excerpted from the book

Deliver Us from Evil

by William Shawcross

Touchstone Books, 2000, paper


Genocide in Our Time

O N the evening of April 6, 1994, the plane carrying the president of Rwanda, together with the president of Burundi, was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali, Rwanda's capital. Everyone aboard was killed. The assassinations proved the signal if not the cause of the third terrible genocide of the century-first Armenians, then Jews, now Rwandan Tutsis. (The mass murder of over a million Cambodians was committed by other Cambodians, the Khmer Rouge. 'Autogenocide" was an extralegal term invented to describe this pathology.)

Outside of intelligence agencies and the killers themselves, no one knows who fired the missile that brought down the presidents' plane. Among those who have since been blamed are the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF - the Tutsi-dominated rebel army-the Belgian government, the Hutu Presidential Guard and senior figures from the Rwandan army. In any case, the crash was used as an excuse by Hutu extremists to embark on their well-planned genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The next twelve weeks were among the most bloody in human history. One calculation is that the daily killing rate was five times that of the Nazi death camps.

In the grotesque final act of a four-year civil war, close to a million Tutsis are thought to have been murdered in brutal hand-to-hand attacks by Hutu soldiers and police and by their Hutu neighbors; the Rwandan Patriotic Front recommenced its war against the regime in Kigali.

Looked at another way, into these few weeks in Rwanda more human tragedy and far more deaths were compressed than had occurred in four years in the former Yugoslavia. This time the response of the outside world was even more restricted. Once again the United Nations appeared to stand by, impotent.

As in Yugoslavia, the world was quick to assign "ancient ethnic hatreds" or similar explanations to the genocide. But as in Yugoslavia such shorthand was often misleading. The violence in Yugoslavia and Rwanda may have had historical ethnic components, but it also had political drivers. Leaders exploited existing problems, attempted to transform them into crises and drove their countries deliberately to destruction for their own political ends. Violence was chosen; it was not inevitable.

Rwanda is about the size of Vermont-some ten thousand square miles-and is one of the most densely populated countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Its two principal peoples are the Tutsis and the Hutus, who share a common language, culture and political system. The Tutsis make up only about 10 percent of the population, but for centuries they had ruled over the Hutu majority. The Tutsis inevitably felt superior to the Hutus, but distinctions between the two groups were not rigid and there was intermarriage between them. In the early twentieth century the Germans set up a colonial administration based on the existing hierarchy. The Belgians, who replaced the defeated Germans after World War I, did the same, and the Tutsis used the levers of colonial authority to extend their hold over the Hutus. The Belgians allowed only Tutsis to hold official posts and obtain higher education, and introduced a system of identity cards showing ethnic affiliation. Hutu resentment grew, and after the death of an esteemed king in 1959 it exploded into violence; the Hutus overturned the monarchy, killed thousands of Tutsis and drove tens of thousands of Tutsis into exile.

After Rwanda gained independence from Belgium in 1962, exiled Tutsis tried to fight their way back into the country. The Hutu government used the attacks as a pretext to kill and drive away more Tutsis. The incursions and the killings ended in the late 1960s, but the government carried out the same sort of discrimination against the Tutsis as the monarchy had previously used against the Hutus. During the next thirty years the regime became more and more totalitarian and dedicated to excluding Tutsis from all positions of power. For twenty years from 1973 the regime was led by Juvenal Habyarimana, who set up a political movement called MRND (Mouvement Republicain National pour le Developpement, later called MRNDD, Mouvement Republicain National pour la Democratie et le Developpement) which was devoted to the promotion of the Hutus. In 1986, Tutsi exiles in neighboring Uganda helped Yoweri Museveni overthrow the government of Milton Obote. Museveni then encouraged the Tutsis to set up the rebel army called the Rwandan Patriotic Front in the refugee camps; in 1990 it invaded a corner of northeastern Rwanda and declared war on the regime in Kigali.

President Habyarimana had developed a dose relationship with French president Francois Mitered. By the early nineties, hundreds of well-armed and well-equipped French paratroopers were fighting alongside the mainly Hutu Rwandan army keeping the mainly Tutsi rebel army at bay. Among French motives was that the rebels, coming out of Uganda, were seen as part of an Anglo-Saxon attack on Francophone Africa. Rivalry between "la francophonie" and "les anglo-saxons, " promoted by Paris, was an important subtext to the tragedy.

Cease-fires were honored mostly in the breach. The Rwandan army began training militias and paramilitaries. The government repressed opposition and the press. The Organization of African Unity supported regional talks designed to persuade the Hutu-controlled government to deal with the Tutsi rebels and with moderate Hutus in Rwanda itself. The government bought arms from Egypt-underwritten by France-and from South Africa. In February 1993 the rebels launched a major offensive which was stopped outside Kigali with the help of the French troops stationed there.

