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The U.N. had to move first to implement the Arusha Accords: its peacekeeping force had to be in place in Kigali so that representatives of the RPF could also take up residence in the capital and begin to function as part of the broad-based transitional government. At the end of December 1993 UNAMIR had finally deployed nearly 1,300 peacekeepers in Rwanda, some 400 of them Belgian soldiers assigned to the capital.1 UNAMIR was then able to escort the RPF civilian leaders, accompanied by some 600 of their soldiers, into Kigali. The RPF contingent was quartered at the national parliament building, the Conseil National de Développement (CND), an imposing structure set on a hillside a short distance from downtown Kigali. The choice seemed reasonable: there was no other space large enough and secure enough to house the troops. But it underlined how much the old regime had lost to the newcomers.

With UNAMIR in place, the next move fell to the Rwandans. Whether still hoping to win new ground through political maneuvering or whether simply to gain time for more preparations for war, Habyarimana—with the help of members of the Hutu Power block of the PL and MDR—launched a series of challenges to the interpretation of the Accords. He sought to assure ministerial posts for representatives of the PL Power and MDR Power wings and to get a seat in the transitional assembly for the CDR. He was most anxious to be able to count on one-third plus one of the total votes in the transitional assembly, the amount needed to block decisions of major importance—such as impeachment proceedings that could strip him of his power and leave him vulnerable to prosecution for past crimes.2 The RPF refused all such initiatives. As one weary observer remarked, the struggle during these months was like negotiating the Accords all over again. The installation of the new government, originally set for January, was postponed to February and then postponed again to March 25, and then again to March 28, and then again to early April.

As the weeks passed, preparations for renewed conflict increased. The warnings of catastrophe multiplied, some public, like assassinations and riots, some discreet, like confidential letters and coded telegrams, some in the passionate pleasof desperate Rwandans, some in the restrained language of the professional soldier. A Catholic bishop and his clergy in Gisenyi, human rights activists in Kigali, New York, Brussels, Montreal, Ouagadougou, an intelligence analyst in Washington, a military officer in Kigali—all with the same message: act now or many will die.

In Kigali, diplomatic representatives followed events carefully. Belgium, the U.S., France, and Germany all had good sources of information within the Rwandan community and frequently consulted with each other, even though there was little formal interchange among their military intelligence services.3 Like other U.N. peacekeeping operations, UNAMIR itself had no provision for gathering information about political and military developments. Belgian troops within UNAMIR, however, set up their own small intelligence operation and also gathered information informally from Belgian troops who were present as part of a military assistance project unrelated to the peacekeepers. Occasionally UNAMIR passed on confidential information to some of the diplomats, in one case only to find they already knew about it.4 Diplomats rarely shared what they knew with the peacekeepers. Dallaire later commented on this in the Canadian press:

“A lot of the world powers were all there with their embassies and their military attachés,” Dallaire said. “And you can’t tell me those bastards didn’t have a lot of information. They would never pass that information on to me, ever.”5

Obviously no one observer, whether in Kigali, in a capital abroad or at U.N. headquarters, followed all the ominous signs during the months before the genocide. But, as the compilation below makes clear, the warnings of catastrophe were many and convincing; although international decision makers did not know everything, they knew enough to have understood that disaster lay ahead.


November 1993

Lt. Marc Nees, an intelligence officer with the Belgian paratroopers, among the first UNAMIR troops to arrive in Rwanda, reported that a meeting chaired by Habyarimana on November 5 at the Hotel Rebero decided “to distribute grenades, machetes and other weapons to the Interahamwe and to CDR young people. The objective is to kill Tutsi and other Rwandans who are in the cities and who do not support them [i.e., the Interahamwe and CDR]. The distribution of the weapons has already begun.”6 These measures may have been linked to the military meeting on “self-defense” held at the end of October.

November 17-18: Unidentified assailants killed some forty persons, including local authorities, in a highly organized attack in the northern communes of Nkumba, Kidaho, Cyeru, and Nyamugali. One attack was in the immediate vicinity of a U.N. military observer post. UNAMIR investigated the killings, but never published any results. This was the first case to suggest that UNAMIR could not in fact assure the security of civilians nor even bring assailants to justice.7

November 23: The human rights group, Association des Volontaires de la Paix, issued a statement describing attacks on civilians throughout the country, many by members of the MRND and the CDR. Among other measures, they recommended closer supervision of Burundian refugee camps to ensure that the international prohibition of military activity in the camps was respected.8

November 23: The CDR issued a press release calling for the resignation or dismissal of the president and prime minister if they failed to act following the killings of November 17-18. If they do nothing, the CDR said, it would consider them “accomplices” of the RPF. The CDR asked the “majority population” to be ready to “neutralize by all means its enemies and their accomplices.”9

November 26: The Belgian ambassador in Kigali reported to his ministry of foreign affairs that RTLM had called for the assassination of Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana and of Prime Minister-designate Twagiramungu.10

A Belgian Red Cross truck was deliberately targeted by government soldiers and blown up by a mine.11

November 29-30: Unidentified assailants killed more than a dozen persons in the northwestern commune of Mutura.12

December 1993

Early December: Six buses full of Interahamwe trainees stopped to refuel at a military camp en route home from a training session at Gabiro. The officer in charge, unsure if he was authorized to provide fuel to the Interahamwe, radioed an inquiry to Kigali. He was later reprimanded for having asked his question over the nation-wide military communications network and having thus revealed official support for the Interahamwe. He then changed his story to say the trainees were park guards.13

Early December: UNAMIR received reports of suspicious movements by armed militia. It noted that RTLM was broadcasting relentless and increasingly inflammatory propaganda urging Hutu to stand up to Tutsi. U.N. representatives asked diplomatic missions in Kigali to become more actively involved in expediting the installation of the transitional government.14

December 1: The Rwandan human rights organization ARDHO published a report of recent attacks on Tutsi, warning that the assailants “declare that thispopulation is an accomplice of the Inkotanyi because it is mostly Tutsi and its extermination would be a good thing.”15

December 2: Assailants armed with machine guns fired on a UNAMIR patrol in northern Rwanda.16

December 3: Senior officers of the Rwandan Armed Forces wrote to General Dallaire, drawing his attention to recent killings of civilians at Kirambo, Mutura, and Ngenda and informing him that “More massacres of the same kind are being prepared and are supposed to spread throughout the country, beginning with the regions that have a great concentration of Tutsi....This strategy aims to convince public opinion that these are ethnic troubles and thus to incite the RPF to violate the cease-fire, as it did in February 1993, which will then give a pretext for the general resumption of hostilities.”

The officers specified also that opposition politicians would be assassinated, including the Prime Minister-designate Twagiramungu and Félicien Gatabazi, head of the PSD. They remarked that Habyarimana himself initiated this “Machiavellian plan” with the support of a handful of military officers from his home region. They identified themselves as having been part of this circle until recently when a sense of the national interest “inspired us with revulsion against these filthy tactics.”17

December 3: The Belgian ambassador in Kigali informed his foreign ministry that the Presidential Guard was training young men in three camps for “raids”on Kigali.18

December 8: The human rights coalition CLADHO addressed a memorandum about killings throughout the country to UNAMIR and the diplomatic missions in Kigali. They asked that the militia be disarmed.19

December 17: A coalition of nongovernmental organizations working for development issued a press release asking the army to discipline its troops and calling for disarming and dismantling the militia.20

December 24: According to its mandate, UNAMIR was charged with contributing to the security of Kigali, which was to be free of weapons. On this date, the procedures for establishing the weapons-free zone went into effect. UNAMIR, in cooperation with the National Police, was to enforce the ban on weapons.21

December 27: Belgian intelligence reported on a meeting of military commanding officers held from 11 am to 3 pm December 22 in the office of Chief of Staff Nsabimana, promoted several months before to the rank of general. A number of officers were ordered to supply light arms, ammunition, spare parts, and uniforms to Hutu extremists. The report said, “The Interahamwe are armed to the teeth and on alert. Many of them have been trained at the military camp in Bugesera. Each of them has ammunition, grenades, mines and knives. They have been trained to use guns that are stockpiled with their respective chiefs. They are all just waiting for the right moment to act.”22

December 28: The bishop and clergy of the diocese of Nyundo, in northwestern Rwanda, issued a press release in which they noted the distribution of weapons in their parishes and asked the authorities “to explain clearly to the public the use [intended] for these weapons that have been handed out recently.”23

