Did The United Nations And The International Community Fail To Prevent The Rwandan Genocide?

1795 words - 7 pages

Did the United Nations and the International Community Fail to Prevent the Rwandan Genocide?In 1994 in a period of 100 days approximately 800, 000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists in what was undoubtedly the largest genocidal attack since the Jewish holocaust in the Second World War. The tragedy lay not only in the events which unfolded but the incredibly disappointing response from the rest of the world in terms of coming to the rescue. This essay will argue that the advent of the Rwandan genocide could have been prevented by the United Nations and the international community members who were signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was adopted by the UN in 1948 and enforced as of 1951 (United Nations 1948). The United Nations, formed in the wake of the second world war, in consideration of what the Jewish people of Europe had endured, had adopted a policy of "never again" in relation to genocide and made it an illegal act under International Law in which all signatories of the convention were to prevent and punish (United Nations 1948). This essay will examine the role of the UN assistance mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR), which was deployed prior to the Rwandan genocide. The essay will then discuss the work and pleas of UN force commander to the mission, General Roméo Dallaire. The world's response once the violence broke out which subsequently saw the UN forces withdrawn and no other forces sent in to assist the plight of the persecuted will be shown to be indicative of a failed response, before finally looking at the forces eventually sent to assist, too late and poorly equipped. The essay will then conclude with reference to the evidence given that the United Nations and the international community had the right, the means and the intelligence to have intercepted the violence and not only did they fail to act in a timely and appropriate manner, but completely abandoned the Rwandans in a time of need and by doing so failed to prevent exactly that which they had sworn they would never to come to pass again.The UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda was deployed in October of 1993 under the leadership of Cameroonian, Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, with Canadian General Roméo Dallaire as force commander. Initially UNAMIR was conceived to be a traditional peace keeping operation with the primary mandate of monitoring the observance of the Arusha Peace Agreement which had recently been signed by the two major parties, The Government of the Republic of Rwanda, which was predominantly Hutu, and the Rwandese Patriotic Front, which represented the Tutsis. Amongst other articles the agreement demanded a respect for plurality, democracy and national unity and as of 1993 included the cantonment, demobilisation and integration of the armed forces of the two parties (Findlay 2001, 276-284) (Organisation of African Unity 1993). UNAMIR was also to establish a...

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