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The Rwandan government and the RPF signed a cease-fire in July 1992 and the first protocol of the Arusha Accords the next month, but progress to peace was one step forward and two steps back. On August 17, 1992, the day after the protocol was signed, Habyarimana declared on the radio that he would not permit negotiators to “lead our country into an adventure it would not like.”1 Three days later, MRND and CDR supporters killed dozens of Tutsi and members of parties opposed to Habyarimana in the Kibuye massacre described above. During these weeks, the president was apparently conducting private negotiations with the RPF through a Jesuit priest, seeking to obtain assurance of a amnesty for himself in return for his resignation. As it was becoming clear that these talks would lead nowhere, Habyarimana and his supporters learned that more than a million dollars worth of arms had been seized in Orlando, Florida. They supposed that these arms, apparently en route to Kampala, were meant to resupply the RPF and they anticipated an RPF attack at the end of September or beginning of October.2 It may have been these events which prompted the Rwandan army high command to disseminate on September 21 its memorandum defining the enemy, which had been sitting in a drawer for a number of months. In mid-October, the MRND ministers indicated that the government was divided over peace negotiations and three days later, the CDR took to the streets to protest the talks. At the end of October, nonetheless, the Rwandan government and the RPF signed the second part of the Arusha Accords. Two weeks later, Habyarimana disavowed the agreements in his “scrap of paper” declaration, and a week after that MRND propagandist Mugesera invited his fellow party members to engage in mayhem against Tutsi and Hutu opposed to the MRND.3

At the end of December 1992, the MRND (with Habyarimana as party president), the CDR, and several allied smaller parties issued a vigorous rejection of the Accords, calling it “a plan for treason” which “[we] must prepare to defeat.”4Two weeks later, the Rwandan government agreed to another part of the Accords, the one which decided political arrangements for the transitional period before elections. But not quite two weeks after that, the secretary-general of the MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, again denounced the Accords, a position echoed several days later by Habyarimana himself who said that certain provisions must be re-negotiated.5 The MRND and CDR mobilized their followers in the streets to protest the agreement and launched the January 1993 massacre, described above, to disrupt the whole peace process.

He Who Wishes for Peace Prepares for War


Even as peace talks lurched uncertainly forward, the Rwandan army prepared for further war. After having obtained U.S.$6 million worth of arms from Egypt the previous March, the Ministry of Defense took delivery of a further U.S.$5.9 million worth of arms and ammunition from South Africa on October 19, 1992. The March purchase included some 450 Kalashnikov rifles, a standard infantry assault weapon and the one then used by most Rwandan soldiers, and the October purchase included 20,000 R-4 rifles. At the time of the March purchase, the Rwandan army also bought two thousand rocket-propelled grenades, which require a significant amount of instruction to use effectively, but no hand grenades; in October they purchased 20,000 hand grenades, which could be used by persons with relatively little training.6

The October purchase of small arms seems remarkably large, given that the armed forces then numbered some 30,000 men and was not being expanded. Any recruitment then being carried out was just to replace deserters.7 Although there were perhaps a thousand or so deserters per year, they did not all leave with their guns, and arming their replacements did not require 20,000 new weapons.8

Some of the newly purchased weapons may have been intended for resale to other governments but thousands of them were distributed to members of the armed forces, making possible the recycling of their weapons to communal police and ordinary citizens.9

Not quite two weeks after the first part of the peace accords was signed, burgomasters were ordered to prepare lists of materials needed by their local police, usually a force of ten or so policemen and ordinarily armed lightly, if at all. Several burgomasters submitted unremarkable requests for raincoats and handcuffs, but others, perhaps alerted to the possibilities by some unofficial communication, presented very different lists. The burgomaster of Nyamagabe reported that his police needed three Kalashnikov rifles and one BREN machine gun with amunition. The burgomaster of Nshili—who had been successfully brought back to the MRND by the kubohoza described above—asked for twelve automatic weapons and six other arms as well as 1,000 bullets of one kind and fifty of another. The burgomaster of Mudasomwa, one of the first communes to launch genocidal killing in April 1994, requested eight automatic weapons and two pistols.10

At this time, the training and arming of communal police was supervised by Col. Alphonse Ntezeliyayo, who was seconded from the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of the Interior. Colonel Ntezeliyayo, originally from the southern prefecture of Butare, was apparently not well-regarded by his colleagues from the north, who taxed him with being too accommodating to Tutsi and Hutu dissidents, a position he would change during the genocide.11

Presumably at Ntezeliyayo’s direction, authorities began in January 1993 to distribute new weapons to some communes considerably in excess of the number of policemen who were slated to use them. The commune of Ngoma, in the prefecture of Butare, added eight new Kalashnikovs to its supply of twenty-six rifles and at the same time received 960 bullets. Six months later, it received anadditional 144 bullets, although it had used only fifteen.12 At the time, the commune had eighteen policemen, an unusually large force because it served the needs of the important town of Butare, but not one that would have required thirty-four rifles. Given the severe financial problems of the government and the cost of firearms, it is unlikely that a surplus of sixteen rifles was simply stored in Ngoma without some plans for their use.13


The distribution of arms to the communes, presumably for the communal police but apparently for others as well, indicates that some highly placed military officers anticipated fighting an “enemy” dispersed in the population, not just concentrated on a war front. In the months that the arms were being distributed, both civilian and military authorities were gathering information on the “enemy” and where to find him.

In September and October 1992, prefects relayed secret orders to the burgomasters to compile lists of people who were known to have left the country surreptitiously. The lists, for “the purpose of security” were to include complete identification and were to be provided urgently. The prefects told the burgomasters to remove the registration cards of these people from the usual file and to put them aside until further instructions.14 Burgomasters were providing lists of “persons who joined the ranks of the inkotanyi” at least through August 1993.15 In his November 1992 speech, Mugesera several times attacked families that permitted their children to go join the RPF, insisting that these people should leave Rwanda while they still could, because “the time has come for us also to defend ourselves.” Mugesera asked the crowd, “Why do we not arrest these parents who have senttheir children away and why do we not exterminate them?” A moment later, he continued,

I would like to tell you that we are now asking for those people to be put on a list and for them to be brought to court so that they can be judged before us. If they [the judges] refuse...we should do it ourselves by exterminating this scum.16

In late September or early October 1992, the army general staff directed all units and military camps to provide lists of all people said to be “accomplices” of the RPF. When the order came to light in February 1993, Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye, protested against this “witch hunt” and demanded that any lists so compiled be turned over immediately to the Ministry of Justice for appropriate action.17 His initiative was apparently ignored by the military.

Several weeks later, the chief of staff, Colonel Nsabimana—the same man who had signed the September 21 letter circulating the definition of the enemy—was injured in an automobile accident. After he was taken to the hospital, a document was found in his car entitled cynically “Memo for the Protection of Human Rights” (Aide-Mémoire pour la protection des droits de la personne). It included a “list of persons to contact” (Personnes á contacter), 331 persons thought to be supporters of the RPF. The notes for some persons gave a brief description of the charges against them as well as their names and locations. Some were accused of having allowed their children to go abroad to join the RPF, others of having held suspicious meetings of Tutsi in their houses or of having stockpiled arms for the RPF. Several were named because they had been detained as “accomplices” in the October 1990 arrests.18 In the prefecture of Butare, and presumably in other prefectures as well, lists had been kept of all local people arrested in 1990. Some of the lists had been brought up to date with more current information about thepersons named.19 All these lists offered a ready source of information for any who wanted to attack Tutsi and Hutu opponents of Habyarimana.

As the existence of some of these lists became publically known, people from all sides found it increasingly easy to believe rumors of other lists and adversaries frequently traded accusations about such compilations. During the genocide, assailants often justified killing Tutsi by claiming that they had found lists of Hutu marked for execution on the person or property of their intended victims. Many such accusations were false, although some RPF supporters did apparently make lists of likely backers or opponents as part of the data about local communities that they supplied to the RPF.20

The Militia and “Self-Defense”

Beginning in March 1992 the Interahamwe had proved their effectiveness in attacking Tutsi and Hutu who supported the MDR, the PSD, or the PL. Foreseeing the role they could play against such “enemies” in case of renewed combat, Habyarimana and his supporters stepped up the recruitment and training of the militia. Hoping to keep the effort secret, they sent the recruits to training camps distant from the capital. One was at Gabiro, near a hotel in the Akagera game park, and another was in the northwestern Gishwati forest, adjacent to the Hotel Mont Muhe, which belonged to Habyarimana and his circle. The recruits at Gishwati lived in tents in the forest and were visited on the weekends by important MRND officials and businessmen who came up from Kigali to cheer them on. According to a witness present on one such occasion in January 1993, the hotel staff killed and roasted a cow to honor the visitors and the trainees. The tired and sweaty recruits came out of the forest fifteen or so at a time to enjoy the barbecue and plentiful beer. After several groups had eaten, they gathered the remaining food and drink and transported it into the forest in a pickup truck for their fellow trainees. When the festivities were finished, the dignitaries spent the night at the Mont Muhe Hotel or at hotels in the nearby town of Gisenyi.21

The militia, however, were limited by their close identification with the MRND. They would not seek to recruit—or would not in any case be able to recruit successfully—young men committed to other parties. Because of the bitterness of past kubohoza struggles, members of other parties regarded them with suspicion and sought to discover and expose their training programs, particularly any that used Rwandan army soldiers. The need for secrecy required complicated and sometimes costly logistical arrangements to get recruits to the remote training sites.

A government program of civilian self-defense offered a simpler, cheaper, and perhaps equally effective way of mobilizing civilians for eventual action against the “enemy.” Immediately after the RPF invasion, the government had instituted such a program, similar to one established by authorities to counter guerrilla attacks in the 1960s.22 It required citizens to man blockades on roads and to carry out patrols at night. But the effort lapsed throughout most of the country soon after the RPF was driven back at the end of October 1990. In late December 1990, a group of university faculty including Vice-Rector Jean-Berchmans Nshimyumuremyi and Professor Runyinya-Barabwiriza proposed that the minister of defense establish a “self-defense” program for all adult men. Citing the adage, “He who wishes for peace prepares for war,” the group advocated a population in arms as a way to “assure security” inside the country if the army were occupied in defending the frontiers. It suggested that men be trained locally, within the comune, under the command of soldiers, and that they should particularly learn to fight with “traditional weapons,” because they were cheaper than firearms.23

The idea was not implemented at the time but in September 1991, as the RPF multiplied its incursions across the Ugandan border, Colonel Nsabimana, then the local commander, proposed training and arming one person from each unit of ten households. The persons to be armed would be chosen by the communal council, would be ideally between twenty-five and forty years old, married, patriotic, and of high moral character. They would be locally trained and would continue to live at home, going into action under the orders of National Policemen, or, if they were not available, of soldiers from local military units. The program was to beimplemented first in three communes near the Ugandan frontier and then extended to the rest of the country as money became available to pay for the arms.24

During 1992, small groups of local residents carried out patrols and engaged in skirmishes near the border, usually in the company of one or two soldiers. Often one or two of the civilians were armed with guns while others carried such weapons as machetes, spears or bows, and arrows. According to the local people, they fought more fiercely than the professional soldiers, but some in the top ranks of the army opposed the program, claiming that many civilians fled at the first sign of danger, leaving their guns behind for the RPF to pick up.25

The AMASASU and Colonel Bagosora

The high-ranking officers associated with the akazu were among those who continued to favor civilian self-defense. Col. Laurent Serubuga, for example, lent his prestige to Léon Mugesera, sitting on the platform while the MRND propagandist called repeatedly for the people to rise up and defend themselves.