The Kigali prosecutor asked the help of UNAMIR in arresting Setiba, head of a militia group that had been receiving training by the Presidential Guard in the Gishwati forest. UNCIVPOL, the police attached to UNAMIR, undertook themission but returned empty-handed because a detachment of Rwandan soldiers was camped in the vicinity of Setiba’s house and appeared ready to protect him.24

With the installation of the RPF in the capital at the end of December, young people began taking political training courses in their Kigali headquarters. Others were recruited to go to RPF areas in the north for military training.25

January 1994

January 1-2: According to a report submitted by Belgian intelligence, Rwandan army units surrounded the CND building where the RPF were quartered and checked to be sure the building was within range of their weapons at those locations. They then withdrew to their own barracks.26

January 3: Belgian UNAMIR troops under the command of Colonel Luc Marchal seized hidden stocks of arms, ammunition, and explosives. But later they returned the weapons to the Rwandan army, which was said to have been their owner.27

January 4: The Belgian ambassador in Kigali reminded his ministry of foreign affairs about the distribution of weapons by supporters of the president. At a meeting the same day, Belgian officers had discussed the locations of stocks of arms and of training camps. This information was reported to General Dallaire.28

January 5: A crowd of CDR supporters attacked the Tanzanian ambassador whom they regarded as too favorable to peace negotiations.29

January 6: In a cable to the U.N. in New York, Dallaire reported that UNAMIR had no proof of who committed killings in northern Rwanda in November, but “the manner in which they were conducted, in their execution, intheir coordination, in their cover-up, and in their political motives, leads us to firmly believe that the perpetrators of these evil deeds were well-organized, well-informed, well-motivated and prepared to conduct premeditated murder. We have no reason to believe that such occurrences could not and will not be repeated again in any part of this country where arms are prolific and ethnic tensions are prevalent.”30

January 6: The Security Council reviewed the situation, as was stipulated in the resolution establishing UNAMIR, to ensure that progress had been made toward implementing the Accords. It decided to deploy troops designated for phase II of the operation, even though the broad-based transitional government which was supposed to have been installed prior to the deployment had not been sworn in. General Dallaire requested the additional troops because he feared that violence might spread from Burundi to southern Rwanda and he wanted to post troops there. The Security Council stressed that continued support for UNAMIR depended on full and prompt implementation of the Accords.31

January 8: During a violent demonstration by Interahamwe—involving also the sub-prefect of Kigali and soldiers of the Presidential Guard in civilian clothes—the National Police did nothing to intervene. In a meeting afterwards, U.N. officers remarked that the events of the morning make “us think how few possibilities we have to deal with this kind of action.” They acknowledged that UNAMIR might have to intervene more actively “to compensate for the lack of effectiveness of the National Police,” even if doing so worsened relations with the population, which was already shouting anti-Belgian slogans that morning.32

January 8: Belgian intelligence reported on a January 7 meeting at MRND headquarters that reportedly brought together MRND president Mathieu Ngirumpatse, Minister of Defense Augustin Bizimana, Army Chief of Staff Nsabimana, National Police commander Gen. Augustin Ndindiliyimana, and the president of the Interahamwe, Robert Kajuga, as well as agents of the secret police(SCR). In response to the UNAMIR arms raid five days before and to avoid further losses, they decided that weapons would be stored at the homes of army officers loyal to the MRND and that their owners would come get them when necessary.

The leaders decided also to remove all hidden arms to new locations and to order Interahamwe to fight, with stones if necessary, to defend the weapons from UNAMIR.

In addition, the leaders resolved to disrupt relations between Rwandan police and the UNAMIR officers who were working with them and to create trouble between the Rwandan population in general and UNAMIR, particularly its Belgian contingent.33

January 8: The association Professional Women United (Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe), the human rights coalition CLADHO, and the council representing nongovernmental organizations working for development, CCOAIB, issued a declaration appealing to Rwandan and international leaders to implement the Arusha Accords rapidly. They deplored the insecurity in the country, including massacres and grenade attacks, the terror caused by the army and the militia, and the risk of resumed war. They called on politicians and the media to cease their incitation to hatred and “condemned unreservedly” the distribution of weapons to civilians by those who seek “to provoke a civil war that would be devastating for the country.”34

January 9: General Ndindiliyimana explained to Belgian UNAMIR officers that the National Police had not intervened in the demonstration the day before in order to avoid confrontations “that would inevitably lead to losses, especially when the population had many grenades.”35

January 9: RTLM broadcast that UNAMIR was opposed to the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi and in favor of the RPF and parties allied to it. Such propaganda had begun sometime before in the written press and had stressed thesupposed success of Tutsi women in seducing UNAMIR soldiers, including the commander himself.36

January 10: A five hour meeting took place between leaders of the CDR and of the Palipehutu, an exiled guerrilla group from Burundi active in the Burundian refugee camps.37

January 10: Belgian UNAMIR officers met with an informant named Jean-Pierre, an Interahamwe commander, who offered to show the location of a weapons cache in return for protection for himself and his family. He said the Rwandan Armed Forces provided these weapons, as well as training, to the militia. He asserted that he could move the weapons wherever UNAMIR would like them put and that he could get back part of the guns already distributed. He also informed the officers that UNAMIR had been infiltrated with informers and that he was aware of everything that went on inside the U.N. forces. He revealed that the January 8 demonstration had been meant to provoke a confrontation with the Belgian UNAMIR soldiers, but that since no conflict had developed, he had never given the order to open fire.

January 11: Interahamwe and CDR supporters demonstrated again, with the participation of Ministers Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and Callixte Nzabonimana and authorities of Kigali prefecture.38

January 11: In a coded cable to Gen. Maurice Baril at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York, General Dallaire passed on information received the previous day from Jean-Pierre. He reported that, according to the informant, the Interahamwe had trained 1,700 men, 300 of them since UNAMIR had arrived, in three-week sessions at Rwandan army camps. The training had focused on “discipline, weapons, explosives, close combat and tactics.” Jean-Pierre stated that he had believed that the Interahamwe were to defend Kigali against the RPF. But since the arrival of UNAMIR [late November and early December], his superiors had ordered him to make lists of all Tutsi in Kigali, which persuaded him that the Interahamwe were to be used for a different purpose. Dallaire wrote:“Informant states he disagrees with anti-Tutsi extermination. He supports opposition to RPF, but cannot support killing of innocent persons.” The informant estimated that the men he had trained, who were scattered in groups of forty throughout Kigali, could kill up to 1,000 Tutsi in twenty minutes. He had distributed 110 guns and had a stockpile of another 135 which he was willing to show to UNAMIR.

The informant confirmed that the January 8 demonstration, which he had commanded, had been meant in part to create conditions for killing Belgian UNAMIR soldiers, in the expectation that this would cause Belgium to withdraw its troops from Rwanda. He also confirmed that forty-eight Rwandan paracommando soldiers and some National Policemen in civilian dress had participated in the demonstrations for which the Rwandan army and the Interahamwe had provided radio communication.

In the chain of command, Jean-Pierre reported directly to the chief of staff of the Rwandan army and to the president of the MRND. Speaking of Habyarimana, he stated that “the president does not have full control over all elements of his old party/faction.” He also warned, “...hostilities may commence again if political deadlock ends.”39

Dallaire had some reservations about the “suddenness of the change of heart” of the informant and said the possibility of a trap was not excluded. Two days later he sent a UNAMIR officer to verify the information about hidden arms and found it to be accurate.

