of revenue, however, is tourism, mainly mountain gorilla visitation. Their other parks, Nyungwe Forest (one of the last high-altitude tropical forests in the world) and Akagera National Park (a safari game park) have also become popular on the tourism circuit. The lakeside resorts of Gisenyi and Kibuye are also gaining ground.

When Bizimungu became critical of the Kagame government in 2000, he was removed as president and Kagame took over the presidency himself. Bizimungu immediately founded an opposition party (the PDR), but it was banned by the Kagame government. Bizimungu was arrested in 2002 for treason, sentenced to 15 years in prison, but released by a presidential pardon in 2007.[citation needed]

The postwar government has placed high priority on development, opening water taps in the most remote areas, providing free and compulsory education, and promulgating progressive environmental policies. Their Vision 2020 development policy has the aim of achieving a service-based society by 2020, with a significant middle class. There is remarkably little corruption in the country.[citation needed]

Hutu Rwandan genocidal leaders are on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in the Rwandan National Court system, and, most recently, through the informal Gacaca programme.[18] Recent reports highlight a number of reprisal killings of survivors for giving evidence at Gacaca.[19] These Gacaca trials are overseen by the government established National Unity and Reconciliation Commission. Gacaca is a traditional adjudication mechanism at the umudugudu (village) level, whereby members of the community elect elders to serve as judges, and the entire community is present for the case. This system was modified to try lower-level génocidaires, those who had killed or stolen but did not organize massacres. Prisoners, dressed in pink, stand trial before members of their community. Judges accord sentences, which vary widely, from returning to prison, to paying back the cost of goods stolen, to working in the fields of families of victims. Gacaca is expected to conclude in December 2008. For many, gacaca has been a vehicle for closure, and prisoners' testimonies have helped many families locate victims. Gacaca takes place once a week in the morning in every village across Rwanda, and is compulsory.

Ethnicity has been formally outlawed in Rwanda, in the effort to promote a culture of healing and unity. One can stand trial for discussion of the different ethnic groups.

Rwanda has become a President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) focus country, and the United States has been providing AIDS programming, education, training, and treatment. Rwandans who have been infected can now receive free antiretroviral drugs in health centers across the country, as well as food packages

Rwanda today

President Paul Kagame at the 2006 East African Community summit

Rwanda today struggles to heal and rebuild, but shows signs of rapid development. [24]

The major markets for Rwandan exports are Belgium, Germany, and People's Republic of China. In April 2007, an investment and trade agreement, four years in the making, was worked out between Belgium and Rwanda. Belgium contributes €25-35 million per year to Rwanda.[25] Belgian co-operation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry continues to develop and rebuild agricultural practices in the country. It has distributed agricultural tools and seed to help rebuild the country. Belgium also helped in re-launching fisheries in Lake Kivu, at a value of US$470,000, in 2001.[26]

In Eastern Rwanda, The Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, along with Partners in Health, are helping to improve agricultural productivity, improve water and sanitation and health services, and help cultivate international markets for agricultural products.[27][28]

Since 2000, the Rwandan government has expressed interest in transforming the country from agricultural subsistence to a knowledge-based economy, and plans to provide high-speed broadband across the entire country.[citation needed] Rwanda applied to join the Commonwealth of Nations in 2007 and 2009, a sign that is trying to distance itself from French foreign policy. In 2007, it applied unsuccessfully to join at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Kampala in Uganda, but was accepted into membership in 2009 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Explanatory notes

Much Rwanda scholarship revolves around arguments as to the origin of Tutsi, Hutu and Twa as distinct racial groups. For example, David Newbury rejects the migration thesis outright, but allows for "mobility" in which people of different physical stock arrived in the region, but without "an interpretation that relies on racial determinism or ethnic reification." In contrast, Gérard Prunier accepts the theory that the Tutsi came from outside the Great Lakes region and were at the time of their arrival a distinct racial group. (Mamdani, fn #38, p. 292)

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