That August the two sides finally seemed to come to a powersharing agreement signed in Arusha, a small town in Tanzania. Under the Arusha accords they agreed to a cessation of hostilities, the repatriation of refugees and the installation of what was called a Broad Based Transitional Government (BBTG), in which Habyarimana agreed to share power with the Hutu moderate opposition and the Tutsi-led RPF. The transitional government was to be set up within thirty-seven days. The rebel forces would be merged with the Rwandan army. The agreement also called for the deployment of a neutral international peacekeeping force within five weeks. The problem with the accord was that it carried ]the political support, particularly on the government side. The rebel delegation at Arusha had been much more effective and united than that sent by President Habyarimana. Hard-line Hutu groups in Rwanda saw Arusha as a setback that they should reject. Tensions remained high.

When human rights groups urged France and Uganda to cut off their arms supplies to the belligerents, France defended its role and Uganda denied it. Boutros-Ghali sent a team to Rwanda to assess how best to set up the peace force envisioned by Arusha. Its report, recommending two battalions of about five thousand men, took weeks to find its way to the top of the UN hierarchy. The Security Council, preoccupied with both Bosnia and Somalia, displayed no more sense of urgency. Resolution 872, setting up UNAMIR, the UN Assistance Mission to Rwanda, was passed by the Security Council on October 5, two days after the deaths of the eighteen American soldiers in Mogadishu. The U.S. now suggested a force of just five hundred for Rwanda. The council compromised and authorized the secretary general to deploy only one of the two battalions he had requested.

Soon after, Tutsi rebels in neighboring Burundi staged an abortive coup and killed the Hutu president. Tens of thousands of Hutus and Tutsis were killed by each other, and about 350,000 fled into southern Rwanda during a drought, adding enormously to that country's problems. All this increased Hutu paranoia against the Tutsis in Rwanda and reinforced the often odious and inciteful propaganda against the Tutsis on Hutu radio stations such as Radio Mille Collines. Some of the new refugees were recruited into the Interahamwe, the militia of the MRNDD Party, which became part of Hutu Power, the ideology of ethnic solidarity.

Boutros-Ghali appointedJacques-Roger Booh-Booh of Cameroon as his special representative in Rwanda. The UNAMIR force commander was a Canadian general, Romeo Dallaire. A good-looking, ramrod-straight soldier with short graying hair and a gray mustache, he arrived in mid-October. He was to become a lonely, brave and tragic hero in the drama of the coming months.

UNAMIR was from the start a poor relation of UNPROFOR in the former Yugoslavia. Dallaire wrote later that he was told by UN officials that Rwanda was not a strategic interest of any nation and that UNAMIR was to be conducted on the cheap." The Security Council mandate itself ordered the secretary general to seek economies in personnel and funding. "We never had sufficient funding to conduct our mission," Dallaire said. Five weeks was the deadline set by the Arusha accords for the deployment of a neutral international force. Five months later the required force was still not there. Dallaire was appalled.

From the start UNAMIR was hampered by serious shortcomings in equipment, personnel, training, intelligence and planning. Civilian staff took a long time to hire, let alone deploy; six months after the mission began they were still trickling in. The UN Development Program's resident coordinator was also supposed to coordinate humanitarian efforts, reintegrate demobilized soldiers and oversee national reconstruction. In Dallaire's view, he and his staff were unable to do so much. There were tensions among the UN civilian hierarchy, the major funding agencies and some nongovernmental organizations. All in all UNAMIR was much less proactive than it should have been; like UNTAC, its credibility was damaged by its tardiness, and it was unable to win the confidence of the various parties.

Worst of all was what Dallaire saw as "international indifference" to the Rwandan crisis. The peacekeeping operation was mandated but it was never adequately equipped. Dallaire was sent half battalions from Bangladesh and Belgium and a battalion from Ghana. This meant a command and control structure which was totally inefficient; far too few troops were available for operations. Such was the need for men that the Ghanaian battalion had to be deployed for two months without their equipment. The Bangladeshi transport company was short of trucks, and its engineer company had less than a third of the equipment it needed to carry out mine clearance and road repair. Its troops were unable to sustain themselves. They did not even have a kitchen. The Bangladeshis were unable to move themselves, let alone the Tunisian company attached to them. They were supposed to have twenty armored personnel carriers, but had only five in working order. There were no spare parts, manuals or mechanics to service these vehicles and the crews had never even fired their main weapons. UNAMIR's military observers deployed around the country had almost no communications.

UNAMIR's command was consumed by the daily logistics of sustaining both itself and the rebel battalion which arrived in the capital at the end of 1993. Under the Arusha accords, this battalion was to protect the Tutsi political leaders who were to be part of the Broad Based Transitional Government. The command was also severely taxed by the turmoil in Burundi and the resulting refugee crisis. Detailed planning and implementation were delayed.

The mission had no stocks of water, food, ammunition, fuel, lubricants or spare parts. Dallaire could not call up enough skilled mechanics or logisticians. National and local bureaucracies spent a lot of time negotiating pay rates. "Logistics," said Kofi Annan, "are the glue which binds fighting forces and makes them effective-or not." All in all, UNAMIR's logistics problems seriously hampered its operations. The Security Council had dispatched men from several nations in a state of readiness that was dose to a shambles and in which no nation would or should have ever deployed its forces. It was, Dallaire thought, bound to lead to disaster in the face of violence. He kept asking for help and so, he said, did Kofi Annan's peacekeeeping department at the UN in New York. It was not forthcoming. Since the resources provided were so desperately unmatched to the gravity of the growing crisis, Dallaire wondered whether it would have been better for the mission to withdraw rather than stay on, pretending it was effective.