Dallaire informed New York that he planned to seize the arms within thirty-six hours. He concluded by saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let’s do it.” Dallaire also asked for protection for the informant, who wanted to be assured of a U.N. guarantee before providing further information.40

January 11: The French military attaché, Colonel Cussac, and the Kenyan ambassador came separately to ask UNAMIR officers about evacuation plans for foreigners in the event of a serious crisis. They may have been reacting to thedemonstration on January 8 and to the latest failure to install the transitional government.41

January 12: Dallaire received a response from Iqbal Riza, writing over the signature of Kofi Annan, head of peacekeeping operations, stating that the UNAMIR mandate did not permit the planned operation against the arms caches. Riza directed Dallaire to discuss Jean-Pierre’s information with Habyarimana and to inform the ambassadors of Belgium, France, and the U.S. He stated further that the U.N. could not offer protection to Jean-Pierre.42

January 12: The Secretary-General’s Special Representative Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, the diplomat reponsible for political matters for the U.N. in Rwanda, joined Dallaire in meeting with representatives of the Belgian, French, and U.S. embassies. In a fax to New York the next day, Booh-Booh and Dallaire reported that these diplomats “expressed serious concern about the alleged activities and indicated that they would consult with their capitals for instructions and would act accordingly.” Shortly after talking with the diplomats, Dallaire and Booh-Booh met President Habyarimana and warned him that the Security Council would be informed immediately if any threat of violence were carried out. According to the fax, Habyarimana “appeared alarmed by the tone of our démarche. He denied knowledge of alleged activities of the militia and promised to investigate.” The U.N. team went on to meet with the president and secretary-general of the MRND, who suggested that any problems—apparently such as those at the demonstration of January 8—came from “infiltrators and bandits” who hid behind MRND party insignia. Booh-Booh and Dallaire concluded:

The initial feedback that we have received indicates that both the president and officials of his political party were bewildered by the specificity of the information at our disposal. The president of MRND seemed unnerved and is reported to have subsequently ordered an accelerated distribution of weapons.43

Adding that the extent of UNAMIR knowledge of their plans might force Habyarimana and the MRND to “decide on alternative ways of jeopardizing the Peace Process,” the force commander and special representative of the secretary-general said they would continue to coordinate their strategies with the ambassadors of Belgium, France, and the U.S.44

January 13: The Belgian ambassador in Kigali reported to his ministry of foreign affairs that UNAMIR would have problems acting against the Interahamwe because its mandate was limited strictly to peacekeeping. Any investigation would have to be done together with the National Police, but since many of them were apparently involved with the militia, such an effort would be futile. For this reason, Boutros-Ghali decided instead to do a rapid démarche to Habyarimana and to push him to act within forty-eight hours. The ambassador remarked that any action by Habyarimana was unlikely.45

January 13: Belgian UNAMIR officers discussed Jean-Pierre’s information with the Belgian ambassador and later saw Jean-Pierre himself, who was still ready to share information and to indicate the location of the arms caches. The informant urged prompt action, saying that the weapons might be moved before Tuesday of the following week. A Senegalese officer of UNAMIR visited several of the arms caches with him, including one at the headquarters of the MRND. One of the Belgian officers concluded after meeting with the informant, “The situation seems more and more ripe and with the information in our possession, it seems really unfortunate to not be able to intervene. New York has not changed its position.”46

January 13: CLADHO again appealed to the international community and Rwandan leaders to implement the peace accords and once more condemned the violent broadcasts of RTLM, the distribution of arms, the military training for militia, as well as numerous exactions of the Rwandan army.47

January 14: Acting in the name of Dallaire, Colonel Marchal, who headed the Kigali sector of UNAMIR, asked the Belgian Ambassador Johan Swinnen to give asylum to Jean-Pierre and his family. After long discussion, the request was refused for fear of compromising Belgian neutrality within the UNAMIR force.48

January 14: The Belgian and U.S. ambassadors and the French chargé d’affaires visited Habyarimana to urge implementations of the Arusha Accords. The secretary-general had asked these diplomatic representatives to stress the urgency of acting on the information from the January 11 telegram, but they said nothing specific about it, apparently because the French opposed doing so.49

January 14: The secretary-general prohibited the operation to confiscate arms (apparently confirming the decision of his subordinates) because he feared an escalation that would force UNAMIR into a peacemaking rather than a peacekeeping role. According to the Belgian ambassador in Kigali, Boutros-Ghali was:

concerned about the serious political repercussions that such an action would cause and therefore before beginning such an operation, there must be serious reflection....That is why New York insists on inquiries and measures from Habyarimana’s side.50

If Habyarimana did not act, Booh-Booh was to report this to the secretary-general who was to report to the Security Council which would make all this public and take appropriate measures.51

January 14: In Belgium, the military intelligence service briefed military commanders on fears that the Interahamwe might attack the peacekeepers,particularly those who were Belgian. They reported “Indeed, there are increasingly well substantiated indications of secret links and/or support to Interahamwe by high ranking officers of the Rwandan army or National Police.”52

January 15: Colonel Marchal, who originally thought that Rwanda would prove to be “a textbook case” of peacekeeping, had become so concerned about the prospects of “grave troubles” that he asked his commanding officers in Belgium what role he should play in case of evacuation of foreigners. Would he keep his blue beret as a UNAMIR officer or would he act as a member of the Belgian military? He also urgently requested heavier arms than had thus far been provided to the force, foreseeing the need for such weapons if the airport had to be defended to assure a foreign evacuation.53

January 15: In a long message to his ministry of foreign affairs, the Belgian ambassador in Kigali reported that UNAMIR would have to act soon because otherwise the arms were going to be distributed to Interahamwe and other civilians. The ambassador expressed the opinion that UNAMIR regulations permitted Dallaire to seize the arms, but, he said, the commander was unwilling to act without explicit approval from New York.54

January 16: Four thousand to five thousand MRND supporters, many from outside the city, met at the Nyamirambo stadium in Kigali. The meeting looked like a general mobilization, but it was calm, with no indication of why it had been called. In one of the speeches, Justin Mugenzi, leader of the Hutu Power faction of the Liberal Party, played on ethnic divisions. Two days later, UNAMIR officers learned that arms were distributed at this meeting.55

January 17: Booh-Booh told assembled African diplomats that “We have proof of the existence of training camps for many recruits.” He added that weapons of different calibres had been distributed widely to the population.56

January 18: Because none of the countries contacted (Belgium, France, U.S.) was willing to offer him asylum, Jean-Pierre ended his contacts with UNAMIR but he continued speaking informally with a Belgian officer for several more weeks.57

January 19: In a letter to MRND ministers, Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana accused the minister of defense of refusing to implement the order of the council of ministers to collect arms that had been illegally distributed to the population.58

January 20: Assassins tried to kill Justin Mugenzi, president of the Liberal Party and head of its Hutu Power faction.59

January 20: The Belgian ambassador to the U.N. reported to his ministry of foreign affairs that he had met Iqbal Riza, the assistant to Kofi Annan, to voice Belgian concerns over the situation in Rwanda and over the safety of its troops. Riza explained that the U.N. had chosen a diplomatic approach to try first to make Habyarimana take responsibility and, if that did not work, they would inform the Security Council. Riza also said that Habyarimana’s behavior should be evaluated in two areas: first, disarming the population and dismantling the stocks of weapons and second, forming the transitional government. He admitted that first reports from Kigali were not encouraging since the militias were apparently continuing to distribute arms to the population.60

January 21-22: A French DC-8 landed secretly at night with a load of arms including ninety boxes of sixty mm mortars originally made in Belgium but coming from France. UNAMIR discovered the shipment, which violated the terms of the Arusha Accords, and put the arms under joint UNAMIR-Rwandan army guard.61

January 22: Dallaire again appealed to New York for a broader interpretation of the mandate.62

January 22: Belgian intelligence reported that RTLM was planning to install a new broadcast tower of 1,000 watts on Mont Muhe, in Habyarimana’s homeregion, and that it had been assigned two new frequencies for broadcasting. It later began broadcasting from the new tower.63

January 24: Booh-Booh complained to the press that “weapons are distributed from arms caches around Kigali and even inside town.”64

January 24: Interahamwe were arrested for bombing a house in Kigali and other Interahamwe rioted in the streets.65 In a separate incident, assailants shot at Belgian peacekeepers guarding Booh-Booh’s residence.66

January 25: The Belgian ambassador in Kigali informed his ministry of foreign affairs that Dallaire had appealed to New York for new instructions concerning the UNAMIR mandate, indicating that the force must either be allowed to enforce the ban on arms in Kigali more strictly or UNAMIR must be withdrawn completely.67 He also reported a meeting with Donat Murego, secretary of the MDR, an intellectual of considerable standing who had become increasingly identified with Hutu Power. Murego warned that the Interahamwe were going to launch a civil war in which they would exploit hostility against the Belgians. He blamed Habyarimana, the businessman Kabuga, MRND president Ngirumpatse and propagandist Nahimana for fostering this anger against the Belgians.68

January 26 and 27: Two grenades exploded at the CND building where the RPF were quartered.69 In another incident, assailants fired on Belgian peacekeepers who were on patrol.70

January 26: MRND leaders, including Joseph Nzirorera, Edouard Karemera, Jean Habyarimana, and Robert Kajuga, president of the Interahamwe, reportedlymet to discuss ways to create conflict beween Interahamwe and Belgian soldiers of UNAMIR. The militia were ordered to never obey orders from Belgian soldiers, to call Interahamwe from surrounding areas whenever confronted by Belgians, and to get as many local people as possible to witness the confrontation. The final order was to try to create “a collective psychosis” among UNAMIR troops by using all possible deceptions.71