The congruence of interest between hard-line soldiers and anti-Tutsi militants reappeared in January 1993 just after the third of the Arusha protocols was signed. On January 20, a group of soldiers calling themselves AMASASU sent an aggressive open letter to Habyarimana.26 They explained that their name meant The Alliance of Soldiers Provoked by the Age-old Deceitful Acts of the Unarists (Alliance des Militaires Agacés par les Séculaires Actes Sournois des Unaristes); Unarists referred to the Tutsi royalist party from the years of the revolution. The real meaning of the cumbersome name lay not in the component words but in the acronym: amasasu means bullets in Kinyarwanda. “Commandant Mike Tango,” writing for the Supreme Council of the AMASASU, appears to have shared ideas with Mugesera, including the increasingly familiar phrase, “He who wishes for peace prepares for war.” Both warn that supporters of the RPF had better clear out of the country before it is too late. Both threaten to deliver their own form of “justice” to the “accomplices” if the competent authorities fail to act against them. Commandant Mike goes even further. He declares that the RPF is preparing amajor attack and he asks Habyarimina, if that happens, “how do you expect to stop us from delivering an exemplary lesson to traitors inside the country? After all, we have already identified the most virulent of them and will strike them like lightning.”

Repeating Mugesera’s call for self-defense, Commandant Mike advocates establishing in each commune at least one battalion of “robust young men,” who will receive a minimum of military training on the spot. “They will stay [at home] on the hills, but will be ready to form a popular army” to support the regular army. The Ministries of Youth, Defense and the Interior will take charge of training and commanding this “popular army.”

Commandant Mike was a pseudonym, of course, but it seems likely that he is either Col. Théoneste Bagosora or someone working closely with him. Bagorosa was born in 1941 in the commune of Giciye, next to Habyarimana’s home commune, and had devoted his life to the Rwandan army. He describes himself as the son of a “Christian and relatively well-off” family, with a father who was a teacher. He took military courses in Belgium and France and commanded the important military camp of Kanombe in Kigali until 1992. When the recently-installed coalition government made changes in the army high command in June 1992, forcing the retirement of Colonel Serubuga, Col. Pierre-Celestin Rwagafilita, and others, Habyarimana sought to have Bagosora named chief of staff. Ministers of opposing political parties refused this arrangement, seeing Bagasora as no improvement over the other hard-liners. In a compromise, Colonel Nsabimana, thought to be more moderate, was named to head the general staff and Bagosora was installed as head of the administration at the Ministry of Defense, where he was well placed to keep an eye on Minister of Defense James Gasana, who was seen as unsympathetic to hard-line positions. According to some observers, Habyarimana actually distrusted Bagosora, who had been trying for years to escape from Habyarimana’s shadow. The two presented much the same political profile, with Bagosora somewhat more militantly anti-Tutsi, and they drew on the same constituencies. Bagosora, who was ambitious, was said to believe that he, too, was qualified to run Rwanda and hoped for the chance to do so. Bagosora reportedly enjoyed the support of Habyarimana’s wife and her brothers and of his own younger brother, Pasteur Musabe who directed a large commercial bank, and was described by one insider as the most important civilian in the akazu.27

In an essay entitled “L’assassinat du Président Habyarimana ou l’ultime opération du Tutsi pour sa reconquête du pouvoir par la force au Rwanda,”Bagosora makes clear that he held firmly to the radical ideas of the CDR, as propagated by RTLM and such newspapers as Kangura. He has no hesitation in stating repeatedly that the struggle, one that is age-old (séculaire), is between the “Hutu people” and the Tutsi, not between political groups.28 For this reason, the negotiations at Arusha should have been between Hutu and Tutsi rather than between political parties and any future discussions should be held between two ethnically defined sides. The same theme is sounded in Kangura, which in February 1993 published a call for discussions between the head of the CDR and Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the exiled former king of Rwanda, instead of wasting further time with negotiations at Arusha where the real actors were not present.29 For Bagosora, the Hutu are the legitimate possessors of the region, where they lived “harmoniously” with the Twa since the ninth century. The Tutsi “never had a country of their own to allow them to become a people”; they are and will remain “naturalised nilotic immigrants” who have arrogantly tried to impose their supremacy over the rightful local inhabitants.30 Repeating all the usual clichés about the supposed nature of these peoples, Bagosora describes the Tutsi as “masters of deceit,” “dictatorial, cruel, bloody,” “arrogant, clever and sneaky,” while he speaks of the Hutu as “modest, open, loyal, independent and impulsive.”31

Like Commandant Mike, the authors of the September 21 memorandum defining the enemy, and many of the anti-Tutsi propagandists, Bagosora is insistent that the RPF is simply a continuation of the old UNAR, determined to restore “feudal-royalist servitude.” Like them, he stresses the RPF reliance on support from Uganda and its president Museveni, whose supposedly Hima origins he points out. Like Kangura, he refers to the “Simbananiye plan” that Tutsi had purportedlycreated to eliminate Hutu in Burundi, and he attributes to the RPF the assassination of Hutu political leaders of varying political views in Rwanda.32

Like the propagandists of Hutu solidarity, Bagosora refers to Kayibanda, the leader of the 1959 revolution, whose supposed words he uses to validate his argument that the Tutsi have brought suffering on themselves. He asserts that in attacking the Rwandan government, the Tutsi have knowingly and “coldly decided to expose their brothers to reprisals.” In a reference that is inaccurate both in its date (March 11, 1963 instead of 1964) and in its content, Bagosora quotes Kayibanda as warning that further Tutsi attacks from outside the country would mean “the total and precipitate end of the Tutsi race.”33

The essay, intended as a public justification for his position, shows how Bagosora fit into the ideological context of anti-Tutsi extremism. A second document, not intended for publication, shows how he intended to implement this ideology. When Bagosora fled Kigali in 1994, he left behind in his house a small black appointment book. On the cover is “Agenda 1993, Banque de Kigali,” and inside is written Bagosora’s name and telephone number.34

Beginning on the page for February 1 is a series of notes sketching out a plan for civilian self-defense. As with previous proposals, recruits are to live at home and to be trained locally. Bagosora writes, “The communal police should be up to training its militia,” indicating by his use of the word “militia” the link he is making between the community-based self-defense units and those organized by the party. If they are not available, military reservists, meaning former soldiers, would give the instruction. The recruits are to be married men “who have something to defend” and, in a later passage, “reliable persons” chosen among those displaced by the war. Elsewhere he adds that each cell and each sector are to elect the men to be armed. In one entry, Bagosora indicates that three times as many men are to be trained as there are arms available; in another he notes that sixty men should be trained for each commune. They are to be organized by sectorwith coordination between military authorities and the local administration, including communal councilors, and local police.

Bagosora identifies the city of Kigali and the prefectures of Byumba, Ruhengeri, and Gisenyi as the areas where the self-defense program should be launched first. He projects the need for 2,000 weapons, 300 for Kigali, 700 for the prefecture of Byumba, 600 for Ruhengeri, and 400 for Gisenyi,35 and seems to indicate that the first 2,000 recruits should be trained by soldiers, perhaps to get the program started in the right way. An entry later in the month of February speaks of ordering 2,000 Kalashnikovs “to bring to 5,000 the number for the communes.” On this page, he scribbles a proposal that three to five weapons be distributed for each cell. On another page, he jots the note “hand grenades” next to a list of the names of six communes. Aware of the possible conflicts that might arise out of arming a part of the population, Bagosora remarked on the importance of “avoiding partisan considerations during the distribution.”

Not just a planner, Bagosora was evidently also involved in implementing the details of the self-defense program. He is concerned with obtaining vehicles and with finding appropriate storage places for the weapons. He even sketches out the main headings of a training program that would teach the use of the hand grenade, the rifle, bows and arrows, and spears. He proposes making targets out of empty tins with bulls eyes painted on or marked with chalk. One task to which he refers often is that of “organizing information,” that is, propaganda. On one page, he notes “censorship of the radio” and “listen to all radio broadcasts.” On another, he writes about radio broadcasts by heads of the political parties. Elsewhere he proposes the contents of a radio program which, he writes, should include songs by Bikindi, the singer well-known for his anti-Tutsi lyrics. He proposes entrusting a more general propaganda campaign, aimed at human rights organizations and the diplomatic corps, to Col. Gasake, a respected older soldier who had recently returned from years of diplomatic service abroad. Bagosora also jotted down remarks about the need to ban meetings of political parties and the possibility of amnesty for war crimes.

In a first effort to launch the self-defense program in northwestern Rwanda, Bagosora ordered about 500 firearms distributed in the communes of Mutura, Giciye, Karago, Rubavu, and Rwerere at the end of January or the beginning of February 1993. In doing so, he overrode the specific orders of the minister ofdefense. According to a document obtained at the time by Human Rights Watch, 193 firearms were delivered in the commune of Mutura to primary school teachers, government employees, communal councilors, army reservists, and shopkeepers, just the same kinds of people who would be found using guns during the genocide.36 On March 1, 1993, the burgomaster of the commune Gituza wrote to the prefect of Byumba, acknowledging delivery of forty-four firearms and thanking him in the name of the population for his efforts to provide for their security and self-defense.37

Defense Minister Gasana, who had been away at the Arusha negotiations, returned to Kigali and learned of the distribution. He ordered the 500 firearms collected, but not all of them were returned to the authorities.38 Bagosora and other hard-liners tried to discredit Gasana within the MRND.39 Perhaps anticipating the success of this attempt, Bagosora noted in his datebook in early March that Gasana would be replaced as minister by Felicien Ngango, a lawyer who was an important member of the PSD. The information was wrong and Gasana continued to serve until July 1993. With Gasana still in place and political conditions not yet ripe, Bagosora temporarily shelved his plans for distributing guns to civilians.

Locating Potential Leaders

On the page for February 21 of his appointment book, Bagosora had noted the need for “identification of reservists.”40 A store of relevant information already existed, assembled by administrative authorities who tracked the location of former soldiers for a variety of reasons from mid-1992 on. By March 1993, the continued gathering of such information became more discreet, linked to political loyalties. At this time, the prefect of Kigali city asked two burgomasters who were MRNDsupporters to provide lists of former soldiers who were living in the capital, but he did not address the same request to the third, who was a member of the PSD. When that burgomaster asked why he had not been told to gather this information, he was informed that the order had come from the party, not from the administration.41

As the problems of insecurity grew throughout 1993, local officials enlisted increasingly active citizen participation in security committees that included judicial, police or military personnel, administrators, heads of local political parties, clergy, and other community leaders. In a number of communes, the security committees established patrols of citizens or of watchmen paid by citizens to supplement the inadequate efforts of local police.42 Although the involvement of ordinary citizens in police functions may have brought short-term improvements in security in some places, it created a precedent that would be exploited for the opposite purpose during the genocide.