On December 30, 1993, the secretary general reported to the Security Council that the parties had failed to establish the Broad Based Transitional Government and that the situation was very f agile. He urged that UNAMIR's second proposed battalion be deployed and stressed that if resources were not increased, UNAMIR's credibility would be damaged and the peace process jeopardized. On January 6, 1994, the council agreed to the second battalion.

Obstacles to progress grew all the time. Violence always seemed to disrupt any deadline. There was always a pretext for one or the other side to balk at implementing the process. Years later one particular cable from Dallaire became controversial after it was published by Philip Gourevitch, a writer for The New Yorker. On January 11, 1994, Dallaire reported to Annan's office in New York that "a very, very important government politician" had put him in touch with a Hutu informant, who said that he had been in charge of the previous Saturday's demonstrations, which had been intended to target deputies of opposition parties and Belgian soldiers; deputies were to be killed and the Belgians provoked and killed in the belief that this would lead to Belgian withdrawal from Rwanda, as had happened with the Americans in Somalia. According to the informant, the demonstrations were organized by government officials who also participated in them.

The informant was a former security guard of the president and was apparently paid handsomely to train the Interahamwe militia to kill Tutsis. They had 1,700 men in the capital. Since UNAMIR arrived he had trained about three hundred people in discipline, weapons, explosives and dose combat tactics. "Since UNAMIR mandate he has been ordered to register all Tutsis in Kigali," Dallaire cabled. "He suspects it is for their extermination. The example he gave was that in 20 minutes his personnel could kill up to 1000 Tutsis." The informant supported the opposition to the Rwandan Patriotic Front but not the killing of innocent people. He also said he believed the president did not have full control over all the factions in his party.

Dallaire wrote that the informant was prepared to reveal a cache of about 135 weapons. He had already distributed 110 others. He wanted a UN guarantee of protection for himself, his wife and four children. Dallaire said he was going to act within the next thirty-six hours, and though he admitted he had some reservations about the informant's sudden change of heart, and the accuracy of his information, he recommended that the informant be given protection.

In New York, there was reluctance. UNOSOM had been destroyed in Somalia by its attempts to seize arms. Iqbal Riza, who was handling Rwanda for Annan, sent an immediate response: "Information is cause for concern but there are certain inconsistencies. We must handle this information with caution." In a second cable he wrote that New York could not agree to the action Dallaire proposed "as it dearly goes beyond the mandate entrusted to UNAMIR under Res 872." Instead he instructed Dallaire and Booh-Booh to inform President Habyarimana of the threats by the Interahamwe: "You should assume he is NOT aware of these activities, but insist that he must immediately look into the situation and take the necessary action to ensure that these subversive activities are immediately discontinued and inform you within 48 hours of the measures taken in this regard, including the recovery of the arms which have been distributed."

Before seeing the president, Riza advised, Dallaire and Booh-Booh should see the ambassadors of Belgium, France and the United States and suggest that they make a similar de'marche to the president. Dallaire was asked to consult New York "if you have major problems with the guidance provided above. We wish to stress however that the overriding consideration is the need to avoid entering into a course of action that might lead to the use of force and unanticipated repercussions."

Dallaire and Booh-Booh met with the ambassadors the next morning. Dallaire reported back to New York, "They expressed serious concern and indicated they would consult with their capitals for instructions." The two men then went to see the Rwandan president to tell him that they assumed he was unaware of such activities and must look into them to make sure they were discontinued. They told him if there was any violence they would bring the matter to the attention of the Security Council immediately.

The president appeared alarmed, denied knowledge of the alleged activities of the militia and promised to investigate. Dallaire also complained about the harassment of both UNAMIR personnel and Rwandan civilians by the Hutu Power militia at the demonstrations on January 8.

For his part the president said how difficult it was proving to set up the Broad Based Transitional Government called for in the Arusha accords. He was very worried about the country's precarious finances.

Later that day Dallaire and his colleagues met again with the president and the national secretary of the MRNDD. Once again the UN officials shared their information about the threats from subversive groups in Kigali "as well as the storage and distribution of weapons to those groups. They both denied *...." Dallaire had the impression that they were bewildered and unnerved that the UN had obtained so much specific information, and he thought that as a result the weapons had been quickly distributed. But he also thought that confronting those accused by the informer was sensible and might force them to think of alternative ways of disrupting the peace process, particularly in the Kigali area. In an interoffice memo of January 21, Dallaire wrote that the political impasse in the country was raising ethnic tensions: "The vast amounts of weapons which have been freely distributed in the past are seemingly readily available. No overt offensive action has been taken [by UNAMIR] as of yet against these weapons caches, due to the ongoing political initiatives."

UNAMIR, he wrote, could not sustain even its current level of operations because all troops had been on duty since mid-December and were exhausted; vehicles were overused and undermaintained; VIPs on both sides needed extra protection. He thought things would get only worse and he expected more aggressive demonstrations which might "be aimed against UNAMIR as a good third party scapegoat." He feared that "UNAMIR does not have the size of force to cope with this scenario, nor does it have a logistics base to sustain operations.... The overall situation ... is ripe for increased turmoil and potential open conflict."