January 27: RTLM broadcast a call for Hutu to defend themselves to the last man. After a long diatribe against UNAMIR, the radio station called on the population to “take responsibility” for what was happening because otherwise the Belgian soldiers would give Rwanda to the Tutsi.72

January 30: Colonel Marchal reported to his superiors that UNAMIR found it impossible to act effectively and that the troops of other nations in the force were of poor quality. After 924 mobil patrols, 320 foot patrols, and establishing 306 checkpoints, UNAMIR had collected only nine weapons.73

January 30-31: A Belgian soldier threw stones and broke windows at the home of Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, the CDR leader, and supposedly threatened him. RTLM and Radio Rwanda both broadcast the news that Belgian soldiers had tried to kill Barayagwiza. The incident focused attention on the inappropriate behavior of some Belgian soldiers who clearly showed their disdain for pro-Habyarimana forces.74 In another incident, an assailant threw a grenade at UNAMIR headquarters.75 The same day, RTLM broadcast that “the time has come to take aim at Belgian targets.”76

Late January: According to a confidential source, a U.S. government intelligence analyst estimated the potential loss of life should there be renewedconflict in Rwanda. He reportedly described three possibilities, the worst of which would result in the loss of one half million lives. A colleague of the analyst told a Human Rights Watch researcher that this person’s work was usually highly regarded but that his superiors did not take this assessment seriously.77

Late January: The Human Rights Watch Arms Project published a report documenting the flow of arms into Rwanda. After detailing the distributions of arms to civilians, it concluded:

It is impossible to exaggerate the danger of providing automatic rifles to civilians, particularly in regions where residents, either encouraged or instructed by authorities, have slaughtered their neighbors. In light of the widespread and horrific abuses committed by Hutu civilian crowds and party militia armed primarily with machetes and spears, it is frightening to ponder the potential for abuses by large numbers of ill-trained civilians equipped with assault rifles.78

February 1994

February 2: In a thirteen-page memorandum on the Interahamwe to various Belgian authorities, including Lieutenant General Mertens at the Maison Militaire du Roi and the Chef du Cabinet of the Ministry of Defense, Belgian military intelligence summarized much of what was known about the militia. It described their plan to attack Belgian UNAMIR troops in order to get Belgium to withdraw its soldiers from Rwanda, their targeting of Tutsi and members of parties opposed to Habyarimana, and their training and arming by the Rwandan army. The memo remarked that close links were reported between the Interahamwe and some Rwandan soldiers, particularly some in the Presidential Guard and the National Police. Noting that both Habyarimana and the president of the MRND denied the military activities of the Interahamwe, an intelligence officer concluded that the denials changed nothing and that there were strong indications that authorities close to the president of the republic and to the party were involved.79

February 2: Booh-Booh cabled New York that Habyarimana had done nothing to investigate or act on the security issue.80

February 3: Dallaire cabled New York:

We can expect more frequent and more violent demonstrations, more grenade and armed attacks on ethnic and political groups, more assassinations and quite possibly outright attacks on UNAMIR installations...Each day of delay in authorizing deterrent arms recovery operation will result in an ever deteriorating security situation and may if the arms continue to be distributed result in an inability of UNAMIR to carry out its mandate in all aspects.”81

In response, U.N. headquarters increased somewhat Dallaire’s authority to make decisions on his own. It permitted him to assist Rwandan authorities in recovering weapons, but continued to insist that the mandate did not permit UNAMIR to conduct such operations alone.82

February 3: The Belgian ambassador in Kigali reported to his ministry of foreign affairs that UNAMIR was powerless and that it was urgent to halt the distribution of arms and to eliminate the stocks already built up.83 The same day, in Belgium, officers of the general staff informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that in their opinion the grenade attacks that caused insecurity in Kigali were the result of “an organized plan.”84

February 6: Marchal and Dallaire suspended weapons searches at UNAMIR checkpoints following a number of incidents with Rwandan soldiers, the most recent with Chief of Staff Nsabimana himself. Marchal feared “a deliberate intention to create incidents with soldiers of the Belgian detachment.”85

February 8: Marchal asked Dallaire to take action against the “continuous propaganda” of RTLM.86

February 11: Belgian Foreign Minister Willy Claes warned Boutros-Ghali that Rwandan leaders themselves “admit that a prolongation of the current political deadlock could result in an irreversible explosion of violence.” He welcomed Boutros-Ghali’s instructions to Booh-Booh to push harder for the installation of the transitional government and added,

It seems to me, however, that this higher profile of the United Nations on the political level should be accompanied by a firmer stance on the part of UNAMIR with respect to security. I am aware of the complexity of the situation, and of the constraints imposed on you under Security Council resolution 872. Nevertheless, unless the negative developments we are witnessing are halted, UNAMIR might find itself unable to continue effectively its basic mission of playing a major supporting role in the implementation of the Arusha Peace Agreement.87

February 14: The Belgian ambassador at the U.N. reported that the reaction of the secretariat to the foreign minister’s February 11 letter was “rather perplexed” because they had already authorised Dallaire to help local authorities collect arms and dismantle weapons stocks. Dallaire had not come back to the issue of a more active role for UNAMIR although the week before he had said he would make some concrete proposals.88

February 14: The first February issue of Kangura published a cartoon on its cover depicting the prime minister and the minister of finance as rats. Both were Hutu opposed to Habyarimana. A man is about to strike them with a wooden club studded with nails, a weapon that was often used in the genocide. The assailant refers to himself as “No Pity,” recalling one of the Ten Commandments of the Bahutu which directs Hutu to have no pity on the Tutsi.

February 15: Dallaire and Booh-Booh again insist on the importance of recovering illegal weapons and ask for clarification of the mandate.89

February 15: Belgian military intelligence reported that the Rwandan army chief of staff had put all troops on alert, canceled leaves, ordered a check of stocks of ammunition and other war materials, and asked for recruitment of more soldiers.90

February 17: Senior officers of the National Police met with Habyarimana to express fears that war might resume. Habyarimana responsed, “If the RPF begins the war, we have plans to deal with their accomplices.” When they asked for details, Habyarimana suggested that Minister of Defense Augustin Bizimana brief them. Bizimana declined and sent them to the Army Chief of Staff Nsabimana. He too refused to explain the plan.91

February 17: In response to information from the secretary-general delivered on February 10 and February 16, the Security Council “expressed concern” over delays in establishing the transitional government and over the deterioration in the security situation. It discreetly reminded the parties to “respect the weapons-free zone” and warned that UNAMIR would be supported only if they rapidly implemented the Arusha Accords. In a blunter release issued in Kigali, UNAMIR called for an end to militia training and “massive arms distributions.”92

Mid-February: The Rwandan minister of defense requested landing authorization for three planes carrying arms. UNAMIR refused.93

February 20: Assassins tried to kill Prime Minister-designate Twagiramungu and did kill one of his bodyguards.94 In another incident, a crowd stoned Belgian peacekeepers and they had to fire 63 shots in the air in order to free themselves.95

February 20: Army Chief of Staff Nsabimana showed a relative, repected banker Jean Birara, a list of 1,500 persons to be eliminated in Kigali.96

Late February: Major Stanislas Kinyoni reportedly summoned the heads of National Police brigades in Kigali and told them to prepare lists of persons suspected of ties with the RPF. Some of the National Police officers refused and the effort was dropped.97

February 21: Assassins killed the minister of public works and head of the PSD party, Félicien Gatabazi. This murder, like that attempted the day before on Twagiramungu, had been predicted by high-ranking military officers in their December 3 letter to Dallaire, mentioned above. Investigations by UNCIVPOL reportedly revealed participation by several persons close to Habyarimana, including Captain Pascal Simbikangwa, long identified with secret service tortures, and Alphonse Ntilivamunda, son-in-law of Habyarimana.98 When U.N. police later helped arrest a suspect, RTLM reviled them. Several persons, including Simbikangwa, threatened the Kigali prosecutor who had ordered the arrest.99

February 22: Martin Bucyana, president of the CDR, was killed by a mob in Butare in retaliation for the killing of Gatabazi. In another incident, a UNAMIR convoy escorting the RPF was attacked with grenades; one RPF soldier was killed and a U.N. military observer was wounded. High-ranking RPF leaders weresupposed to have been part of the convoy but at the last minute changed their plans.100

February 23: UNAMIR peacekeepers sent to rescue a judge exchanged fire with attackers.101

February 22-26: Interahamwe killed some seventy people and destroyed property in Kigali. Belgian officers described the situation as “explosive,” but UNAMIR, limited by its mandate, could do little to stop the violence.102

February 24: Boutros-Ghali called Habyarimana to insist that the Accords must be implemented and to warn that the international community would not take responsibility if the situation exploded.103

February 25: The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote the Belgian ambassador at the U.N. about the need to strengthen the UNAMIR mandate. Among its points were the following:

· “[A] new bloodbath” could result from the political murders and unrest. (Point 1.)