The February 1993 Attack

On February 8, 1993, the RPF violated the July 1992 cease-fire and launched a massive attack all along the northern front and rapidly drove back the government troops. The civilian population also fled south, joining hundreds of thousands of persons displaced earlier in the conflict to make a total of some one million displaced, about one seventh of the total population. The RPF, critical of international inaction, claimed that they had to attack to halt the late January massacres of Tutsi and others.43 In fact, the slaughter of Tutsi had stopped more than a week before the RPF moved, suggesting that the real motive for the attack had been to force progress on the negotiations that Habyarimana had sought to stall by killing Tutsi.

The RPF initiative was a great success in military terms, but far less so in political terms. The MDR, PSD, and PL, cooperating more or less successfully with the RPF since May 1992, felt betrayed by the sudden resumption of combat. Some of their members began to question if the RPF really wanted a negotiated peace, or if it was determined to win an outright victory and impose its own control,replacing one repressive regime with another. Rwandan and international human rights organizations published credible charges that the RPF had assassinated at least eight Rwandan government officials and their families, had executed some fifty persons thought to be supporters of the MRND, and had killed at least two hundred other civilians in the course of its advance.44 News of these abuses contributed to disillusionment about RPF methods and goals among Rwandans and foreigners alike.

Faced with this growing discontent, the RPF was also militarily over-extended on a very wide front and so badly placed to risk open combat with French troops that had been brought in to reinforce the Rwandan army. The RPF agreed to a new cease-fire and pulled back to its original positions, leaving a sizable buffer zone between its lines and those of the government army.

After the RPF attack, more voices clamored for a civilian self-defense program. In a radio address four days after the RPF attack, Habyarimana advocated a self-defense force armed with traditional weapons rather than with guns.45 He repeated this idea in a speech to sector commanders of the Rwandan army on March 13, when he called for the population to “organize to defend itself.”46 Political activist Ferdinand Nahimana wrote others of the political and intellectual elite, urging that young people, especially those displaced by the RPF advance, be trained as part of a “civil defense operation.” Like the academics who had advocated self-defense in 1990, he stressed the usefulness of this popular force in “safeguarding peace inside the country,” implying that it would act against civilians rather than against the RPF. He proposed that the force should be provided with “arms and other light materials that could be used directly in the defense of the population.”47 In February, Kangura wrote:

We must remark to the Inyenzi that if they do not change their attitude and if they persevere in their arrogance, the majority people will establish a force composed of young Hutu. This force will be charged with breaking theresistance of the Tutsi young people [literally, children]. We should stop fooling around.48

In a press release dated February 25, 1993, the CDR warned that the RPF were planning a genocide of Hutu throughout the country in their pursuit of a Hima-Tutsi empire. It demanded that the government provide the people with the means necessary to defend themselves.49

Splitting the Opposition

Even before the February 8 attack, some hard-liners sensed a new possibility of attracting members of rival parties—particularly the MDR—back to the side of the MRND. In the January 20 AMASASU letter, for example, Commandant Mike is conciliatory towards Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye of the MDR, a position far different from that taken by Mugesera, who had equated him with the devil in his speech three months before. Foreign advisers also saw the benefit of an MDR-MRND alliance. In a letter dated January 20, Alain De Brouwer, political counselor of the Christian Democratic International, (Internationale Démocrate Chrétienne, IDC) advised Mathieu Ngirumpatse, secretary-general of the MRND, to explore a “permanent and open MRND-MDR collaboration.” He suggested calling a “national conference” to form an alliance that would allow these parties to seize the initiative from the RPF, both at the next round of peace talks and beyond.50 The IDC, a conservative, European-based coalition of Christian Democratic political parties, firmly supported the MRND. At the end of February, the French minister of cooperation, Marcel Debarge, added his voice and urged creating a “common front” against the RPF.51

Habyarimana needed no lessons in how to play the game. In early March he called a “national conference”—in fact a small-scale meeting—that attracted members of the MDR, PSD, and PL, as well as a number of less important parties.This first effort led nowhere. The MDR, PSD, and PL had just finished papering over their differences with the RPF, and their leaders disavowed those party members who “had neither the mandate nor the power” to carry on discussions with Habyarimana.52 But this was only Habyarimana’s opening shot in what would eventually be a successful campaign to win back disaffected Hutu. Those who attended his first meeting included Donat Murego of the MDR and Stanislas Mbonampeka of the PL, both already hostile to the elected presidents of their respective parties and both major actors in leading segments of their parties into an alliance with Habyarimana by the end of the year.

As Habyarimana sought new ties with the MDR and other parties, he was attacked by the CDR which exploded in anger at the terms of the new cease-fire with the RPF. In a press release issued March 9, the CDR called acceptance of the cease-fire “an act of high treason” and said that by signing it, Habyarimana showed that he no longer cared about the interests of the nation.53

Just how crucial alliances with other parties would be to Habyarimana’s future was made clear at the end of March 1993 when a form of limited election was held to replace burgomasters removed for unsatisfactory performance or who had fled or resigned their posts as a result of kubohoza. In each commune, the councilors, members of cell committees, heads of development projects, clergy, and heads of local political parties were permitted to vote, a group that amounted to some fifty people in most communes. The MRND won only sixteen of the forty posts contested, all those available in the northern prefectures of Gisenyi and Ruhengeri with the rest scattered elsewhere in the east and southwest. In contrast, the MDR took eighteen posts, including all those in the central prefecture of Gitarama, the stronghold in the 1960s of the Parmehutu party, of which the MDR was the direct descendant. The PSD and the PL divided the rest of the posts, all of them in the south.The results represented only a rough approximation of political strength—and in somewhat less than a third of the communes in the country.54 But, the MRND had also lost burgomasters—and others—who had switched parties incommunes where no elections were held. Habyarimana and his party would have to win back followers or build solid alliances with other parties if they were to hope to dominate political life. Habyarimana would clearly be strongest if he were to win back support from adherents of the MDR, PSD, and PL and at the same time attract backing from those who had joined the CDR.

At the same time as Habyarimana was working to put together a new coalition, a promising and well-connected young politician named Emmanuel Gapyisi was also exploring a realignment of political forces across party lines in a new group called the Peace and Democracy Forum (Forum Paix et Démocratie). A leader of the MDR from Gikongoro prefecture, Gapyisi hoped to bring together all those who were equally opposed to the RPF and to Habyarimana, regardless of party affiliation. He attracted a number of restless politicians, among them several who had been engaged in discussions with Habyarimana in March, including Murego of the MDR and Mbonampeka of the PL. Just as Gapyisi’s movement was beginning to gather steam, he was assassinated on May 18, 1993 by a very efficient hit-squad. With his death, the Forum movement collapsed, leaving the field open to the original actors. Habyarimana used the assassination to try to discredit his political adversaries and accused the RPF and some MDR leaders of the killing. They in turn charged Habyarimana with the crime, an allegation substantiated by an investigation but never brought to court.55

Gapyisi’s assassination focused attention on the increased insecurity and the continuing impunity for both political and common crime. After Gapyisi’s killing, attempts were made to slay PL leader Stanislas Mbonampeka, CDR leader Dr. Céléstin Higiro, and Defense Minister Gasana. Soldiers in Kigali were killing civilians at the rate of four or five a day and did not hesitate even to strangle a man at noon in front of the Kigali post office, then walk off leaving his corpse behind. Abuses by soldiers reached such a level that Habyarimana himself found it necessary to criticize military misconduct in a speech to sector commandants on March 13, 1993. Random violence continued as well, with bombs exploding at markets and other public places in Butare, Gisenyi, and Kigali. Tutsi in some rural communes were so afraid of night-time attacks that they regularly slept outdoors instead of at home.56 A number of local administrators cited the growing insecurityas a reason for requesting permission to own a gun or to obtain a gun from the Ministry of Defense.57

Efforts at compiling lists of enemies continued during these months. Col. Nsabimana told a family member that a list of some 500 people to be killed existed in April 1993.58 In a secret memorandum to all commanders, Col. Athanase Gasake, temporarily replacing Nsabimana as chief of staff, distributed the names of families whose sons had purportedly left to join the RPF. He reported that the Collège APACOPE in Kigali was a hotbed of RPF activity and noted that its students could not be bothered now because the government was on the point of signing a peace agreement with the RPF, but that the appropriate services had identified them and recorded their names. He also warned of infiltrators who were operating as household help, clerks, watchmen, tailors, prostitutes, traders, and especially taxi drivers. In an exaggerated way, the memorandum stressed the possibility of imminent attack from Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Zaire, or all four at once and urged the officers to communicate the need for constant vigilance to all their soldiers.59

Against this background of unpunished abuses and preparations for further violence, the prime minister wrote to Habyarimana, accusing him of wanting to cause troubles inside Rwanda and to start the war again in order to get a settlement that would protect his own power:

Terrorist groups are now preparing attacks on various politicians and disturbances throughout the country to try to start the war again. In other words, you feel you must find a subterfuge that would enable you to avoid signing the peace agreement, to bring about the resignation of the present government—so as to put in place a bellicose government devoted to you—tobegin the hostilities again in an effort to push the RPF troops back to their former positions...and to demand the renegotiation of certain terms of the protocols that have been signed already.60

The violence feared by Nsengiyaremye was not launched immediately, perhaps because Habyarimana had not yet pulled enough dissidents back to his side. In mid-July, Habyarimana and his supporters moved nearer that goal when the MDR, the chief threat to the MRND, split apart. The immediate issue was replacing Nsengiyaremye, whose mandate as prime minister had ended, but this question covered a larger struggle for control of the party—complicated by personal ambitions—and a division over the issue of how far to trust the RPF. As the prospects for peace grew, politicians looked forward to the distributions of posts that would take place when a transitional government was formed and they sought to position themselves as advantageously as possible. The president of the MDR, Faustin Twagiramungu, who stood for continued cooperation with the RPF, named Agathe Uwilingiyimana, minister of primary and secondary education, as the party’s choice for prime minister. Dissident leaders like Donat Murego and Frodouald Karamira, suspicious of the RPF since its February attack, challenged Twagiramungu’s control at a national congress. They designated Jean Kambanda, a lesser known politician from Butare, as the party choice for prime minister.61 They went so far as to expel both Twagiramungu and his nominee Uwilingiyimana from the party. Twagiramungu ignored the dissidents’ effort to expel him and continued to regard himself as the president of the party, while the dissidents, greater in numbers by far than Twagiramungu’s supporters, claimed that they were in fact the MDR.

Habyarimana accepted Twagiramungu’s nomination of Uwilingyimana and rejected the protests of the dissidents, seeing this as a way to widen the gap between the two parts of the MDR. On July 18, 1993, the new government was established with Uwilingiyimana as prime minister, the first woman to serve in this capacity, and the struggle over which part of the MDR was the real MDR was moved to the courts. On July 19, James Gasana, who was supposed to continue in his post as minister of defense, fled to Europe, to be followed not long after by theformer prime minister, Dismas Nsengiyaremye. Both said their lives were threatened. They no doubt had in mind recent assassinations, attempted assassinations, massacres and random violence when they decided it was too dangerous to stay in Rwanda, but perhaps they also knew more than most others about the risk of future violence.