On February 2, Annan's office cabled Dallaire to agree that there was a "need for some concrete initiative to facilitate the recovery of illegal weapons" in Kigali. But they were concerned that any attempt to recover them throughout the country would be "ambitious if not unrealistic"-and perhaps not consistent with the mandate under Resolution 872.* Dallaire was told, 'We are prepared to authorize UNAMIR to respond positively on a case by case basis to requests by the government and the RPF for assistance in illegal arms recovery operations. It should be clearly understood however that while UNAMIR may provide guidance/advice for the planning of operations, it cannot repeat cannot take an active role in their execution. UNAMIR's role during the execution phase should be limited to a monitoring function." Crossing the Mogadishu line held too many risks.

On February 3, Dallaire informed the military adviser to the secretary general, his compatriot General Maurice Baril, at UN headquarters that grenade attacks by militias, banditry and illegal small demonstrations were causing unusual unrest in the capital, and as a result the defense and interior ministers had just asked that UNAMIR support the gendarmerie in collecting illegal arms and ammunition. They felt it was 'high time to stop the indiscriminate banditry...."

Dallaire wrote that as force commander he had a healthy skepticism of Rwandans bearing gifts, but the fact that all those involved in security matters had publicly asked for UNAMIR's help in supporting their efforts to crush the violence and banditry in Kigali meant that he should be given the authority to support the recovery of illegal arms and ammunition. He was not.

Years later, the Secretariat published an explanation of its failure to allow Dallaire to seize the arms and to inform the Security Council itself. It acknowledged, 'With hindsight, the Secretariat perhaps could have sounded the alarm bells more loudly. The Security Council could have been requested in January 1994 to reinforce UNAMIR and endow it with the appropriate mandate to undertake operations as the one envisaged by General Dallaire." But it also pointed out again that the basic problem was not lack of information but lack of will on the council.

Boutros-Ghali writes in his memoirs that he was not informed about Dallaire's cable at the time. He states that the Secretariat did not make more of it because " situations and alarming reports from the field, though considered with utmost seriousness by United Nations officials, are not uncommon within the context of peacekeeping operations." But, he asserts, the fact that Dallaire had informed the U.S., French and Belgian ambassadors meant that "the powers that could have acted to prevent the ensuing massacre . . . had indisputably and immediately been informed by the United Nations of the severity of the threat."

Iqbal Riza told Philip Gourevitdh in 1998, "We get hyperbole in many reports. If we had gone to the Security Council three months after Somalia, I can assure you no government would have said, 'Yes, here are our boys for an offensive operation in Rwanda.' "

Annan was criticized in newspaper articles for not doing more about Dallaire's information. He said later that no UN peacekeeping mission-not even the NATO force in Bosnia-had ever been given a disarmament mandate. "When a general is going to take an action he has first to make sure that he has the capacity-because if not, he will risk the lives of a lot of people including his own soldiers," Annan contended.

In any case, on February l0, 1994, Boutros-Ghali's senior political adviser, Chinmaya Gharekhan, informed the Security Council that the failure of the Rwandan parties to agree on the establishment of the transitional institutions had created a climate of tension and a worsening of the security situation. He said this raised questions about the commitment of the parties to the Arusha accords. The council took no action. Rwanda remained in a state of tension.

On April 6, within an hour of President Habyarimana's plane being shot down, the genocide began. It had been well prepared. The Presidential Guard and Hutu militiamen immediately set up roadblocks all over Kigali and started murdering Tutsis. Radio Mille Collines, the radio station of the Habyarimana clique which for months had been broadcasting hate propaganda against the Tutsis, immediately announced that the president had been killed by the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front and by UNAMIR Regardless of who killed Habyarimana, the fact remains that the organizers of the genocide were primed to exploit his death instantaneously. (In Burundi, whose president had also been killed in the crash, the army broadcast appeals for calm-and there was no explosion.)

The Presidential Guard had lists of people to kill. Their first targets were moderate Hums who did not subscribe to the racist paranoia of Hutu Power. Early on the morning of April 7, the house of the Hutu prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, was surrounded; she tried to jump over a garden wall but was caught and murdered.

At this moment another awful event, one which was crucial to the outside world and the international community, occurred. Ten Belgian soldiers had attempted vainly to protect the prime minister. They were captured and disarmed by hostile troops. They were then driven by soldiers to an army camp, tortured, murdered and mutilated. When the news reached Belgium a few hours later there was an understandable outcry and demands for the withdrawal of the rest of the Belgian contingent. This was just what Hutu Power had intended.

Gangs of Hutu assassins went on killing leading politicians, civil servants, journalists, human rights workers and other leaders of what is often today called civil society. Then they began the general attacks on all Tutsis, starting with men, youths and even the youngest boys. Educated Tutsis were in especial danger, just as educated Cambodians were attacked by the Khmer Rouge. But the killings were not discriminate; Hutu killers attempted to murder all Tutsis they could find. "You cockroaches must know you are made of flesh," declared one radio broadcaster quoted by Philip Gourevitdh in his book, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families. 'We won't let you kill; we will kill you," exulted the radio. By the hundreds, by the thousands, by the tens of thousands, Tutsis were macheted to death, burned alive, thrown dead or alive into pits and latrines, forced to murder their own friends and relatives.