· Under the present mandate, UNAMIR cannot carry out “a strong maintenance of public order.” (Point 4.)

· “In case the situation were indeed to deteriorate and the UNAMIR orders mentioned above remain in force, public opinion would never tolerate having Belgian peacekeepers remain passive witnesses to genocide and having the U.N. do nothing.” (Point 5.) [Emphasis added.]

· “UNAMIR should play a more active role and raise its profile to reinforce the credibility of the international community.” (Point 6.)

· “The question is whether this is possible without a new mandate from the Security Council. If strengthening UNAMIR requires a new mandate (a new Security Council resolution), there would be problems given the current policy of the United States. At this point, an extension of the operation (peacekeepers, funding) appears excluded for them.” (Point 7.)

· “It will be extremely important to see how the action can be reinforced under the present mandate (including Austrian peacekeepers? More decision-making powers for Dallaire? Temporary deployment of peacekeepers from other operations in the region?) and how to effectively increase diplomatic and political pressure.” (Point 8.)

The memorandum closed by stressing that the Belgians themselves had made no decisions, but that they wanted these points taken into consideration (presumably at the U.N.) before new steps were taken.104

In response, the Belgian ambassador at the U.N. replied that he had discussed the matter with the secretariat and with principal members of the Security Council. (From minutes of a meeting between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense on March 3, it is clear that “secretariat” in fact means the secretary-general himself.105) The discussions yielded the following conclusions:

l. that it is unlikely that either the number of troops or the mandate of UNAMIR would be enlarged; that the United States and Great Britain oppose this both for financial reasons and because the operation was undertaken under chapter 6;

2. that it is also unlikely that the ROE [Rules of Engagement] would be modified;

3. that Austrian troops could be called on only when troops were rotated and then only after Austria had formally requested this;

4. that General Dallaire could help Rwandan authorities plan and carry out the elimination of weapons stocks and could do this in a visible way;

5. that two companies of the Ghanaian battalion will be transferred from the demilitarized zone [in northern Rwanda] to Kigali.106

February 25: Robert Kajuga presided over a meeeting of Interahamwe leaders that recommended greater vigilance against Tutsi in the city of Kigali and asked that lists of Tutsi be drawn up. The leaders decided on a system of communication using telephones, whistles, runners, and public criers. They ordered militia members to be ready to act at any moment using traditional weapons and, for the more experienced—former soldiers and trained militia members—using firearms. In directions presaging collaboration between political parties during the genocide, leaders told the Interahamwe to be ready to come to the aid of members of the militias of the CDR and the MDR. Interahamwe were advised to have nothing to do with thugs who stole, raped, or otherwise harassed people in the name of Interahamwe.107

February 25: The human rights group AVP issued a declaration enumerating victims of recent violence in Kigali, condemning calls for the extermination of the Tutsi heard on RTLM, and urging UNAMIR to establish security in the city.108

February 25: Habyarimana warned Booh-Booh that his life was in danger.109

February 27: Dallaire again sought approval from New York for a plan to confiscate weapons. He also requested reinforcement by a company of 150 soldiers. On this date or shortly after, he expressed fears about a civil war. The peacekeeping office reminded him that the Rules of Engagement permitted the useof weapons only for self-defense and told him to concentrate on getting the new transitional government installed.110

February 27: Belgian intelligence reported on continuing arms deals for the Rwandan army. The arms, bought from Unita in Angola, supposedly were delivered through the Zairean military base at Kamina. From there they were sent to Goma and then across the border into Gisenyi, in northwestern Rwanda.111

February 25-28: The clearly anti-Tutsi character of continuing violence drove Tutsi to seek shelter in religious centers and with U.N. employees. On February 28, the U.N. opened two centers, one near Amahoro stadium and another at the Magerwa storehouse, for Tutsi who were seeking protection.112

February 28: A shell struck between the CND building where the RPF was quartered and the UNAMIR headquarters.113

Late February: The second issue of Kangura for February talked of “The Final Attack” that the RPF was supposedly preparing to make on Kigali. Saying that they knew where Inyenzi were hiding, the journalists mentioned that many were in the part of the city called Biryogo. They ask that “all who are concerned by this problem” be on the alert because “We will not perish little by little.”114

March 1994

March 1: According to the Belgian ambassador in Kigali, RTLM was broadcasting “inflammatory statements calling for the hatred—indeed for the extermination” of the Tutsi.115

March 2: An MRND informant told Belgian intelligence that the MRND had a plan to exterminate all the Tutsi in Kigali if the RPF should dare to resume the war. The informant said this was possible because now “all Hutu speak the same language and are behind a Hutu leader, that is, President Habyarimana.” Regionaldivisions are now ended and the morale of the army is higher than ever. The informant concluded that “if things go badly, the Hutu will massacre them without pity.”116

March 3: UNAMIR Major Podevijn reported to Dallaire about the distribution of weapons to militia in Gikondo, a section of Kigali.117

March 6: A jeep involved in an automobile accident near the RPF headquarters at the CND was found to be fully loaded with ammunition and grenades. Assumed by many to have been destined for the RPF, the weapons had actually been sold by Rwandan soldiers to Burundian insurgents.118

March 10: UNAMIR discovered the manifest of a shipment of heavy weapons for the Rwandan army.119

March 10: Belgian intelligence again reported new arms and new recruits for the Rwandan army and improvement in its morale.120

March 10: Belgian intelligence reported that the MRND executive committee was angry that Habyarimana had gone off for discussions with President Museveni of Uganda without consulting them. The president of the party, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, said this constituted “a serious political error.” Habyarimana had to explain his actions to the party leaders.121

March 13: Dallaire again requested reinforcements of 150 soldiers.122

Mid-March: Dallaire once more sought authorization to seize arms caches, again without success.123

Mid-March: After visiting Rwanda, Belgian Minister of Defense Léo Delcroix reported that Kigali, supposedly a weapons-free zone, was full of arms. He proposed that the mandate, soon to be renewed, be amended to provide “more freedom of movement,” and “more persuasive action.” 124

March 14: Marchal asked his Belgian superiors to respond promptly to his January 15 request for more ammunition. Five days later he remarked that the likelihood of serious conflict was “hardly a fantasy.”125

March 15: The sponsors of the International Commission on Human Rights Abuse in Rwanda (Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, and the Interafrican Union of Human Rights) were joined by Amnesty International in a declaration deploring the growing violence in Rwanda, the distribution of arms, the delays in implementing the Arusha Accords and the efforts of the MRND to obtain a promise of amnesty for those involved in previous human rights abuses.126

March 15: The Belgian ambassador in Kigali reported that UNAMIR had blocked the delivery of loads of arms for the Rwandan army from the Mil-Tec Corporation of the United Kingdom and the Société Dyl-Invest of France.127

March 17: A repected source in the National Police (probably Chief of Staff Ndindiliyimana) told Belgian officers that the UNAMIR mandate should be strengthened so that it could take the initiative and act more firmly. According tohim, the National Police was unable alone to carry out the role assigned to it by the Arusha Accords.128

March 22: Georges Ruggiu, a Belgian announcer on RTLM radio, warned that the Belgians wanted to impose a RPF government of bandits and killers on Rwanda and that the Belgian ambassador had been plotting a coup. He told the Belgians to wake up and go home because, if not, they would face a “fight without pity,” “a hatred without mercy.”129

Third week of March: The officer in charge of intelligence for the Rwandan army told a group including some Belgian military advisers that “if Arusha were implemented, they were ready to liquidate the Tutsi.” (Si Arusha était exécuté, ils étaient prets a liquider les Tutsis.)130

March 26: Dallaire told New York that he needed contingency plans in case an “extreme scenario takes place.”131

March 28: Ferdinand Nahimana sent around to members of the elite his call for “self-defense” originally circulated in February 1993 and asked for suggestions for a “final solution” to the current problems. In the document, he calls for national unity, condemns “the Tutsi league” with its plan for a “Hima empire” and insists that the elite not remain “unconcerned” but rather work with local administrators to rouse the population to the danger of war.132

March 30: CLADHO issued a declaration detailing attacks by soldiers, including the Presidential Guard, and Interahamwe. It again demanded that the soldiers be disciplined and the militia be disarmed.133

March 31: Assailants killed Alphonse Ingabire (known as Katumba), operational head of the CDR. Militia of the CDR killed a member of the PSD and wounded three others.