French Support for Habyarimana

From the outset of the war with the RPF, Rwanda had been firmly backed by France. Able to rely on this steady support from a major international actor, Habyarimana was in a strong position to confront threats from the RPF, reproaches from other foreign powers, and opposition from dissidents within Rwanda. Fluent in French, apparently a devout Catholic, Habyarimana impressed French president François Mitterrand and others with his assimilation of French values. In the French system, where the president exercised enormous control over African policy, Mitterrand’s bond with Habyarimana counted for a great deal. The French ambassador in Kigali, Georges Martres, also was close to Habyarimana, whose home he visited frequently. Habyarimana found his support so precious that he wrote Mitterrand in January 1993 asking that Martres not be retired for reasons of age, as French regulations required, but rather allowed to continue his service in Kigali. Mitterrand, to his regret, could prolong his term only until April 1993. High-ranking military officers, both those in the field and those in Paris, were strongly committed to helping their Rwandan colleagues fight a force that some of them labeled the “Khmers Noirs,” a reference to the Khmer Rouge terrorists in Cambodia. The French Foreign Ministry officials were less enthusiastic about the Rwandan president; but they could do little to change policy so long as he enjoyed the firm support of Mitterrand and the military.62

The readiness to back Habyarimana rested on broader bases than personal connections. Mitterrand, like many French policy-makers, believed that France must continue to have strong links with African allies if it were to have any stature on the international scene. By definition, such allies were French-speaking. Among them, Rwanda had a special status because it was not a former French colony, but an ally that had been won away from Belgium, its old colonial master. Backing Rwanda offered the chance not just to outdo Belgium but also to humiliate the Anglo-Saxon forces thought to be behind the largely English-speaking RPF. According to former French minister Bernard Debré, Mitterrand believed that theU.S. had “hegemonic aims” in the region.63 François Leotard, former minister of defense, agreed with this assessment. He told members of the French assembly,

The President of the Republic was the person who in his comments seemed to define best the balance of power between the Anglo-Saxons and the French in this part of the world, and to do so with the greatest precision and sense of strategy and history.64

This reasoning, so redolent of nineteenth-century colonial passions, seems in fact to have motivated much of French policy about Rwanda. The French dreaded an upset in Rwanda, which they had come to regard as part of their backyard, le pré carré. If Habyarimana were to lose, it would be the first time that a regime loyal to France had been removed without prior French approval. Powerholders dependent upon French support elsewhere on the continent were watching the outcome carefully and might judge the usefulness of a continuing French alliance according to the result.65 Gérard Prunier, an analyst well-informed about the French Defense Ministry, has suggested that Habyarimana may have helped France with some illegitimate business in the past, perhaps passing on arms shipments to embargoed countries, and thus made the French feel more obligated to support him.66

In addition to these general considerations, French policymakers also supported Rwanda in order to have a firm base for dealing with potential crises in Zaire. In January 1993, a report by the Treasury concluded that “with the risks of Zaire disintegrating, Rwanda remains an interesting pole of political and economic influence in the region.”67

Habyarimana and his supporters appreciated French backing and welcomed French troops warmly. In the December 1990 issue where Kangura presented the “Ten Commandments of the Hutu,” it printed a picture of Mitterrand on the back cover with the comment, “It is in hard times that you know your real friends.” When the CDR demonstrated against peace negotiations in October 1992, they acknowledged French support by chanting “Thank you, President Mitterrand” and “Thank you, French people.”68

Besides steady political and moral backing, France gave Rwanda more immediately practical help, a contingent of soldiers in October 1990 and reinforcements in later times of crisis. Although French authorities generally asserted that only some 600 soldiers were in Rwanda, they in fact maintained as many as 1,100 there at one time.69 The troops included two groups, one called the Noroît detachment, supposedly there to protect French citizens, and the other, a military assistance mission to “train” Rwandan soldiers. The “protection of French citizens” was only a cover—the French numbered only a few hundred and were not threatened—but the training was real. As the Rwandan army expanded from fewer than 10,000 to more than 30,000 soldiers, the French played an important role in training both the combatants and soldiers who would in turn serve as instructors for others. Some of these French-trained soldiers passed on their knowledge to the party militia Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi.70

French soldiers sometimes delivered their “training” in a surprisingly direct manner. On February 3, 1992, the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the French embassy in Kigali to ask approval for naming Lieutenant Colonel Chollet, head of the French military assistance mission, adviser to Habyarimana. In this capacity, Chollet would advise on “organization of the defense and on the operations of the military,” duties which would require him to “work in close collaboration” with officers even at the local level. The arrangement would haveeffectively placed responsibility for military operations in French hands. The letter was leaked to the press and the proposal seemed to have been aborted. But, in April 1992, Lt. Col. Jean-Jacques Maurin was named adjoint to the French military attache in Kigali and filled just the role proposed for Chollet. He advised the Rwandan chief of staff in such tasks as drawing up daily battle plans, accompanied him around the country, and participated in daily meetings of the general staff.71 In addition, French soldiers on the ground were assisting in combat, in interrogating military prisoners, and in enforcing control measures on the civilian population.72 A former French army chief of staff later denied that French troops joined in fighting, but admitted that, given the small size of the country, French troops were “close to combat.”73 The former Rwandan minister of defense, James Gasana, stated that Rwandan military could use heavy weapons given by France only after having received French permission to use them.74 According to one French “instructor,” French trainers positioned the heavy artillery to bombard the RPF and then stood back to let Rwandan soldiers push the button to fire the weapon. French soldiers played such a key role in defending Ruhengeri in January 1991 that a French commander asked the Rwandan government to award medals to some of the troops.75

France officially supported peace efforts and was one of the sponsors of the Arusha Accords which stipulated the withdrawal of all foreign troops, except those involved in bilateral military cooperation arrangements. According to Gasana, however, who participated in some of the Arusha negotiations, the French were far less intent on a negotiated solution than were the U.S. and Belgium. Their support for Habyarimana and the MRND was such that they gave the impression that they actually favored a military solution to the conflict.76 On August 26, 1992, three weeks after the first part of the Accords was signed, Ambassador Martres formally agreed with the Rwandan government to expand the limited French military training program to the whole Rwandan army, making it possible to increase the number of “instructors” while removing combat troops. On January 18, 1993, Mitterrand addressed the delicate problem of continued military assistance in a letter to Habyarimana. Remarking that he would not want France to be reproached with having undermined the Arusha Accords, he continued, “I wish to confirm that on the question of the presence of the Noroît detachment [the combat troops], France will act in accord with [the wishes of] the Rwandan authorities.”77

In February 1993 French authorities once more proved their support by sending more than 500 troops to “indirectly command” and assist the Rwandan forces in halting the RPF advance.78 They also stepped up delivery of arms and ammunition, sending up to twenty tons of arms a day, enough to cut into the stocks of the French army itself.79 After a visit to Rwanda to assess the situation, then Minister of Cooperation Marcel Debarge reported to Mitterrand that the “indirect military support” provided by France was not enough and that a “real intervention force” (une veritable force d’interposition) was necessary to enforce the Arusha Accords. Unwilling to have France supply such a force, Mitterrand then orderedhis subordinates to get the U.N. more involved.80 French diplomats worked so hard to get a U.N. peacekeeping force to replace its soldiers in aiding their ally that, according to one member of the Security Council, the effort became “a standing joke.”81

From the beginning of the war in 1990, French authorities understood the risk of genocide. Colonel Rwagafilita, Habyarimana’s close associate, told the general who directed French military cooperation in Rwanda that the Tutsi “are very few in number, we will liquidate them.”82 Many of the French who dealt with Habyarimana believed that he wanted to keep the extremists in check and could do so only with their continued political and military support. They were well aware of the massacres and other human rights violations carried out by his government and they pressed him—but only discretely—to end such practices. Reluctant to weaken their loyal client in any way, they sought to minimize any criticism of him. Thus Ambassador Martres dismissed reports of massacres as “just rumors”83 and a supporter within the French Foreign Ministry wrote soon after the International Commission published its report that the Habyarimana regime was “rather respectful of human rights and on the whole concerned about good administration.” In a shocking echo of extremist Hutu propaganda, this author explained that the RPF, and not Habyarimana, should be blamed for the massacres of the Tutsi, because their agents (provocateurs) had infiltrated and caused the Bugesera massacre as well as the slaughter of the Bagogwe in 1991.84 As part of an effort to shore up Habyarimana and discredit further the RPF, the French secret service (Direction Générale des Services Extérieurs, DSGE) planted news stories about supposed Ugandan support for the guerrilla movement. On February 21, 1993, thereputable Le Monde published an account of a RPF massacre of hundreds of civilians that had in fact never taken place.85

When the French National Assembly held an inquiry on Rwanda in 1998, French political leaders, bureaucrats, and military officers all declared that their policy was intended to encourage political reform and respect for human rights within Rwanda as well as to avoid a military victory by the RPF. On the basis of the unstinting support received from Mitterrand on down, Habyarimana and his circle concluded that the French valued the second objective more than the first. Thus convinced, they dared to continue the campaign against the Tutsi that would finally reach the point of genocide.

The Costs of War

Fragile at the start, the Rwandan economy had crumbled under the burden of the costs of war. In 1990 war-related expenses accounted for 15 percent of the budget, but by 1993, they consumed some 70 percent of the operating expenses of the state.86 In 1993, agricultural production, the mainstay of the economy, declined 15 percent, partly because hundreds of thousands of displaced persons were no longer able to work their fields, partly because of poor weather conditions. Foreign assistance increased nearly 100 percent from 1989 to 1993, when it amounted to U.S.$334 million, to which was added some U.S.$130 million in direct emergency aid in 1993. The additional support notwithstanding, living conditions worsened dramatically, as per capita income that stood at U.S.$320 in 1989 (nineteenth poorest in the world) fell to U.S.$200 in 1993.87

Under the provisions of the structural adjustment program, government expenses were supposedly carefully regulated, both in amount and in intended use. To evade these regulations and escape supervision by foreigners, Rwandan officials diverted resources intended for civilian purposes to use by military or militia, such as buying military trucks with money allocated for civilian vehicles. Authorities at the Ministry of Health permitted Interahamwe to requisition vehicles from the ministry and to collect gas coupons each week for their fuel. Military officers imported luxury goods that escaped the high tax ordinarily imposed on such imports and sold them in special shops for profits that were used for the war effort.Authorities at the National Bank, under the direction of Habyarimana’s brother-in-law, Séraphin Rwabukumba, reportedly hid deductions of foreign exchange used for arms purchases in a category of “errors and omissions.” In addition, authorities apparently siphoned off funds from the government employees pension fund and other sources to fund military expenditures.88

Despite these various efforts, the Rwandan government was close to bankrupt by mid-1993 and desperately needed foreign assistance to keep operating.

Although the nation suffered enormously from the costs of war, Habyarimana personally seems to have profited from the conflict. According to one banker, the president earned commissions on arms sales and deposited the money in European bank accounts held by several of his associates and their children.89

The Arusha Accords

In July 1993, after a year of negotiations, agreement, disavowal, and then renewed negotiations, Habyarimana was still looking for ways to avoid signing the final peace treaty. He was finding it increasingly difficult to delay because even France was pushing him to accept the Accords. Habyarimana’s most ardent supporters in the French military may have flinched little at the successful RPF thrust in February. But others, particularly those at the Foreign Ministry who had believed for some time that Habyarimana could not win the war, used the RPF military success to support their argument for a negotiated settlement. At the same time, a change of ambassador in Kigali in April 1993 removed one of Habyarimana’s strong supporters and in Paris the installation of Edouard Balladur as prime minister brought to power someone who cared less for African adventures than did his predecessor.

