Around 800,000 1 people were killed in Rwanda between 6 April 1994, when President Juvenal Habyarimana was assassinated, and 18 July 1994, when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) declared victory and formed a new government. Some 10,000–50,000 Hutu supporters of opposition parties were targeted, but the vast majority of those killed were civilians from the minority Tutsi community. The perpetrators
All MSF staff working in Rwanda when President Habyarimana was assassinated on 6 April 1994 had left the country by 24 April 1994. Before deciding to pull out, some teams tried to provide medical care to the wounded. The Butare team, the last to go, left via Burundi after the killing of their patients and some Rwandan staff members. Burundian refugee camps, camps for Rwandan displaced
When hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees began flooding into Tanzania and Zaire in the spring and summer of 1994, MSF’s management and field teams had two reasons to be concerned. Mortality rates in the vast camps set up in Tanzania and then Zaire were indeed catastrophically high at first. Before April 1994, it had taken several months for humanitarian organisations
In October 1982, MSF set up operations for the first time in Rwanda after Ugandan President Milton Obote expelled 40,000 Kinyarwanda speakers (Hutus and Tutsis) deemed hostile to the government. 1 Rwanda called them ‘Kinyarwanda-speaking Ugandans’ and opposed their entry into its territory. 2 At the request of the UNHCR, MSF began providing in cooperation with the
Throughout the 1990s, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was forced to face the challenges posed by the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis and a succession of major outbreaks of political violence in Rwanda and its neighbouring countries. Humanitarian workers were confronted with the execution of close to one million people, tens of thousands of casualties pouring into health centres, the flight of millions of others who had sought refuge in camps and a series of deadly epidemics. Where and in what circumstances were the MSF teams deployed? What medical and non-medical assistance were they able to deliver? Drawing on various hitherto unpublished private and public archives, this book recounts the experiences of the MSF teams working in the field. It also describes the tensions (and cooperation) between international humanitarian agencies, the crucial negotiations conducted at local, national and international level and the media campaigns. The messages communicated to the public by MSF’s teams bear witness to diverse practical, ethical and political considerations. How to react when humanitarian workers are first-hand witnesses to mass crimes? How to avoid becoming accomplices to criminal stratagems? How to deliver effective aid in situations of extreme violence?
This book is intended for humanitarian aid practitioners, students, journalists and researchers with an interest in genocide and humanitarian studies and the political sociology of international organisations.
In 1994 and during the years that followed, humanitarian workers found themselves first-hand witnesses to genocide and mass killings, not only in Rwanda but also in those countries with which it shares a border. Unprecedented in the history of humanitarian action since decolonisation, the experiences of these aid workers remain just as much of an exception now as they were in the
In 1995, the leaders of the Tutsi genocide had free reign in Zaire and set about marshalling their partisans in the refugee camps. Embarking on a combat strategy, they launched increasingly frequent and murderous incursions into Rwanda where they targeted civilians. In October and November 1996, the RPA, with the help of Zairian rebels, destroyed all the camps set up in North
MSF’s teams had been operating in the African Great Lakes region for more than ten years before the genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis. The organisation’s first operation was delivering assistance to victims of famine in north-west Uganda in 1980. It subsequently maintained its presence in Uganda and neighbouring countries Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zaire ensuring emergency
-Cold War era, in response to violent wars in the Balkans and Rwanda, the UN Security Council established two ad hoc Tribunals; the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which in turn paved the way for the subsequent establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). As a challenge to long evolved
court decision shows that soldiers can be held accountable not only for participating directly in war crimes, but also for facilitating them indirectly. The example of the Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, the commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), the ill-fated United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda, raises the same questions as the case from Srebrenica. In 1994, the world witnessed the