March 31: In the last days of March, RTLM broadcast increasingly bitter attacks on UNAMIR, including Dallaire, the Belgians, and some Rwandan political leaders.

March 31: With the UNAMIR mandate about to expire, leaders of Rwandan human rights associations and other nongovernmental organizations issued a plea to the Security Council “to maintain and reinforce” UNAMIR because its withdrawal “would be interpreted as abandoning the civilian population to the worst of calamities.”134

April 1994

April 2: RTLM announced that military officers had met with the prime minister to plan a coup against Habyarimana.135

April 2: Army Chief of Staff Nsabimana told Colonel Marchal that the Rwandan military expected an offensive soon by the RPF.136

April 3: RTLM broadcast a prediction that the RPF would do “a little something” with its bullets and grenades on April 3 to April 5 and again from April 7 to 8. This may have been an “accusation in a mirror”—like that advocated by the disciple of the propaganda expert Mucchielli—with Hutu hard-liners accusing Tutsi of preparing to do just what they themselves were planning.137 The prediction increased fears in an already tense situation. Some people who felt at risk sent their children away from Kigali while others took refuge in places thought to be safe havens.

April 3: The German ambassador, speaking for the European Union, expressed concern about increasing insecurity, proliferation of weapons and the “unacceptable role of some media.” He suggested that continued support depended on implementing the Accords.138

April 4: At a party to celebrate the national day of Senegal, Bagosora told people that “the only plausible solution for Rwanda would be the elimination of theTutsi.” Among those present at the time were Dallaire, Booh-Booh, Marchal, and Shariyah Khan, adviser to Booh-Booh. Bagosora reportedly told Marchal that if the RPF attacked successfully, the Rwandan forces had plans for guerrilla warfare against them.139

The U.N. Response to the Warning

The preparations for violence took place in full view of a U.N. peacekeeping force. The commander of that force reported evidence of the worsening situation to his superiors who directed him to observe the narrowest possible interpretation of his mandate. He was in effect to do nothing but keep on talking with the authorities while they kept on preparing for slaughter.

The secretary-general and his subordinates ordered this apparently aberrant interpretation of peacekeeping in an effort to keep within the constraints set by the Security Council. They knew that council members did not regard Rwanda as a priority and were reluctant to invest any more troops or funds in keeping the peace there. Stopping the preparations for slaughter required firm action, which itself might lead to an escalation of violence and the need for more troops and funds. Staff feared that requests for more resources might provoke the council simply to end the mission, thus marking another in a series of failures for the U.N. and its peacekeeping office.140

When Dallaire sent his January 11 telegram, he understood his mandate to permit seizing illegal arms: he stated that he was undertaking the operation rather than requested authorisation for it. But his initiative drew an immediate and supposedly unanimous negative response from the secretariat staff. Recalling that an attempt to confiscate arms had sparked violence and subsequent failure for the U.N. operation in Somalia, they ordered Dallaire not to act. Hiding behind legalities, they insisted that UNAMIR had no authority to create an arms-free zone, only to enforce one created by other parties.141

Dallaire sent five more messages about the need for action, on January 22, February 3, February 15, February 27 and March 13.142 In the last two, sent after the violence set off by Gatabazi’s assassination on February 21, Dallaire requested more troops as well as for a broader interpretation of the mandate.

Dallaire’s demands for action and grim predictions caused friction with his superiors, including the U.N. senior military adviser, Gen. Maurice Baril. Dallaire later protested that he never considered himself “a cowboy,” that is, someone ready to leap to action without forethought, but Baril—a former classmate—and others saw him that way. Baril felt he had to keep Dallaire “on a leash” and other secretariat staff believed he was right to do so.143 Authorities in New York, apparently including the secretary-general, preferred Booh Booh’s reports to those of Dallaire. A diplomat from Cameroon, Booh Booh reportedly thought highly of Habyarimana and presented optimistic assessments of his intentions. Following the late February killings of Tutsi, for example, Booh-Booh reported that there was no proof that the attacks had been ethnically motivated.144

With the UNAMIR troops limited to a passive role, Dallaire’s predictions proved accurate. Unable to seize arms, to prevent the bloodshed of late February, or even to interrupt the broadcasts of RTLM, the force lost credibility rapidly.

Having prohibited Dallaire from acting militarily, the secretary-general sought to move Habyarimana through talk—his own, that of his special representative, and that of other foreign diplomats—combined with threats to take the matter to the Security Council if Habyarimana remained intransigent. On January 13, Boutros-Ghali set a goal of getting Habyarimana to halt the preparations for violence within forty-eight hours, but he then waited until February 10 to take the matter to the Security Council, despite indications much earlier that the Rwandan president did not intend to cooperate. The mild statement issued by the council on February 17 “expressing concern” over the situation only reinforced the impression of U.N. timidity—or perhaps indifference—in face of the preparations for slaughter.

Even though discussions seemed to be leading nowhere, Boutros-Ghali refused to push the Security Council to strengthen the mandate because he believed it was futile to propose a change that the U.S. was sure to oppose. Through early March, he also refused Dallaire’s request for new troops, although he did permit the transfer of 200 Ghanaian peacekeepers from the demilitarized zone in the north to Kigali, changing the location but not the number of soldiers.

When the omens of disaster were multiplying, Boutros-Ghali kept on with the usual practices of the U.N. bureaucracy, doing his best to avoid any open conflict with the powerful members of the Security Council. Accused later of having failed to bring like the January 11 telegram to the attention of the Security Council, Boutros-Ghali and some of his staff asserted that they laid the matter—if not the document itself—before the Security Council the next day. This is not true.145 Although one staff member drew attention to the importance of the telegram by placing it in a black folder, the usual signal that this was a matter for urgent attention, the cable was not delivered to the council members nor were its contents communicated in summarized form, as was often the case for such messages. The subsequent treatment of the document suggests that someone regarded it as potentially damaging. When researchers consulted files from this period, they found the January 11 cable present but not in the appropriate order. Attached to it was the explanation that it had been at one point missing from the folder and was later put back into it. Some months after the genocide, a representative of a nongovernmental organization delivered a copy of the telegram to one high-ranking U.N. official who had stated that there was no such telegram and that rumors of its existence were propaganda by Rwandan extremists.146

In a confidential assessment of the Rwandan crisis, one U.N. staff member concluded that the peacekeeping office had failed to respond to Dallaire’s calls for support and that it was “too conservative in meeting the challenge...[H]ad we usedour imagination we could have prevented the crisis by advising the [Security] Council of the increased tensions and rearmament activities that were going on.”

Such readiness to admit error is welcome from staff, but the ultimate responsibility naturally rests with the secretary-general. His decision not to inform the council fully about the situation limited the possible courses of action open to council members. Even if discussion of the risks of massive slaughter—and of genocide—had not altered the policies of such members as the U.S., the U.K., and France, it might have prompted action by members who ultimately behaved responsibly after April 6. Had these members, the representatives of the Czech Republic, Argentina, Nigeria, New Zealand, and Spain been apprised of the preparations, they might have countered the inertia of others. And had the general public been alerted to the genocidal plans, some citizens and nongovernmental organizations would have had the chance to use the information to press their governments to take the issue seriously.

Responses of the French, U.S., and Belgian Governments

As the foreign governments most involved with Rwanda, France, the U.S., and Belgium followed the deteriorating situation and cooperated with the U.N. and with each other in trying to speed implementation of the Arusha Accords. Despite the clear signs of imminent violence, both France and the U.S. failed to respond with any new initiatives and continued to operate within the same constraints that had shaped their policy towards Rwanda for some time. Belgium, spurred by the added responsibility of having troops on the ground, sought a greater international commitment to prevent the disaster, but failed to invest the energy needed to make the other powers respond.

With close ties to Habyarimana and other high-ranking Rwandan officials and with an undercover intelligence operation in place, France certainly knew about the preparations for killing Tutsi and opponents of Hutu Power. French diplomats and military officers discussed the risk of genocide beginning in 1990 and, according to former Ambassador Martres, the 1994 genocide could have been foreseen in October 1993.147 Bound by its old loyalties, however, France continued to support the Rwandan government diplomatically, in discussions in the Security Council, for example, and militarily, with the delivery of arms. After the January 11 telegram, Boutros-Ghali had looked to France, Belgium, and the U.S. to support his efforts to get Habyarimana to halt the preparations for violence. According to Belgian diplomatic correspondence, it was France that prevented the three fromaddressing the issue when they met with the Rwandan president. Along with the others, France refused to give shelter to the informant.