By late July, the donor nations—including France—had lost patience and used the ultimate threat. In combination with the World Bank, they informed Habyarimana that international funds for his government would be halted if he didnot sign the treaty by August 9. With no other source of funds available, Habyarimana was obliged to sign along with the other parties, on August 4, 1993.90

The international actors celebrated this hard-won success, particularly important as the first peace negotiated with the assistance of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Tanzania had served as the chief facilitator. France, Belgium, the U.S., Germany, Burundi, Senegal, Uganda, and Zaire had been represented throughout and the U.N. had sent observers for the final sessions. The international community so present in forging the treaty promised also to help implement it by providing a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The Accords appeared to have dealt with all the major issues in a detailed series of agreements that covered the establishment of the rule of law, the transitional institutions to govern until elections could be held, the repatriation of refugees, the resettlement of displaced persons, and the integration of the two opposing armies. They laid out a clear schedule for implementation of the Accords. In the broad-based transitional government, power was to be shared among three forces: Habyarimana and his group, the RPF, and the block of MDR, PSD, and PL, with the addition of the Democratic Christian Party (PDC). Habyarimana would remain as president, but would lose most of his power to a Council of Ministers, and in that body the MRND was to have only five of nineteen places, instead of the nine held previously. The RPF also was to hold five seats, but received in addition the newly-created post of vice prime minister. The MDR, PL, PSD, and PDC were to have nine ministries plus the post of prime minister, which remained in the hands of the MDR. The parties that composed the broad-based transitional government were also to dominate the transitional legislative assembly with a small number of additional seats allocated, one each for less important parties.91

In the integrated army, the Rwandan government was to provide 60 percent of the troops, but would have to share command posts fifty-fifty down to the level of battalion with the RPF. The new army was to count no more than 19,000 soldiers and 6,000 national police, so both forces, the Rwandan army with more than 30,000 soldiers and national police and the RPF with some 20,000 troops, would have to demobilize at least half their military personnel.92

The carefully calibrated three-part division of power in the government made it unlikely that any one group could dominate and thus be able to disrupt the movement toward elections and real peace. But the hope of progress depended on each of the groups remaining coherent and able to act as a counterweight to the others. As the negotiators all knew, that was a doubtful premise given the division of the MDR just three weeks before the signature of the treaty. The Accords actually named Faustin Twagiramungu, head of the smaller of the two MDR factions, as the prime minister to take office when the broad-based transitional government was installed. This designation, approved by Habyarimana, permitted the signature of the Accords, but did not resolve the dispute within the MDR. The division in its ranks and the possibility that similar splits could take place—or could be caused—in other parties offered opponents of the settlement the chance to upset the whole peace process.

Opposition to the Accords

Even as the crowds were celebrating peace in the streets of Kigali, the radicals were hardening their opposition to the terms of the Accords. Two days after the treaty was signed, Belgian military intelligence reported much dissatisfaction among both soldiers and civilians, warning that “a wave of demonstrations, clashes and even assassination attempts” might begin within the next few days.93 Many soldiers were angry that Habyarimana had yielded to foreign pressure when the army had not been decisively defeated. Despite their rapid retreat before the RPF the previous February, some continued to believe that the Rwandan army could win if the battle were begun again. Soldiers disavowed the accords for personal as well as for political reasons. With the planned demobilization, many would lose the chance to live relatively well—from exactions if not from salary. This was particularly true for senior officers, many of them of Habyarimana’s age-group, who would be among the first demobilized because of their age. Colonel Bagosora, although already retired, spoke for those whose careers would be ended by the Accords. He was completely opposed to the agreement and scorned those Hutu who had signed it as “House Hutu and opportunists.”94 Presumably he included Habyarimana among this group.

Like the soldiers, some burgomasters and prefects feared losing their positions when the Accords were implemented. Administrators were to be subject to reviewwithin three months of the installation of the broad-based transitional government and those found to be incompetent or involved in prior human rights abuses were to be removed. Having seen a similar review process remove about one quarter of the burgomasters in February 1993, many administrators had no desire to expose themselves to the same fate.95

The CDR, opposed to the Accords from the start, had no place in the transitional institutions and continued to attack the agreement. Although CDR leader Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza held an important post in the foreign affairs ministry that had participated in negotiating the treaty, he visited the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs two weeks after its signing to “explain the reasons why the Arusha Accords are unacceptable and why their implementation will bring even more bloodshed.”96 Radicals found their fears of Tutsi domination confirmed by the terms of the Accords, but even moderate Hutu, first disillusioned by the February 1993 attack, experienced growing concern that the RPF had gotten more than its fair share of power and might not want to continue cooperating with other parties.

In the months following the signing of the Accords, hard-liners pushed ahead with activities that appear linked to the “self-defense” program. In entries in his appointment book early in the year, Bagosora several times stressed the importance of controlling the flow of information to the public. In August the radio station RTLM began broadcasting, drawing listeners primarily with its popular music, building an audience for the time several months later when it would begin blasting forth propaganda and directives.

Buying Machetes

If the war were to resume and a self-defense force were to be put into action, its recruits would need arms. According to an entry in the appointment book, Bagosora had foreseen being able to provide firearms for only one third of the recruits. The others were to operate with traditional weapons: spears, bows and arrows, and machetes. Spears and bows and arrows were not easily available on the world market, but machetes were another matter. Requests for import licenses from January 1993 through March 1994 show that 581,000 kilograms of machetes were imported into Rwanda as part of a larger quantity of 3,385,000 kilograms of metal goods including also hammers, picks, and sickles. Assuming the average weight ofa machete to be one kilogram, this quantity would equal some 581,000 machetes or one for every third adult Hutu male in Rwanda. This was about double the number of machetes imported in previous years. These importations were remarkable not just for the extraordinary quantity but also for the identity of the importers. The most significant was Félicien Kabuga, a businessman from Byumba and friend of Habyarimana, to whom he was connected through the marriage of their children. Kabuga had built his wealth through the export of coffee and the import of a variety of goods, chiefly used clothing, food, and household goods. During this period, Kabuga ventured into large-scale importation of metal goods, including machetes, for which he received seven licenses for a total value of 95 million Rwandan francs, or about U.S.$525,000. One cargo of 987 cartons of machetes, weighing some 25,662 kilograms, was shipped to him from the Kenyan port of Mombasa on October 26, arriving in Kigali in early November.97

The only local manufacturer of machetes was Rwandex Chillington, a joint venture between Plantation & General Investments, based in the United Kingdom, and Rwandex, a coffee processing company. According to La Lettre du Continent, a Chillington employee said that in February 1994, the company had sold more machetes than it had during the entire preceeding year. The news account reported that Chillington officials found this so alarming that they had notified representatives of the United Nations peacekeeping force.98 Sebastian Hobhouse, Executive Director of Plantation & General Investments, categorically denied this information, saying there was no increase in sales whatsoever during the first three months of 1994.99 But, according to the production manager, quoted in the Sunday Times, the Chillington factory sold “an unusually high number” of the 16,000 machetes produced between August and December 1993 to two Rwandex employees, Eugene Mbarushimana and François Burasa.100 Mbarushimana was secretary-general of the Interahamwe and a son-in-law of Kabuga. Burasa, a retiredmember of the armed forces, was the older brother of CDR leader Barayagwiza. Researchers from Human Rights Watch and FIDH questioned both the local manager, Joe Hazel, and Hobhouse about machete production and sales as well as about general operating procedures of the plant during these months. Hazel found Hobhouse’s information that the company supplied only 5 percent of the local machete market (a figure that Hobhouse subsequently raised to 8 percent) to be far too low, but he refused to provide his own assessment without consulting London. Hazel declared that there had been no foreign manager of the plant for about six months before his arrival in March 1994 and that the plant had been managed by Rwandan staff with only occasional visits by foreign staff based outside Rwanda. Hobhouse, on the other hand, asserted that there had been no gap in resident foreign supervision.101 These contradictions suggest that further investigation might produce useful information on the production and distribution of machetes in the months before the genocide.

Recruiting Supporters

In late 1993 and early 1994, hard-liners stepped up the recruitment and training of militia. As the training became increasingly public knowledge, Minister of Finance Marc Rugenera raised a question about it in the Council of Ministers. The minister of defense at the time, Augustin Bizimana, admitted that the training was going on, but said it was only to prepare the young men to be guards for the national parks and forests. In a document dated June 1996, Col. Bagosora and eleven others accused of genocide gave the same explanation.102 When the burgomaster of Butamwa commune asked questions about militia training at a cassiterite pit in his commune in early 1994, the military trainers told him that the trainees were preparing for work with private security companies and that the training program had been authorized by Minister of Defense Bizimana.103

The radical military group AMASASU had proposed in their January 1993 letter that the Ministry of Youth join with the Ministries of Interior and Defense tomount the civilian self-defense program. The minister of youth at the time was Callixte Nzabonimana, an MRND member, who has been accused of participating in the genocide in his home commune. In mid-October, the Ministry of Youth notified burgomasters that it would henceforth provide the salary for youth leaders at the commune level. Such posts had existed in the past but had been eliminated in many communes because of lack of funds. The financial situation of the national government had not improved in the meantime, but the minister of youth had decided nonetheless that the services of professional youth leaders were important enough to justify subsidizing their salaries.104 The subsidy allowed at least one of the communes, Nyakizu, to hire a youth organizer who was said to be an anti-Tutsi extremist and who may have assisted in the militia training programs that were carried out in Nyakizu in the months before the genocide. Youth organizers apparently continued to work throughout the genocide in Kibuye, when most other public services were not functioning.

Recruitment by the RPF

Not convinced that the Accords would be implemented, the RPF continued to enlist young people to be soldiers and trained them in the part of northern Rwanda under their control. At the same time, it intensified preparations for the political struggle. Since the start of the war, a small number of supporters had worked for the RPF within Rwanda, largely collecting money for the guerrilla effort. In late July or early August 1993, the RPF brought increasing numbers of young people to their zone to train them as political agents to broaden this network within the country. They prepared them with two or three weeks of theoretical and Marxist lectures on philosophy, history, and economics and then sent them home to gather information on local conditions and to organize sympathizers for the movement. According to witnesses who participated in or observed this program, only one day or one half day was spent on training in arms and most trainees were allowed to fire only one bullet. An apparently authentic notebook kept by a trainee and later captured by the Rwandan army substantiates this information. Of forty-seven pages of notes, only one and a half record information on guns, information apparently delivered in one two-hour session.105

RPF supporters organized several hundred cells during 1993, each including between six and twelve members. Leaders apparently insisted that each group include Hutu as well as Tutsi because they feared groups of Tutsi alone would be too easily isolated and attacked. If adherents could not attract Hutu participants, then the group was not to be formally constituted as a cell. Unarmed and virtually untrained in combat skills, these young agents hardly constituted a military threat. Even in the political domain, they did not yet threaten the Habyarimana regime. Some bolder supporters publically declared their affiliation with the RPF after the peace treaty was signed, but most still kept their preference hidden. Although the majority operated quietly, particularly outside of Kigali, the elite of Habyarimana supporters, military and civilian, knew they had arrived. Here, they said, were the “infiltrators” they had been talking about for so long.106

The United Nations Peacekeepers

The U.N. Security Council was still smarting under the failure of its peacekeeping efforts in Somalia when the request for a Rwandan force was presented. Members of the council were reassured by the detailed nature of the Accords and they were impressed that a joint delegation representing both sides had come to ask for a peacekeeping force. As one diplomat remarked, they thought “Rwanda would be a winner.”107 Had they consulted the diplomats who had extracted the signature from the reluctant Habyarimana, they might have had a more realistic assessment of the chances of future success. Partly because they counted on an easy success, partly because they were not disposed to invest much in resolving the situation in Rwanda anyway, the Security Council failed to devote the resources necessary to ensure that the hard-won Accords were actually implemented.