Roadblocks were set up, telephone lines were cut, and disinformation as well as hatred was spewed forth by the radio stations controlled by Hutu organizers of the genocide. Early press reports accurately described the horror, though some of them ascribed it more to "ancient tribal hatreds" than to a carefully organized criminal campaign of genocide. After foreign journalists left the country and UNAMIR observers were evacuated from outlying areas, refugees were the principal source of information and press coverage was sporadic. But there were enough reports through April for the international community to be well aware of the scale of the disaster.

The Belgian foreign minister, Mark Eyskens, rushed to see Boutros-Ghali in Bonn. According to the secretary general, Eyskens said Belgium had decided to withdraw all its forces and he wanted the secretary general to withdraw all other UN troops as well. "Belgium was afflicted with 'the American syndrome': pull out at the first encounter with serious trouble," Boutros-Ghali wrote in his memoirs. The secretary general asked the Belgians to change their minds or, if they insisted on pulling out, to leave behind their heavy weapons for the use of other UNAMIR forces. Belgium refused to do even that. Boutros-Ghali wrote to the Security Council that the Belgian decision would make it very hard for UNAMIR to carry out its tasks effectively. He asked the council to replace the Belgians; otherwise UNAMIR might have to withdraw altogether.

Caution ruled. With the important exception of Ghana, governments ordered their troops to protect themselves first of all, even if that meant standing by and waiting as lightly armed drunken thugs hacked women and children to death. (Some Tutsis who had cash managed to purchase a quicker death by firearm.)

Dallaire was particularly distressed that within a week of the genocide, 1,500 well-trained French, Italian and Belgian troops, with several hundred U.S. Marines standing by in Burundi, flew into Kigali to evacuate expatriates and a few Rwandans, then left again at once. That the "emasculated" UN force had to face the clear and present dangers alone was, in Dallaire's view, "inexcusable by any human criteria."

He felt that both Rwanda and UNAMIR had been abandoned; UNAMIR had neither the mandate nor the supplies to face the disaster. He said later that he lacked defensive stores, ammunition, medical supplies and water, and had only survival rations that he called rotten or inedible. All of this, he thought, was "a description of inexcusable apathy by the sovereign states that made up the UN that is completely beyond comprehension and moral acceptability."

Definitions were important. It was dear to Dallaire, to other UN officials and to those few journalists in Rwanda that what was happening was a planned and deliberate campaign by Hutu Power to terrorize and murder Tutsis. It was genocide. Western human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and then Amnesty International declared it so. Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the pope did so, though more slowly than some human rights organizations wished. But major heads of state refused to follow suit.

Their reluctance was easy to explain. The 1949 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide requires its signatories to "prevent and punish" genocide-defined as acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group-as a crime against humanity. Among the many states party to the genocide convention are all the permanent members of the Security Council and Rwanda itself. The major powers continually shied away from any mention of genocide and the implications thereof

On April 17, Dallaire reported that the young Hutu militia were killing "to their own unruly/drugged tune. They are a very large, dangerous, and totally irrational group of people. Force commander considers them to be a most dangerous threat." He asked for a new mandate, arguing that the UN "cannot continue to sit on the fence in the face of all these morally legitimate demands for assistance/protection." But with his present troop numbers he could do nothing. He urged the quick reinforcement of UNAMIR to five thousand men and a change in its mandate that would allow him to enforce peace. The troops would be directed to stop the genocide, to assist refugees to return from Tanzania and Zaire, to deliver humanitarian aid, to assist in obtaining a cease-fire. A strengthened UNAMIR should in formal terms "re-establish peace and security, thereby facilitating a return to the Peace Process of the Arusha Accord and assisting in the establishment of a Broad Based Transitional Government," Dallaire wrote

This was undoubtedly a tall order in the midst of the bloodletting but Dallaire believed that with five battalions it would be possible. A subsequent study by the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict agreed with him. There would certainly be opposition by government forces or the Rwandan Patriotic Front, or perhaps even both, but Dallaire considered that it would be intermittent and sporadic rather than fully organized opposition by main force units of either side. The Carnegie group later suggested that the Division Ready Brigade of the American 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) possessed the firepower, staff capability, and combat support and logistics functions required.

Speed was of the essence to save lives. Any outside intervention would have had to take place before the end of April; after that the massacres had expanded across the countryside and far more troops would have been needed to stop them. If sufficient combat forces could have been introduced before the end of April and authorized to seize critical points throughout the country, the political calculations of the participants would have been changed completely. But no force could have been created without at least the United States taking the lead to generate resources and at least transporting the troops to Rwanda. The United States was interested in doing no thing.

In the third week of April, as the killings increased, Boutros-Ghali sent a report to the Security Council outlining three options: Dallaire's choice of immediate and massive reinforcement of UNAMIR with Chapter VII enforcement powers to stop the killing; downsizing of UNAMIR to 270 so that it would just act as an intermediary between the two sides and seek a cease-fire; and complete withdrawal The secretary general's spokesman said he preferred massive reinforcement. But it was already late in the day for this.