In the U.S., senior officials may not have listened to the prediction of potential widespread carnage from within their own ranks, but, according to Anthony Lake, then national security adviser to the president, they were aware of Belgian efforts to alert them to such a risk. On one occasion, civilian and military authorities discussed the possibility of sending more troops to Rwanda, but they decided that the number was already too large if the soldiers were there only to observe and that if the proposed reinforcements were sent, the force would still be too small to stop a conflict.148 The U.S. was ready to use diplomatic pressure to improve the situation in Rwanda—and sent Associate Secretary of State for African Affairs Prudence Bushnell to Rwanda for that purpose—but it was not ready to spend more money. U.S. officials refused to support broadening the mandate or any other measure that would substantially increase the expense of UNAMIR.

Belgium tried hardest to respond to the warnings of imminent slaughter. Its representative at the U.N. pushed the secretary-general and members of the peacekeeping staff to permit Dallaire greater freedom of action and to demand faster progress from Habyarimana. Although Foreign Minister Claes conceded on February 11 that broadening the mandate was out of the question, he changed his mind after the killings of late February and actively campaigned for a stronger mandate. One Foreign Ministry official acknowledged the risk of genocide in late February—even using that term—and argued that “If conditions deteriorate, the U.N. and Belgium could not really allow themselves to withdraw from Rwanda.”149

The first Belgian effort to strengthen the mandate failed when the U.S., along with the U.K., refused to consider the proposal and even suggested they would favor a complete withdrawal should the difficulties continue. In mid-March, after the visit of Minister of Defense Léo Delcroix to Rwanda, the Belgians again raised the issue. In discussions with representatives of France and the U.S. on March 22, Belgium proposed that the mandate, about to expire, should be renewed for only a brief period and should be strengthened. France refused to support a stronger mandate, but all agreed that the new term of the mandate should be brief, in order to exert greater pressure on the parties for concrete progress. Delcroix still maintained the importance of a more flexible mandate and on March 29 eventhreatened to end Belgian participation in UNAMIR if no revision were made.150 Although Belgian authorities invested far less energy in trying to change the mandate than they would several weeks later when attempting to end UNAMIR completely, they still did more than other international actors to try to interrupt the movement towards catastrophe.

A Solemn Appeal

On March 28, at the end of the seventh month since the signing of the Accords, Habyarimana and his supporters failed to appear for yet another of the ceremonies scheduled for swearing in members of the broad-based transitional government. The issue this time was whether the CDR should have a seat in the assembly. The RPF and other parties had refused, insisting that the Accords provided for representation of only those parties that subscribed to the Accords, which, at the start, the CDR vociferously did not. But recently the CDR had changed its position and finally subscribed to a code of ethics for political parties, an essential precondition for participation in the assembly. Habyarimana was determined to have the CDR seated because it could provide him with the final vote necessary to block any effort to impeach him.

The same day, the special representative of the secretary-general, the apostolic nuncio, the ambassadors of Belgium, France, Germany, the U.S., Zaire, Uganda, Burundi, and the representative of the Tanzanian facilitator joined in “a solemn appeal” to all parties to resolve their differences and implement the Accords. They expressed the opinion that all political parties in existence at the time the Accords were signed should be represented in the Assembly, that is, that the CDR should have a place. This was in line with the thinking of many diplomats since the beginning—that it was wiser to include the extremists than to attempt to shut them out of power.

With this concession from the international community in hand, Habyarimana set off for Dar es Salaam a few days later to meet with heads of neighboring states. It was expected that this meeting of his peers would exact from him a final commitment to install the new government. Col. Elie Sagatwa, responsible for the security of the president, met twice with Colonel Marchal to plan for the installation ceremonies, which also contributed to the impression that Habyarimana really meant to permit the new government to take power.151 The international actors also knew, as the French ambassador reported to Paris on March 28, that“the cash-drawer was empty.”152 Since the donor nations refused to provide more money until the broad-based government was installed, they may all have counted on near-bankruptcy forcing cooperation, as had been the case with the signing of the Accords the previous August.

Renewing the Mandate

Although some of the signs at the very end of March seemed promising, they did not outweigh the grim indications of trouble ahead. Called upon to assess the situation in his formal report on UNAMIR at the end of its mandate, the secretary-general on March 30 detailed the warnings of the previous months: the distribution of arms, the training of militia, the assassinations, the violent demonstrations, and the laying of mines. Boutros-Ghali could have used this opportunity to insist on strengthening the mandate and sending reinforcements to the peacekeepers, but he did not. To have done so would have involved confronting the reluctance of the Security Council—and specifically the U.S.—to devote the resources needed to improve the situation. It would also have required negotiating with other member states over the numbers of troops to be provided and the duties with which they would be charged.

The secretary-general was ready, however, to risk confrontation over the length of the mandate. The major international actors in Rwanda, as well as the department of peacekeeping, had agreed that the new mandate must be for a brief term of two or three months in order to keep the greatest possible pressure on the parties to implement the Accords. In a surprise move, Boutros-Ghali recommended an extension of six months. Such a time span would have restricted leverage over Habyarimana and opened the way to further delays and continued preparations for violence. After strong reaction from the council members, the term was finally settled at four months.

In analyzing the deteriorating security in Kigali, the secretary-general had noted that “most incidents can be attributed to armed banditry.”153 This explanation was astonishingly like that made by leaders of the MRND on January 12 when Dallaire and Booh-Booh reproached them for violence in the capital. Only secondarily did Boutros-Ghali remark that “ethnic and politically motivated crimes” also had increased. Having stressed that common crime was the problem in Kigali, Boutros-Ghali was in a good position to propose a small increase in the ranks of UNCIVPOL as the solution. At a time when the UNAMIR commanderwas requesting 150 experienced troops to deal with the threat of ethnic and political violence and his second was calling for heavy weaponry to defend the airport, the secretary-general asked the Security Council for forty-five policemen. He assured council members that “the cost implications of this proposed personnel increase will be minimal.”154 It was the cheaper solution—or so it seemed.

1 United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, p. 28.

2 Cmdr. HQ Sector [Col. Luc Marchal, Commander of the Belgian contingent, UNAMIR] to COPS, no. 1554, January 15, 1994 (confidential source); Filip Reyntjens, Rwanda, Trois Jours Qui Ont Fait Basculer l’Histoire (Brussels: Institut Africain, 1995), pp. 17-18.

3 Sénat de Belgique, Commission d’enquête parlementaire concernant les événements du Rwanda, Rapport, 6 Décembre 1997, pp. 334-5 [Hereafter cited as Commission d’enquête, Rapport]. Note that this report reprints the report of the Groupe Ad Hoc of the Belgian Senate.

4 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, October 25, 1997.