From the start, Rwandans and some knowledgeable foreign observers recognized the precariousness of the Accords. The longer the delay before the installation of the broad-based government, the greater the likelihood that the entire structure would collapse into renewed war. The Accords called for a U.N. peacekeeping force to arrive thirty-seven days after the signing of the agreement. As experienced diplomats certainly knew, it would be impossible to keep to sucha schedule. It took three weeks beyond the thirty-seven days for the Security Council even to pass the resolution creating the force. Despite the warning by the U.N. secretary-general that delay would “seriously jeopardize” the agreement, it was another two months before substantial numbers of peacekeepers were in the country. As critical observers later commented, the Rwandan operation lacked a powerful patron among council members to force the normally slow pace of the U.N. bureaucracy. Only France had the interest to play that role, but its effectiveness was undercut by its close identification with the Habyarimana government.108

Resources and Mandate

Not only was the U.N. slow, it was also stingy. The United States, which was assessed 31 percent of U.N. peacekeeping costs, had suffered from the enormous 370 percent increase in peacekeeping expenses from 1992 to 1993 and was in the process of reviewing its policy on such operations. In the meantime, it was determined to keep the costs of the Rwandan operation as low as possible, which meant limiting the size of the force. One U.N. military expert had recommended that UNAMIR include a minimum of 8,000 soldiers. General Romeo Dallaire, named as commander, had asked for 4,500. The U.S. initially proposed 500. When the Security Council finally acted on October 5, 1993, it established the U.N. Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) at a level of 2,548 troops.109

The UNAMIR budget was formally approved on April 4, 1994, two days before the beginning of the genocide. The delay in funding, in addition to other administrative problems, resulted in the force not receiving essential equipment and supplies, including armored personnel carriers and ammunition. When the killing began in April, UNAMIR lacked reserves of such basic commodities as food and medicine as well as military supplies.110

Constrained by the relatively small size of the force as well as by a determination not to repeat the mistakes made in Somalia, the diplomats produced a mandate for UNAMIR that was far short of what would have been needed to guarantee implementation of the Accords. In a spirit of retrenchment, they weakened several important provisions of the Accords. Where the Arushaagreement had asked for a force to “guarantee overall security” in Rwanda, the Security Council provided instead a force to “contribute to” security, and not throughout the country, but only in the city of Kigali. At Arusha, the parties had agreed that the U.N. peacekeepers would “assist in tracking of arms caches and neutralization of armed gangs throughout the country” and would “assist in the recovery of all weapons distributed to, or illegally acquired by, the civilians.” But, in New York, diplomats conscious of the difficulties caused by disarmament efforts in Somalia completely eliminated these provisions. In the Accords, the peacekeepers were to have been charged with providing security for civilians. This part of the mandate was first changed to a responsibility for monitoring security through “verification and control” of the police, but in the end it was limited to the charge to “investigate and report on incidents regarding the activities” of the police.111

Paragraph 17

Rules of Engagement translate the general policy directives—the mandate—of the Security Council into regulations that govern the conduct of the soldiers. Soon after General Dallaire and his staff arrived in Rwanda, they drew up these rules for UNAMIR. Like other such operations, UNAMIR was to use weapons “normally for self-defense only.” The use of force for deterrence or retaliation was forbidden and self-defense, which was legitimate, was defined to mean “resistance to attempts by forceful means to prevent the Force from discharging its duties under the mandate of UNAMIR.” The overriding rule was to be the use of minimum force. In accord with these directions, the force was lightly armed.

Dallaire specified that the maintenance of law and order was normally the job of Rwandan police, assisted, if necessary, by the U.N. police unit, UNCIVPOL. He added that it was “a very real possibility” that UNAMIR soldiers might be required to assist UNCIVPOL and local authorities in maintaining law and order.

In paragraph 17, Dallaire spelled out in extraordinarily strong and clear language the responsibility of the force if confronted with crimes against humanity. It reads:

There may also be ethnically or politically motivated criminal acts committed during this mandate which will morally and legally require UNAMIR to use all available means to halt them. Examples are executions, attacks on displaced persons or refugees, ethnic riots, attacks on demobilized soldiers, etc. Duringsuch occasions UNAMIR military personnel will follow the ROD112 outlined in this directive, in support of UNCIVPOL and local authorities or in their absence, UNAMIR will take the necessary action to prevent any crime against humanity.113

The first paragraph of the document indicates that these Rules of Engagement “are drafted by the Force, but are approved by the U.N. and may only be changed wth U.N. authority.”114 This document was a second version that included changes proposed in Kigali by Belgians and others involved in UNAMIR. Although the document was marked “interim,” it was accepted by U.N. headquarters in New York and was not amended by it. It was circulated to the member states that provided troops to UNAMIR and was in effect at the time of the genocide.115

The Assassination of Melchior Ndadaye and Violence in Burundi

Had the situation in the region remained stable, there would have been at least some hope for actual implementation of the Accords. But it did not. On October 21, 1993, Tutsi army officers assassinated Melchior Ndadaye, the president of Burundi, setting off massive killings of both Hutu and Tutsi. This nation just to the south of Rwanda has a similar population of Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa, but had experienced a different political history, in part because Tutsi retained power after independence in 1962. Hutu had tried to win control several times, only to be put down by the Tutsi-dominated army, most savagely in 1972 when some 100,000 Hutu were slaughtered. In 1988, Hutu attacks on Tutsi had provoked excessive and unjustified military repression in parts of northern Burundi near the Rwandan frontier and tens of thousands of Hutu refugees fled into Rwanda. Underinternational and domestic pressure, the Burundi government then had initiated a series of reforms that culminated in a free and fair election in June 1993. The victor, Ndadaye, was the first Hutu to hold this office and his election was hailed as a great victory by Hutu in Rwanda as well as in Burundi. A moderate, he named a Tutsi prime minister116 from the opposing party and approved a politically and ethnically balanced cabinet. Ndadaye moved to establish his party’s control over the administration, but left the Tutsi-dominated army largely untouched. Hutu in Rwanda, where he had once been a political refugee, followed his progress with interest and pride. Those Rwandans who most feared the RPF were reassured by Ndadaye’s election because, they believed, it would eliminate the possibility that a Tutsi-dominated Burundi government might permit the RPF to invade Rwanda from the south.

Four months after the election, soldiers murdered Ndadaye and leading members of his government during an attempted coup. Although forced by apparently unanimous international pressure to return to the barracks and restore power to a civilian government, the soldiers had nonetheless taken the first step to a gradual reassertion of Tutsi control over the administrative system. In the days after the murder, Hutu retaliated, killing thousands of Tutsi, often at the incitement of local administrative officials. Under the guise of restoring order, the Tutsi army took savage reprisals, even in communities where there had been little or no violence against Tutsi.

The murder of Ndadaye and the ensuing killings worsened the situation in Rwanda immediately and dramatically. Moderates who had hoped that a peaceful transition in Burundi would show that Hutu and Tutsi could share power found it increasingly difficult to remain optimistic about the peaceful integration of the RPF into the government.Tutsi saw their fears of slaughter by Hutu justified once more and concluded that Tutsi control of the state was the only way to protect themselves. The CDR and MRND hard-liners saw the assassination as irrefutable proof that Tutsi were bent on dominating the entire region and would use force, if necessary, to achieve that goal.

For the anti-Tutsi propagandists, the assassination of the Burundian president offered just the kind of tragedy most helpful to their cause. It gave RTLM the chance to establish itself as the most virulent voice in the campaign against Tutsi.Eager to whip up revulsion against the assassins, its announcer Habimana Kantano came on the air for the evening news declaring:

Burundi first. That’s where our eyes are looking now. Even when the dog-eaters are few in number, they discredit the whole family. That proverb was used by the [Burundian] minister of labor, Mr. Nyangoma, meaning that those Tutsi thugs of Burundi have killed democracy by torturing to death the elected president, Ndadaye. Those dog-eaters have now started mutilating the body. We have learned that the corpse of Ndadaye was secretly buried to hide the mutilations that those beasts have wrought on his body.117

The press, too, circulated accounts that Ndadaye had been tortured and, some said, castrated before death. Even the national television, not ordinarily much involved in such propaganda, displayed a bloated and mutilated body for hours, wrongly claiming it was Ndadaye’s corpse. All the reports of torture and mutilation were false.118

Rwandans in the southern prefectures of Butare and Gikongoro were more directly touched by the killings in Burundi than people who lived further from the border. Some 300,000 refugees streamed into southern Rwanda in the weeks after the Ndadaye assassination.119 They joined several tens of thousands of Burundians who had sought refuge in Rwanda following earlier episodes of violence. By the very misery of their existence in refugee camps, as much as by the tales of horror they related, these refugees showed Rwandan Hutu the damage that could be done by a Tutsi-run army.

Since at least the end of December 1991, several hundred Hutu guerrillas from Burundi had been living and training in refugee camps in Gikongoro.120 With the arrival of the new flood of refugees, the training increased to such a level that a representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees wrote to the Rwandan authorities, reminding them that such activities violated international agreements on refugees. In late November, Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana visited the largest camps to insist that the training stop.121 Camp directors and local authorities ignored her orders. The training even expanded to include recruits from Rwandan militia. By January, many diplomats in Kigali had heard reports of the training from representatives of international humanitarian agencies working in the camps.122

The murder of Ndadaye had great impact on the Rwandan situation in one further way: it showed once again that the international community was willing to tolerate slaughter in the pursuit of political ends. Once the Burundian army had bowed to international pressure and apparently returned control of the government to civilians, donor nations did nothing to insist that the guilty be brought to trial, neither those army officers responsible for the assassinations of the political leaders and the killing of other Hutu civilians, nor the Hutu administrators and ordinary people who had slaughtered Tutsi. Those most implicated in the killings continued to exercise power as they had before.123

In the days after the murder of Ndadaye, Hutu attacked Tutsi in many parts of Rwanda. They killed some forty in Cyangugu, twenty each in Butare and Ruhengeri, seventeen in Gisenyi, thirteen in Kigali and drove many others from their homes. Assailants tried to assassinate Alphonse-Marie Nkubito, a high-ranking judicial official and human rights activist who had frequently defended Tutsi, although himself a Hutu.124

Hutu Power

The movement known as Hutu Power (pronounced Pawa in Kinyarwanda), the coalition that would make the genocide possible, was built upon the corpse of Ndadaye. The doubts about RPF intentions, sown by the February 1993 attack and fed by the extent of RPF gains at Arusha, ripened following the assassination in Burundi. As one political leader commented during the genocide, “...Who didn’t have his eyes opened by what happened in Burundi...[where they] elected President Ndadaye, who really wanted Hutu and Tutsi to live together, but you know what they did [to him]....”125

First announced at a meeting in Gitarama, Hutu Power drew widespread support at a rally in Kigali on October 23, 1993 where adherents met to deplore Ndadaye’s assassination and to draw lessons from it. Present were members of the part of the MDR now resolved to reject cooperation with the FPR, members of the MRND and CDR, and even some Hutu members of the PL, increasingly sceptical of their party’s link with the RPF. The second vice-president of the MDR, Froduald Karamira, took to the podium to declare that the RPF, including specifically its leader General Kagame, were among the plotters who had killed Ndadaye. Asserting that Kagame was depriving the people of Burundi of democracy, Karamira went on to say he would do the same thing in Rwanda because “he lied to us in Arusha when they were signing for peace and democracy...” Karamira called for all Hutu in Rwanda to stand up and take “appropriate action” which, he said, does not mean “uttering words just to ‘heat heads,’” but rather unifying into one effective Hutu mass. Sounding very much like the MRND propagandist Mugesera one year before, Karamira reviled Twagiramungu, the MDR president who had been named to serve as prime minister in the transitional government, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, prime minister at the time, and Anastase Gasana, one of the chief negotiators for the Accords, calling them Inyenzi or “puppets of the Tutsi.”