There was no enthusiasm for real intervention. The British permanent representative, Sir David Hannay, said at one Security Council meeting that reinforcing UNAMIR would only mean a repetition of Somalia with its well-known and dire consequences." He was against pulling out the whole mission as this would have "a negative impact on public opinion." The U.S. delegate, Ambassador Karl Inderfurth, spoke of "a strong feeling in Washington" that the peacekeeping force "was not appropriate now and never will be." By contrast, the Nigerian ambassador, Ibrahim Gambari, said that tens of thousands of civilians were dying. "Has Africa dropped from the map of moral concern?" he asked.

Kofi Annan and others in the peacekeeping department spent many hours on the telephone and in meetings with delegates trying to persuade countries to contribute troops. Later Annan said that he had spoken to representatives of about one hundred different governments at this time. The replies were not encouraging. He agreed that Dallaire could save hundreds of thousands of lives with five thousand troops. "He did not have the capacity not because it did not exist but because the will to provide men, the will to act was not there," Annan stated in 1998.

On April 21 the Security Council met to decide the fate of UNAMIR. The council, by macabre coincidence, included the government of Rwanda at this time. Its representative continued to serve the self-proclaimed regime which took power on the death of Habyadmana. He was allowed to speak and to vote on resolutions concerning Rwanda, despite the convention that representatives should not play an active role in considering conflicts in their own states. By this stage the regime was in favor of the return of UN forces to enforce a cease-fire; the rebels, on the other hand, were advancing on Kigali and wanted no intervention of UN troops between the two armies.

Madeleine Albright and other U.S. officials argued that the mass killings were being caused by renewed warfare. In fact, the genocide had led the Rwandan Patriotic Front to renew its attack upon the government precisely in order to try to end the mass killing. In the end, Washington compromised and argued for a token UN force to remain. This was largely because the public relations implications of total withdrawal in the face of what was now being widely called genocide (even while U.S. officials squirmed to avoid the word) were so awful. The Security Council rejected the idea of reinforcements, ordered UNAMIR cut down to a token force of 270 men and restricted its mandate to mediation and humanitarian aid.

On April 29, Boutros-Ghali wrote to the Security Council stressing that UNAMIR's revised mandate would not enable it to bring the massacres under control. He urged the council to reexamine its decision of April 21 and to consider what action, including forceful action, the council could take, or authorize member states to take, in order to restore law and order and to end the massacres.

Still the killing went on, with its organized nature now dear to the outside world. Hums were exhorted by the leaders of Hutu Power and by the radio to kill. "Take your spears, clubs, guns, swords, stones, everything," said a typical broadcast. "Sharpen them, hack them, those enemies, those cockroaches.... Hunt out the Tutsi. Who will fill up the half-empty graves? There is no way the rebels should find alive any of the people they claim as their own." A secret US. Defense Intelligence Agency report stated: "There is an organized effort of genocide being implemented." Washington and London still turned away. In response to the horror, other members of the Security Council-Czechoslovakia, New Zealand and Spain- began to urge that UNAMIR be reinforced.

On May 9, Boutros-Ghali submitted a "nonpaper" (a deniable discussion paper printed without identification of the author) to the Security Council proposing to expand UNAMIR to 5,500 troops along the lines Dallaire had urged weeks before. A vote was scheduled for May 13. Albright had it postponed. She said on May 11, 'We have serious reservations about proposals to establish a large peace enforcement mission," and said it was unclear what it was to do. Boutros-Ghali later commented, "Of course, Albright and everyone else knew perfectly well that the mission was to stop the genocide then in progress. The behavior of the Security Council was shocking, it meekly followed the United States lead in denying the reality of the genocide."

On May 17-almost six weeks after the mass murders began-the Security Council did vote through Resolution 918, which would enlarge UNAMIR to 5,500 men, but at US. insistence it authorized the secretary general to deploy only one infantry battalion (800 men). The council indicated that it would further review the situation before authorizing the deployment of the rest of the force. From then on, the United States acted to delay deployment. A group of African countries offered to send an intervention force, and the UN asked Washington to provide fifty armored personnel carriers. The Clinton administration eventually agreed, but demanded that the UN pay $15 million to Washington. Boutros-Ghali asked Washington to jam the inflammatory broadcasts of Radio Mille Collines; he said he was told that it would be too expensive.

Meanwhile Dallaire and his few men were, Dallaire wrote later, "standing knee deep in mutilated bodies, surrounded by the guttural moans of dying people, looking into the eyes of children bleeding to death with their wounds burning in the sun and being invaded by maggots and flies. I found myself walking through villages where the only sign of life was a goat, or a chicken, or songbird, as all the people were dead, their bodies being eaten by voracious packs of wild dogs." For the first crucial eight weeks he had had an inadequate mandate, no reinforcement and only one unreliable phone line to the outside world. "I felt the ghost of Gordon of Khartoum waiting over me," Dallaire wrote. "Dying in Rwanda without sign or sight of relief was a reality we faced on a daily basis."

