Devastating Massacre

Genocide is defined as “acts with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such” (Kroslak 2008, 10). The 1994 genocide was triggered on April 6th, 1994 by the death of Hutu Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana. Tutsis were blamed for the attack, so the Hutu Power group began recruiting for the massacre starting with military officials, politicians, and businessmen until most people joined. However, it is still widely unknown which individuals accept the responsibility for the killings. Local authorities played a major part in the organization of ensuring that the genocide was carried out. Mayors and other officials gathered and influenced the local Hutu population to kill the Tutsis, as well as taking part in the slaughter. Many high officials plotted the massacres of Tutsi refugees, which led to 800,000 Tutsis slaughtered by their own government. But even neighbors turned on neighbors, students on teachers, and families divided into violent factions.

The genocide was seen as a planned and implemented attack about which many other countries had been aware. There were warnings as early as 1991 given directly to the heads of the UN. The Belgians played an important role in Rwanda because the genocide was formed from this growing animosity from the earlier years of politically dividing the country into these two ethnic groups. The majority of the Hutu population moved to destroy the minority Tutsis. Hutu civilians were forced to kill their innocent Tutsis neighbors from control of military, or they would be killed themselves. The Hutus were told that if they killed the Tutsis, they would get their lands and plantations, which ended up not being true. Three out of every four Tutsis were killed during these one hundred days with machetes and clubs. Many previously law-abiding Hutu became murderers out of the crime of obedience. “It was a genocide that happened in front of the eyes of the world and no one came to rescue the victims” (Kroslak 2008, 55).


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