He continued, “We are not simply ‘heating heads’ by saying we have plans ‘to work’....”126 and then he told the crowd that they must help authorities “to look for what is within us. The enemy among us here. We cannot sit down and think that what happened in Burundi will not happen here, since the enemy is among us.” Karamira insisted that Hutu who work against Hutu solidarity are also part of the enemy. “We have clarified what we must avoid. Avoid fighting another Hutu. We have been attacked, so let us not attack ourselves. Let us avoid the invasion of the enemy who may steal our government.” In a conclusion that evoked wild enthusiasm from the crowd, Karamira shouted:

Hutu Power! MRND Power! CDR Power! MDR Power! Interahamwe Power! JDR Power! All Hutu are One Power!

After each shout, the crowd roared its response, “Power! Power! Power!”127

The split in the Liberal Party, signaled by the attendance of some of its leading members at this rally, was formalized several weeks later. After months of effort, Habyarimana had achieved his objective of splitting two of the parties that opposed him. The politicians immediately responsible for the rifts were hardly naive pawns in the game. They made their choices knowingly, based as much on calculations of personal interest as on their supposedly more principled opposition to the RPF. Some members of the MDR would try to repair the rift in their ranks in December, but without success.128 Rivalries among leaders troubled the PSD, too, but members would desert its ranks for the Power movement only after the genocide began.

With the consolidation of Hutu Power, party allegiances faded before the imperative of ethnic solidarity: political life was reorganized around the two opposing poles of Hutu and Tutsi. Hutu Power was the coalition that Habyarimana needed, but it was not yet his for sure. In his speech, Karamira had criticized the president, reiterating the CDR stand of the previous March that Habyarimana had conceded too much to the RPF. To take leadership of the Power movement,Habyarimana would have to carry through to its logical conclusion the position he had advocated since 1990. He would have to stand up to the RPF and rid the country of their “accomplices.”

Hutu Power was to be implemented by the “popular army of strong young men” as sketched out by the AMASASU and by Bagosora the previous January. This army of self-defense was to supplement rather than to replace the party militia. Just a week after the Hutu Power rally, a commission of the Rwandan armed forces met to plan its organization. Perhaps aware of Bagosora’s early caution that party considerations should be avoided in the distribution of guns, they decided that firearms should be distributed “within the framework of legal work” and that trainees who received them should be recruited so as “to avoid suspicions among the different layers of population and among political parties.” They called for clear definition of administrative and technical responsibilities for what was now called “popular self-defense” or “civilian self-defense.”129

At the end of March 1994, army officers—presumably members of the same commission—met again at the operations center to plan “defense of neighborhoods [and] the tracking down and neutralisation of infiltrators.” In a letter to the minister of defense reporting on the meeting, Chief of Staff Colonel Nsabimana again echoed the ideas of Bagosora and the AMASASU. He specified that soldiers living outside their camps as well as former soldiers would command the recruits and, because the supply of firearms was limited, he proposed that the civilian population in communes outside Kigali should be instructed in the use of machetes, spears, swords, and bows and arrows.130

Rwandan military authorities writing later asserted that the new self-defense mechanisms were not yet in place when the catastrophe began. It appears that the system might indeed not have been fully in place by April 7, but what was already there served the intended purpose most effectively.

1 Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, p.161.

2 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Lausanne, August 29, 1996.

3 Reyntjens, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, pp. 204-05; Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, pp. 162-63, 171.

4 Antoine Jouan, “Rwanda 1990-1994: de la transition politique au génocide,” Fondation Médecins sans Frontières, December 1995, pp. 34-35.