The Security Council, Dallaire said, "floundered in the face of mounting heaps of bodies growing daily.... As long as these states procrastinated, bickered, and cynically pursued their own selfish foreign polices, the UN and UNAMIR could do little to stop the killing...."

The French intervened. Through April and May reinforcements of the Tutsi rebel army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, fought their way toward Kigali. In mid-June they neared the capital and total victory. France's traditional Hutu allies faced total defeat. Paris had always seen the Tutsi-led RPF as a stooge of Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, and, through him, of Washington and of the wider 'Anglo-Saxon world." The prospect of an RPF victory dismayed many French officials, who argued that Rwanda would be only the first domino to fall to "les anglo-saxons," and that Burundi and Zaire would be toppled next. Central Africa could become a Trojan horse projecting 'Anglo-Saxon" influence throughout France's client regimes, known as "la francophonie".

The French now proposed a unilateral Chapter VII enforcement mission to the Security Council. There was reluctance among some members of the council, and others elsewhere who were wary of France's involvement with the Hutu leadership. Nonetheless, a majority of the council, aware of how little anyone had done for Rwanda so far, approved France's "humanitarian" mission.

The 2,500 French troops of Operation Turquoise arrived in southwest Rwanda in early July, after most of the killings, but they may have saved up to 15,000 Tutsis. Leaders of the RPF were convinced that the French were at least as interested in saving the remnants of the Hutu regime, from whose extremist wing the genocide sprang, as in saving innocent lives. Indeed, the French made few bones about it; they declared the area of southwest Rwanda that they with their Senegalese partners occupied a "safe zone." Even former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing asked, "Safe for whom?" and accused the government in Paris of "protecting some of those who had carded out the massacres."

In Kigali, with only five hundred UN troops, General Dallaire watched the French deployment with incredulity if not dismay. After all, until quite recently the French had been helping the Rwandan army fight the RPF. Operation Turquoise and UNAMIR had the same master-the Security Council-and Franco-African soldiers served in both forces. Predictably, the RPF reacted violently against UNAMIR troops, who were now entirely deployed behind RPF lines. Dallaire had to evacuate his Franco-African troops as fast as he could from Rwanda, thus further weakening UNAMIR. He thought the fact that the UN had sanctioned two operations, one peacekeeping and one peace enforcement, in the same country at the same time and with almost no coordination showed, above all, "individual states running roughshod over the Secretariat and even the Security Council."

By August the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front army had swept through most of Rwanda and was able to set up a government in Kigali. The Hutu leaders of the genocide fled across the borders into Burundi, Tanzania and then Zaire, forcing or encouraging the population of hundreds of villages and towns to come with them. The motive was clear: one senior army officer said, "The RPF will rule over a desert," and the leader of an extremist party declared, "Even if the RPF has won a military victory, it will not have the power. It has only the bullets; we have the population."

The flood of refugees captured international attention and concern in a way which the unseen massacres inside Rwanda never did. By mid-July there were some two million people squatting in appalling conditions just outside Rwanda. Almost a million people crossed into Tanzania over four horrible weeks in July. Cholera broke out in several camps, and in one, in Goma, Zaire, fifty thousand people had to be buried.

The exiles fell under the care of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and hundreds of Western nongovernmental organizations, which swooped down into eastern Zaire and Tanzania to set up their tents and their banners to save lives. For the next two and a half years these camps were sustained by the same world which had proved incapable of intervening in Rwanda to stop the genocide.

The Hums in effect built a government in exile in the camps; Hutu towns and villages had been transplanted across the border. Shops, discos, brothels all operated in the camps much as they had at home in Rwanda. Arms trafficking was better; the Hutu militias sold international aid on the black market to buy weapons, they recruited troops from among the camp populations they terrorized and they mounted increasingly fierce attacks into Rwanda.

In November, fifteen of the more serious nongovernmental organizations in the camps in Goma complained that UNHCR was quite unable to fulfill its mandate of protecting and assisting refugees because everyone in the camps was hostage to the extremist leadership.

Medecins sans Frontieres (France) was one of the first nongovernmental organizations actually to pull out, saying, "The continued diversion of humanitarian aid by the same leaders who orchestrated the genocide, the lack of effective international action regarding impunity, and the fact that the refugee population was being held hostage, presented a situation contradictory with the principles of humanitarian assistance."

Other agendas left also, but there were always new ones to take their place. Humanitarianism has a commercial imperative. "The humanitarian machinery was running at top speed, and I think everyone enjoyed that," Romy Brauman, the former head of Medecins sans Frontieres, told John Pomeret of the Washington Post. "The problem was that we were bringing massive help to the criminals. All of our resources went through their hands, allowing them to strengthen their power over the refugees. This humanitarian operation was a total ethical disaster."

The International Rescue Committee, an American organization, also pulled out-the first time in its sixty-four-year history it had done such a thing. Roy Williams, a senior vice president of IRC, said it was a terrible decision to make because it cost innocent lives in the camps. "Still, the whole aid community has been overtaken by a new reality. Humanitarianism has become a resource . . . and people are manipulating it as never before. Sometimes we just shouldn't show up for a disaster."

