Friday 11 April 2014

Rwanda + 20

This week Rwanda has been marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide of 1994, in which 800,000 people were murdered in just 100 days – the fastest mass murder in history.

While the Nazis favoured industrial methods of extermination, this one was carried out with low-tech weapons, notably the machete, though some victims were allowed to be shot instead, if they paid. The murderers were Hutu supremacists; their victims Tutsis and sometimes moderate Hutus.

A United Nations international tribunal based in Tanzania has tried more than 70 people in connection with the events of 1994. So far, 29 have been convicted. Another 11 trials are in progress, and 14 people are in detention awaiting trial, while 13 suspects are still at large.

Although last month, a French court sent Rwanda’s former spy chief to gaol for 25 years for his part in the genocide, the Rwandan government still accuses France of complicity in the killings, and France’s Justice Minister cancelled her plans to attend the commemorations in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. For the full story, see A Disastrous History of the World.

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