5 Jouan, “Rwanda 1990-1994,” p. 35; Reyntjens, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs , p. 205.

6 Human Rights Watch Arms Project, “Arming Rwanda,” p. 22. 7 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Lausanne, August 29, 1996. 8 Estimates based on correspondence between the prefect and burgomasters of Gikongoro concerning the identification of deserters throughout 1992 and 1993, particularly Laurent Bucyibaruta, Préfet, to Bourgmestre (Tous), no. 169/04.09.01/1, August 9, 1993 (Gikongoro prefecture). 9 In March 1993, a jeep loaded with weapons destined for Palipehutu insurgents in Burundi was involved in an accident in Kigali. The weapons had been sold or otherwise delivered by soldiers at the Kanombe military camp. 10 Laurent Bucyibaruta, Préfet de Gikongoro, to Monsieur le Ministre de l’Intérieur et du Développement Communal, no. 039/04.15, le 22/9/1992 (Gikongoro prefecture). 11 See the chapters below on Butare prefecture. 12 Joseph Kanyabashi, Bourgmestre, to Monsieur le Préfet, Butare, no. 68/04.17, January 31, 1993; no. 257/04.17, April 13, 1993; and no. 904/04.17.01, November 24, 1993 (Butare prefecture). 13 Ibid. 14 Laurent Bucyibaruta, Préfet, to Monsieur le Bourgmestre, no. Ls 23/04.17.02, September 2, 1992; Laurent Bucyibaruta, to Monsieur le Bourgmestre, Nyamagabe, Mudasoma, Karama, Kinyamakara, Rwamiko, Kivu, Karambo, Musange, Muko, Musebeya, No. LS 047/04.17.02, October 2, l992 (Gikongoro prefecture). 15 Francois Xavier Njenyeli, Bourgmestre, Commune Gituza, to Préfet, Byumba, no. 247/04.17.02, August 2, 1993, Dossier Planification Genocide (RPF Human Rights Commission, Kigali). 16 Léon Mugesera, “Discours Prononcé par Léon Mugesera lors d’un Meeting du M.R.N.D. Tenu à Kabaya le 22 novembre 1992.” 17 Dr. Dismas Nsengiyaremye, Premier Ministre, to Monsieur le Ministre de la Défense, no. 071/42.3.5, February 2, 1993 (ARDHO). 18 Guichaoua, Les Crises Politiques, pp. 662-67. Note that the document is incorrectly dated to March 1994; it should be March 1993. 19 Justin Temahagali, Préfet, to Bwana Burugumesitiri wa Komini, no. 090/04/01, April 5. 1991 (Butare prefecture). 20 Col. Théoneste Lizinde to Abahuza-Bikorwa Ba FPR mu Rwanda (Bose), March 22, 1994, includes a questionnaire about political, social and economic conditions to be filled out by RPF agents in the various communes (Kibuye prefecture). 21 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, June 23, 1995. 22 Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi, p. 223. 23 Jean-Berchmans Nshimyumuremyi, Vice Rector of the U.N.R., Butare Campus, to the Minister of National Defense, P2-18/813/90, December 26, 1990 (Butare prefecture). 24 Col. Déogratias Nsabimana to Monsieur le Ministre de la Défense Nationale, no. 181/G5.3.0, September 29, 1991 (International Commission). 25 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Rebero, January 19, 1993; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Lausanne, August 29, 1996. 26 Commandant Tango Mike to Monsieur le Président de la République Rwandaise, January 20, 1993 (International Commission). 27 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, August 30, 1996; Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, p. 167. 28 Colonel BEMS Bagosora Théoneste, “L’assassinat du Président Habyarimana ou l’ultime opération du Tutsi pour sa reconquête du pouvoir par la force au Rwanda,” Yaoundé, October 30, 1995, p. 7. See also Jean-Marie Aboganena, “Bagosora S’Explique,” Africa International, no. 296, July-August 1996, p. 18. 29 Chrétien et al., Rwanda, Les médias, p. 136. 30 Bagosora, “L’assassinat,” pp. 12-l3. 31 Ibid., pp. 12, 14, 18; see also Communiqué de Presse du Parti CDR, February 25, 1993 (Provided by Comité pour le respect des droits de l’homme et la démocratie au Rwanda, CRDDR). 32 Chrétien et al., Rwanda. Les médias, p. 237. 33 Ibid., p. 16. The printed text of Kayibanda’s speech does not include these words. République Rwandaise, Commission Spéciale sur les problèmes des émigrés rwandais, Le Rwanda et le problème de ses refugiés (Kigali: 1990), pp. 95-6. 34 Human Rights Watch/FIDH researchers examined and copied the original of this document, held by an RPF representative. An expert in handwriting analysis found the writing in the appointment book to be consistent with a sample of Bagosora’s handwriting. 35 There appears to be a mistake in arithmetic here because five Gisenyi communes are listed, Karago, Mutura, Rwere (an error for Rwerere), Rubavu, and Kanama, each with the number 100 next to it, which would make 500 for the prefecture and a total of 2,100 weapons needed. 36 Africa Watch, “Beyond the Rhetoric,” p. 14. 37 Francois Xavier Njenyeli, Burgomestre, Commune Gituza, to Préfet, Byumba, March 1, 1993, Dossier Planification Genocide (RPF Human Rights Commission, Kigali). 38 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Washington, D.C., September 10, 1996. 39 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, August 30, 1996. 40 Correspondence between the prefect and burgomasters of Gikongoro concerning the identification of deserters throughout 1992 and 1993, particularly Laurent Bucyibaruta, Préfet, to Monsieur le Bourgmestre (Tous), no. 169/04.09.01/1, August 9, 1993 (Gikongoro prefecture); Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, July 13, 1996. 41 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, July 14, 1996. 42 Minutes of the meetings of these committees can be found in communal or prefectural archives in the prefectures of Butare, Gikongoro, and Kibuye. See, for example, Damien Biniga, Sous-Préfet, to Monsieur le Bourgmestre, Rwamiko, no. 494/04.17.02, August 13, 1993 (Gikongoro prefecture). 43 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Washington, D.C., September 10, 1996. 44 Africa Watch, “Beyond the Rhetoric,” pp. 23-24. 45 Pasteur Bizimungu to Africa Watch, February 13, 1993. 46 General Juvénal Habyarimana, “Exposé Introductif du Général-Major Habyarimana Juvénal à la Réunion des Commandants de Secteurs du 13 mars 1993.” 47 Ferdinand Nahimana, “Le Rwanda: Problèmes Actuels, Solutions,” February 21, 1993, included in a letter of Nahimana to Chers amis, March 28, 1994 (confidential source). 48 Chrétien et al., Rwanda, Les médias, p. 136. 49 Communiqué de Presse du Parti CDR, February 25, 1993. 50 Alain De Brouwer, Conseiller Politique, Internationale Démocratique Chrétienne, to Mathieu Ngirumpatse, January 20, 1993 (CRDDR). For an analysis of the role of conservative Christians in Rwanda, see Léon Saur, Influences Parallèlles: L’Internationale Démocrate Chrétienne au Rwanda (Brussels: Editions Luc Pire, 1998). 51 Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, pp. 178. 52 Ibid., pp. 178-79. 53 Ibid., p. 182. 54 In a second election of the same kind in September 1993, the MRND won all eight places being contested, but once again, these were all in the north. Reyntjens, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, p. 227. Our statistics for the earlier elections differ slightly from those given by Reyntjens, p. 226, and are based on a tally provided by Rwandan government sources at the time. 55 Guichaoua, Les Crises Politiques, p. 629; Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis , pp. 182-85. 56 Africa Watch, “Beyond the Rhetoric,” pp. 7-14; Joseph Matata, Permanent Secretary of ARDHO to Alison Des Forges, May 12, 1993; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Lausanne, August 29, 1996. 57 James Gasana, Ministre de la Défense, to Monsieur le Préfet (Tous), no. 0655/06.1., February 23, 1993; Ministre de la Défense to Monsieur le Ministre de l’Intérieur et du Développement Communal, no. 0895/06.1.0, March 10, 1993; Laurent Bucyibaruta, Préfet to Monsieur le Bourgmestre, no. 483/04.06, May 19, 1993; Jean Baptiste Hakizamungu, Sous-préfet, to Monsieur le Ministre de la Défense, February 12, 1993; James Gasana, Ministre de la Défense, to Monsieur Hakizamungu Jean Baptiste, no. 913/06.1.9, March 11, 1993 (Butare and Gikongoro prefectures). 58 Marie-France Cros, “Jean Birara: ‘Belges et Français auraient pu arrêter les tueries.’” La Libre Belgique, May 24, 1994. 59 Col. Athanase Gasake Chef EM AR(ai) to Liste A, Comdt Sect OPS (Tous), May 21, 1993 (CRDDR). 60 Dismas Nsengiyaremye, Premier Ministre, to Monsieur le Président de la République Rwandaise, no. 528/02.0, June 6, crossed out and replaced by July 6, 1993 (ARDHO). 61 Disappointed at this time, Kambanda would later serve as prime minister of the interim government. 62 Jouan, “Rwanda 1990-1994,” p. 23. 63 Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome III, Auditions, Volume 1, p. 413. 64 Ibid., p. 112. 65 Hubert Vedrine, minister of foreign affairs, expressed such a concern. Ibid., p. 212. 66 Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, pp. 102-6, 147-49, 163-64, 278-79; Reyntjens, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs , pp. 178-79. 67 Jouan, “Rwanda, 1990-1994,” p. 24. 68 Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, p. 163. 69 Ibid., p. 164, n. 9. 70 Several foreign diplomats based in Kigali, who had seen French soldiers at a militia training site at Gabiro, in the game park in eastern Rwanda, even asserted that the French themselves had trained militia. Prunier, usually well-informed about French military matters, has said that the French may well have trained militia without distinguishing them from regular recruits, who were receiving training so summary that it differed little from that given to the irregulars. Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 87, n. 50; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Washington, December 9, 1995. 71 Guichaoua, Les Crises Politiques, pp. 712-13; Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, Rapport, pp. 151-52. 72 Testimony of Eric Gillet, reported in L’événement du Jeudi, June 25-July 2, 1992; Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, Rapport, pp. 158-68. 73 Testimony of Amiral Lanxade, Mission d’Information, May 6, 1998; Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome III, Auditions, Volume 1, p. 241. 74 Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome III, Auditions, Volume 2, p. 47. 75 Human Rights Watch Arms Project, “Arming Rwanda,” p. 24; Reyntjens, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, pp. 176-77; Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, pp. 149, 177; Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning , pp. 22-23 and notes; Stephen Smith, “France-Rwanda: Lévirat Colonial et Abandon Dans la Région des Grands Lacs,” in Guichaoua, Les Crises Politiques , p.450; Guichaoua, on pages 720-21, reprints the important account of French military activity by Hervé Gattegno, published in Le Monde, September 22, 1994. 76 Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome III, Auditions, Volume 2, p. 53. 77 Guichaoua, Les Crises Politiques, p. 714; Reyntjens, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, p. 205; Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, p.173. 78 Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, Rapport, pp. 157, 159. 79 Smith, “France-Rwanda,” p. 450. 80 Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome III, Auditions, Volume 2, p.14. 81 Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 27. 82 Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, Rapport, p. 276. 83 Smith, “France-Rwanda,” p. 451; Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome III, Auditions, Volume 1, p. 122. 84 Jouan, “Rwanda 1990-1994,” p. 31. 85 Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis , p. 176 and note. 86 Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome III, Auditions, Volume 1, p. 165. 87 Laurent, “Panorama Succinct,” pp. 423-27. 88 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Pierre Galand, by telephone, Brussels, March 27, 1997, based on his work and that of Professor Michel Chossudovsky; Frédéric Moser, “Rwanda: Comment le Nord a Financé le Génocide, Télé Moustique, No. 9/3708, February 19, 1997; Jean-François Pollet, “Rwanda: les fonds internationaux ont financé le génocide,” Demain le Monde, no. 12/13, mars-avril 1997; Tribunal de Première Instance de Bruxelles, Compte-rendu de la Commission rogatoire internationale exécutée au Rwanda du 5 juin au 24 juin 1995, dossier 57/95 (confidential source). 89 Tribunal de Première Instance de Bruxelles, Compte-rendu...du 5 juin au 24 juin 1995. 90 Human Rights Watch/Africa interview, Brussels, February 12, 1994. 91 Reyntjens, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, gives a clear and complete analysis of the Accords, pp. 248-256. See also Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning , pp. 24-27. 92 United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, 1993-1996 (New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, 1996), p. 224. 93 Sénat [Belge], Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc Rwanda à la Commission des Affaires Etrangères,” [Hereafter Sénat, Rapport du Group AdHoc] January 7, 1997, p. 22. 94 Aboganena, “Bagosora S’Explique,” p.18-19. 95 Article 46, Protocol of Agreement on Power Sharing, Part I, signed October 30, 1992. 96 Sénat, Rapport du Group AdHoc, p. 58. 97 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Pierre Galand, March 27, 1997; Elisabeth Levy, “Un protégé de Berne a importé 25 tonnes de machettes au Rwanda,” Le Nouveau Quotidien, January 16, 1997. Levy provided the copy of the receipt published here. 98 La Lettre du Continent, no. 213, June 26, 1994. 99 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Sebastian Hobhouse, London, October 4, 1996. 100 Jason Burke et al, “British Firm Sold Machetes to Hutu Killers,” Sunday Times (London), November 24, 1996. 101 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Sebastian Hobhouse; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Joe Hazel, by telephone, Kigali, April 26, 1996. Letter from Sebastian Hobhouse to Human Rights Watch, May 9, 1996. 102 African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair and Defiance (London: 1995), pp. 55-56; Théoneste Bagosora et al., “Le Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU Induit en Erreur sur le Prétendu ‘Génocide Tutsi’ au Rwanda,” June 1996, p. 13. 103 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, January 25, 1997. 104 J.M. Vianney Habineza, Bourgmestre, Commune Maraba, to Monsieur l’Encadreur Préfectoral de la Jeunesse et des Associations, Butare, no. 472/04.09.01/10, December 21, 1993 (Butare prefecture). 105 Notebook provided by Solidaire-Rwanda, a nongovernmental organization close to the former Rwandan government. 106 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, March 22, 1996; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, February 14, 1997; Commandement des Forces Armées Rwandaises en Exil, “Contribution des FAR à la Recherche de la Verité sur le Drame Rwandais,” Décembre, 1995, pp. 39, 42-43. 107 Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 35. 108 Ibid., p. 36. 109 Ibid., pp.35-6. 110 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Plainsboro, New Jersey, June 14, 1996; Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 36. 111 Compare articles B1, B3 and B4 of the Arusha Accords with articles 3a and 3h of Security Council Resolution 872 of October 5, 1993. 112 This is apparently a typographical error for ROE or Rules of Engagement. 113 Force Commander, “Operational Directive No. 02, Rules of Engagement (Interim), File No. 4003.1, 19 November 1993, U.N. Restricted, p.7 (emphasis added). 114 Force Commander, “Operational Directive No. 02,” p. 1. 115 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 81. At a meeting in Washington on December 9, 1998, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Alvaro De Soto asserted that UNAMIR troops used a different and shorter version of the rules of engagement which did not include paragraph 17. A senior UNAMIR commander, however, confirmed that troops were operating under the rules cited here, including paragraph 17. Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Brussels, December 14, 1998. 116 The prime minister was a capable economist, Sylvie Kinigi, the first woman to serve in that capacity in this part of Africa. The nomination of Agathe Uwilingiymana as Rwandan prime minister the next month created the remarkable situation of two women serving as heads of governments in adjoining central African nations. 117 Recording of RTLM broadcasts, October 17-31, 1993 (tape provided by Radio Rwanda). 118 Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, SOS-Torture, and the Human Rights League of the Great Lakes organized an international commission of inquiry similar to that which had documented abuses in Rwanda. The commission arranged for an autopsy by a forensic physician who found that Ndadaye had been killed by several blows of a sharp instrument, probably a bayonet. The body had not been mutilated and showed no signs of torture. See Commission Internationale d’Enquete sur les Violations des Droits de l’Homme au Burundi depuis le 21 octobre 1993, Rapport Final, New York and Paris, July, 1994, Annexe B. 119 Butare prefecture received the largest number, with 276,626 refugees in mid-November. Jean-Baptiste Habyalimana, Préfet, to Monsieur le Ministre de l’Intérieur et du Développement Communal, no. 1389/04.09.01/1, November 14, 1993 (Butare prefecture). 120 Préfet, Gikongoro, to Monsieur le Ministre de l’Intérieur et du Développement Communal, December 19, 1991; Bourgmestre, Nshili, to Monsieur le Préfet, February 11, 1992; Laurent Bucyibaruta, Préfet, to Monsieur le Ministre de l’Intérieur et du Développement Communal, February 19, 1992 (Gikongoro prefecture). 121 Telegram, S/Préfet, Busoro, to Mininter, no. 375/04.09.01/14, December 3, 1993 (Butare prefecture). 122 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Washington, October 26, 1996. 123 Commission Internationale d’Enquete, Rapport Final. 124 CLADHO to Madame le Premier Ministre, October 29, 1993 and CLADHO, Memorandum Adressé à la Minuar et aux Missions Diplomatiques en Rapport avec les Tueries en Cours dans le Pays, December 8, 1993. 125 Chrétien et al., Rwanda, Les médias, p. 294. 126 “To work” in this context means “to kill Tutsi,” a usage developed in the 1959 revolution. 127 Recording of RTLM broadcasts, October 17-31, 1993 (tape provided by Radio Rwanda). 128 The parts of the MDR and the PL associated with Hutu Power will be referred to as MDR-Power and PL-Power. 129 Commandement des Forces Armées Rwandaises en Exil, “Contribution des FAR,” Décembre, 1995, Chapitre V, L’Auto-Défense Populaire. 130 Ibid.; Guichaoua, Les Crises Politiques, p. 514.

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