Sadako Ogata argued that UNHCR did not have the luxury of leaving. "So long as there were people who had crossed an international border in an asylum situation, I didn't have the freedom to leave them, however complicated the group was," she said. But UNHCR officials became more and more desperate.

The Hutu leaders in the camps spread propaganda about real and alleged atrocities committed by the new Rwandan government against the Hums, and threatened those who nonetheless still expressed an interest in returning home. There were grounds for criticism of the new RPF government in Kigali. It sometimes seemed that it ignored revenge killings; a UNHCR report that detailed the extent of these was suppressed because Western governments, guilty over their failure to prevent the genocide, were reluctant to criticize the new regime. Inevitably, that regime was composed almost exclusively of Tutsi exiles, many of whom had either lived outside the country since the 1960s or had been born abroad. It was very much a minority regime, whose members had never known government before, attempting to restore a shocked, mutilated society. The economy had collapsed; there was no local or central administration because a large proportion of those who had run it had been murdered or were gone. On top of that, 800,000 Tutsi exiles had come back home with the victorious RPF. They all needed homes. Property rights became a major and contentious issue. Apart from the two million in refugee camps, another million Hums were in camps for displaced people inside Rwanda.

There was no functioning judicial system, so while tens of thousands of Hums were held in horrific prisons and detention centers, no trials of those guilty of the genocide took place. In November 1994 an international war crimes tribunal on Rwanda was established in Arusha. Important though its symbolism was, it could deal with only a tiny fraction of those responsible for the mass murder of the Tutsis and moderate Hums.

The Hutu-run camps were dearly a "threat to peace and security," but for two years the Security Council did nothing about them.

Boutros-Ghali informed the council that a force of up to twelve thousand men would be needed to separate the genuine refugees from the murderous leaders. Just to try to establish minimal security without separation would take between three thousand and five thousand men. Only Bangladesh offered to send troops for even this lesser option. In desperation, Kofi Annan commissioned a study from ADL, a British company, on subcontracting a private security service to control the camps. A group of South African mercenaries, Executive Outcomes, was a possibility. This suggestion could have been quickly implemented, but Annan was told that the United Nations could not subcontract in this manner. Eventually UNHCR employed a Zairean police contingent, but it was hardly adequate.

The dilemma for UNHCR, and indeed for the UN in general, was a familiar one. As Mrs. Ogata pointed out, international responses to internal conflicts and the resulting humanitarian crises are usually of a reactive and ad hoc nature: 'As a refugee crisis fades from the front pages of the newspapers and CNN, we witness an evaporation of international concern, financial contributions and political involvement. No international humanitarian organization or NGO can solve political conflicts.... We need political will, the involvement of governments and their leaders, of the UN and regional organizations, to maintain and build peace." On the borders of Rwanda they did not get it.

The way in which the world responded at all stages-before the genocide, during the genocide and after the genocide-was not just partial, it was counterproductive. Halfhearted and ineffectual intervention and the deliberate confusion of humanitarianism and politics kill. Boutros-Ghali pointed out later that not so long ago the world had said "never again" to genocide. "But here was genocide once more; in Cambodia, where more than a million victims fell to the Khmer Rouge; in the former Yugoslavia, where genocide was called 'ethnic cleansing'; in Somalia, where genocide by starvation resulted when warlords deliberately withheld food aid from the starving and sick and where 350,000 died before the Security Council decided to step in. In Rwanda close to a million people were killed in what was genocide without doubt; yet the Security Council did nothing."

In early 1999 Annan commissioned a report on the United Nations' role in the genocide, which was due to be published at the end of that year. Till then the most comprehensive study was the eight hundred-page report written for Human Rights Watch by Alison Des Forges and published in spring 1999. Des Forges documented conclusively both the organized nature of the genocide and the sloth with which the world reacted. "The Americans were interested in saving money, the Belgians were interested in saving face, and the French were interested in saving their ally, the genocidal government," wrote Des Forges. 'All that took priority over saving lives." She pointed out that, to be effective, "international interventions must be prompt, strong, and smart."

General Dallaire asked, "Did the ineffectiveness of the UN mission in grasping the situation and poor handling of the political, humanitarian and military response in extremis abet the genocide?" It was an alarming question. So was Dallaire's answer.

"I believe it did."

Dallaire's belief was underwritten by the devastating independent report which Annan published at the end of 1999.* It found that the United Nations had failed the people of Rwanda at every level. Its "overriding failure . . . was the lack of resources and political will to stop the genocide. UNAMIR was not planned, dimensioned, deployed or instructed in a way which would have enabled the mission to stop the genocide. UNAMIR was also the victim of a lack of political will in the Security Council and on the part of Member States." The inquiry described errors of judgment on the part of officials, including Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan, and UNAMIR personnel. And "there was a lack of will to identify the massacres in Rwanda as a genocide which was deplorable."

As if that was not enough, the failure of the international community to do anything but apply an inappropriate humanitarian poultice to the Rwandan refugee crisis in 1994, 1995 and 1996 led directly to a new and appalling refugee crisis in 1997 in which up to 200,000 people may have been killed, the war over Zaire, the replacement of a bad government there with one that sometimes appeared even worse and then the so-called Great War of Africa, which engulfed up to fourteen countries of Central Africa in 1998 and 1999.

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