By 1994, a majority of the population of Rwanda comprised of three main ethnic groups, the Hutu, the Tutsi and the Twa. Within the Hutu majority of the population there was an extremist group among the political powers that blamed the Tutsi minority for the countries social, economic and political issues. The Tutsi people were being accused of supporting a rebel group within the nation called RPF; the Rwandan Patriotic Front increased the division between the Hutu and the Tutsi over many years. After the Hutu’s had been under the rule if the Tutsi for many years they feared the minority.
On April 6, 1994 the Hutus began to kill the Tutsi’s and much of the world stood idly by watching the destruction being down within Rwanda. The Rwandan genocide lasted about 100 days causing Belgium to withdraw its troops from the nation after ten Belgian peacekeepers were killed trying to protect the Belgian ...view middle of the document...
Within the weeks following April 6. 1994 800,000 men, women and children were killed, some Tutsi and some Hutu, but all because of political opposition. The genocide did not end until the Tutsi rebel group RPF defeated the HUTU majority resulting in a new President; President Paul Kagame to take control. Ultimately the Rwandans were responsible for what occurred within their country; however I personally believe that the rest of the world holds a certain amount of accountability because they failed to stop what they knew was happening.
On April 11, 1994 the United States and the United Nations Security Council voted to withdraw 90% of the peacekeepers in Rwanda, meanwhile the Human Rights Campaign was urging the United Nations to use the term “genocide” which would essentially oblige the rest of the U.N. to act. A U.S. Defence Department discussion warns, “Be careful… a genocide finding could commit us to actually ‘do something.’" as found on PBS Frontline Ghosts of Rwanda.
While reading “A people betrayed: the role of the west in Rwanda's genocide” written by Linda Melvern, I found that the head of UN peacekeeping, Kofi Annan, said, “we are watching people being deprived of the most fundamental of rights, the right to life, and yet we seem a bit helpless ...". On May 25th, 1994, the death total had reached 392,000 and President Clinton, in a speech about American policy on humanitarian action said: “Whether we get involved… in the end must depend on the cumulative weight of the American interests at stake.”
I found that while I continued in my research to determine whether the United States was justified to not intervene the more and more evidence I find that there should have been more done in the early stages prior to the genocide that could have potentially prevented much of the slaughter. Much after the Rwandan genocide, in March 2013, Bill Clinton spoke with CNN News in an article titled “ …we could have saved 300,000 lives in Rwanda.” This article's title and the recency alone was enough to capture my attention.