5 Allan Thompson, “Nightmare of the Generals in 1994,” The Sunday Star, October 5, 1997.

6 Walter de Bock and Gert Van Langendonck, “Legerstaf wist alles over nakende genocide Rwanda,” De Morgen, November 4, 1995, p. 1. 7 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, pp. 69, 74; Commandement des Forces Armées Rwandaises en Exil, “Contribution des FAR,” p. 24; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview with diplomat present in Kigali at the time, by telephone, Washington, January 13, 1997. 8 “Declaration de l’Association des Volontaires de la Paix sur la Sécurité au Rwanda depuis la Signature des Accords d’Arusha,” November 23, 1993 (AVP). 9 Communiqué du CDR, signed by Martin Bucyana, Kigali, November 23, 1993 (RPF Human Rights Committee, Kigali). 10 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 70. 11 Ibid., p. 29. 12 Commandement des Forces Armées Rwandaises en Exil, “Contribution des FAR,” p. 22; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview with diplomat present in Kigali at the time, by telephone, Washington, January 13, 1997. 13 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, January 26, 1996, Brussels, August 13, 1998; Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 87, n. 50. 14 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology,” Document by U.N. staff member not otherwise identified (confidential source). 15 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 70. 16 Ibid., p. 37. 17 Anonymous to Monsieur le Commandant de la Mission des Nations unies pour l’assistance au Rwanda, December 3, 1993 (confidential source). The letter is reprinted in Guichaoua, Les Crises Politiques, p. 654, where General Rusatira is listed among the signers. Rusatira, however, denies having signed the letter. 18 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 65. 19 CLADHO, Memorandum Adressé à la Minuar et aux Missions Diplomatiques en Rapport avec les Tueries en Cours dans le Pays, December 8, 1993. 20 Consultative Council of Organizations Supporting Grass-roots Initiatives (Conseil de Concertation des Organisations d’Appui aux Initiatives de Base, CCOAIB), Communiqué de Presse, December 17, 1993. 21 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 83. 22 Walter de Bock, “Belgische ‘Wijkagenten’ zagen voorbereiding genocide,” De Morgen, November 4, 1995, p. 5. 23 Msgr. Wenceslas Kalibushi and priests of Kibuye and Gisenyi, Communiqué de Presse, December 28, 1993 (ADL). 24 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Brussels, January 26, 1997. 25 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, July 2, 1995; Kigali, July 13, 1996. 26 Walter de Bock, “Belgische ‘Wijkagenten’ zagen voorbereiding genocide,” De Morgen, November 4, 1995, p. 5. 27 Document 6, Belgian Military Intelligence, January 8, 1994 (confidential source). 28 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, pp. 61, 65. 29 Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 38. 30 General Dallaire to U.N., New York, Code Cable MIR 39, January 6, 1994 (confidential source). 31 Anonymous, “Chronology-Rwanda,” Draft document by U.N. staff member not otherwise identified, March 16, 1994 (confidential source). 32 Service de Police Judiciaire auprès de la Justice Militaire, En cause de Dewez Joseph and Marchal Luc, Annexe A/5 au PV no. 1210 du 6/11/95; Major Hock to Maison Militaire du Roi Ministre de la Défense Nationale and others, February 2, 1994 (confidential source). 33 Document 6, Belgian Military Intelligence, January 8, 1994. 34 Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe, CLADHO, CCOAIB, “Declaration des Collectifs Relative au Retard de la Mise sur Pied des Institutions de Transition Definies dans l’Accord de Paix d’Arusha,” January 8, 1994 (CLADHO). 35 Service de Police Judiciaire auprès de la Justice Militaire, En cause de Dewez Joseph and Marchal Luc, Annexe A/5 au PV no. 1210 du 6/11/95. 36 Document 7, Belgian Military Intelligence, January 9, 1994 (confidential source). 37 Document 8, Belgian Military Intelligence, January 10, 1994 (confidential source). 38 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, August 13, 1998; Augustin Ndindiliyimana, “Témoignage à la Commission Spéciale Rwanda,” Brussels, April 21, 1994, (sic) p. 20. 39 Emphasis added. As is shown above, Habyarimana and his circle often used massacres and other violence to disrupt a political process which was working. 40 Outgoing Code Cable from Dallaire\UNAMIR\Kigali to Baril\DPKO\UNations New York, January 11, 1994. 41 Service de Police Judiciaire auprès de la Justice Militaire, En cause de Dewez Joseph and Marchal Luc, Annexe A/6 au PV no. 1210 du 6/11/95 (confidential source). 42 Philip Gourevitch, “The Genocide Fax,” The New Yorker, May 11, 1998, pp. 43-46. 43 Fax from Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh and General Dallaire to DPKO, U.N., January 13, 1994 (confidential source). 44 Ibid; “Answers to Questions Submitted to Major-General Dallaire by the Judge-Advocate General of the Military Court,” pp. 7-8 (confidential source). 45 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 85. 46 Service de Police Judiciaire auprès de la Justice Militaire, En cause de Dewez Joseph and Marchal Luc, Annexe A/6 au PV no. 1210 du 6/11/95. 47 CLADHO, “Memorandum Relatif au Retard de la Mise en Place des Institutions de la Transition Elargie Adressé aux Hommes Politiques Rwandais,” January 13, 1994 (AVP). 48 Col. Luc Marchal, “Considérations relatives aux conditions dans lesquelles j’ai exercé ma fonction de Commandant du Secteur Kigali au sein de la MINUAR (Mission des Nations Unies d’Assistance au Rwanda) du 04 décembre 1993 au 19 avril 1994” (confidential source). 49 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 41; United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, p. 32. According to the report of the French National Assembly, the three diplomats made a demarche to Habyarimana “in the same sense”—but not identical to—that of the U.N. representatives. Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, Rapport, p. 203. 50 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 86. 51 Ibid, p. 86. 52 Ibid., p. 41. 53 Comdr. HQ Sector to COPS, Nb Cir. 1554, January 15, 1994 (confidential source). 54 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 86. 55 Marchal, “Considerations relatives,” p. 14; Annexe A/7 au PV no. 1210 du 6/11/95 du Service de Police Judiciaire auprès de la Justice Militaire. 56 Walter de Bock and Gert Van Langendonck , “Falende VN-bureaukratie werd blauwhelmen fataal,” De Morgen, November 7, 1995. 57 Commission d’enquête, Rapport, p. 253. 58 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 62. 59 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.” 60 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, pp. 44, 87. 61 Ibid; Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 133; Filip Reyntjens, Rwanda, Trois Jours, p. 19. 62 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.” 63 Document 12, Belgian Military Intelligence, January 22, 1994 (confidential source); Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, August 13, 1998. 64 Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 38. 65 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.” 66 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 38. 67 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 87. 68 Ibid., p. 45. 69 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.” 70 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 38. 71 Document 15, Belgian Military Intelligence, January 29, 1994 (confidential source). 72 Document 14, Belgian Military Intelligence, January 27, 1994 (confidential source). 73 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 88. 74 Document 16, Belgian Military Intelligence, February 1, 1994 (confidential source). 75 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 38. 76 Ibid., p. 46. 77 Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, December 8, 1995. 78 Human Rights Watch Arms Project, “Arming Rwanda,” p. 27. 79 Major Hock, Service Générale du Renseignement et de la Sécurité, to Maison Militaire du Roi, Ministre de la Défense Nationale, and others, February 2, 1994. 80 Fax from Booh-Booh to DPKO, New York, February 2, 1994 (confidential source). 81 General Dallaire to U.N., New York, Code Cable MIR 267, February 3, 1994 (confidential source). 82 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.” 83 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 88. 84 Ibid., p. 71. 85 Ibid., pp. 47, 89. 86 Colonel L. Marchal to Force Commander, Nr CO/008, February 8, 1994 (confidential source). 87 United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, p. 244, where the letter is dated 14 March 1994. The Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc publishes extracts in French, p. 89, and dates the letter to February 11. This date is confirmed in the Rapport of the Commission d’enquête, p. 242, n. 1. 88 Commission d’enquête, Rapport, pp. 380-81. 89 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.” 90 Document 17, Belgian Military Intelligence, February 17, 1994 (confidential source). 91 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Brussels, May 26, 1997, August 13, 1998. 92 United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, pp. 32-33, 243; Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, p. 205. 93 Human Rights Watch interview, General Romeo Dallaire, by telephone, Kigali, February 25, 1994. 94 Anonymous, “Chronology-Rwanda.” 95 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 38. 96 Marie-France Cros, “Jean Birara: ‘The Belgians and French Could Have Stopped the Killing,’” La Libre Belgique, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Central Africa, May 25, 1994. 97 Anonymous, “La Milice Interahamwe.” 98 Reyntjens, Rwanda, Trois Jours, p. 6l. 99 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview by telephone, Brussels, January 26, 1997. 100 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 38; Anonymous, “Chronology-Rwanda.” 101 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, pp. 48-49. 102 Tribunal de Première Instance de Bruxelles, Deposition de Témoin, dossier 57/95, September 18, 1995 (confidential source); Ibid., p. 38. 103 United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, p. 34. According to another source, the call may have been made several days later, following growing Belgian pressure. Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, October 25, 1997.

104 The Senate Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc publishes points 1 and 5 as part of a telex dated February 25, 1994 (p. 77) and points 4 and 6-9 as part of a telex dated February 24, 1994 (p.90). The report of the Commission d’enquête (p. 393) shows them to have been part of the same document, dated February 25.

105 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 91.

106 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 77.

107 Document 18, Belgian Military Intelligence, [February 27, 1994?] (confidential source).

108 AVP, “Declaration de l’Association des Volontaires de la Paix sur l’Assassinat des Hommes Politiques Rwandais et les Massacres des Populations Civiles par les Milices CDR et Interahamwe,” February 25, 1994.

109 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology;” Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, October 25, 1997.

110 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.”

111 Document 19, Belgian Military Intelligence, February 27, 1994 (confidential source).

112 Sénat, Rapport du Group Ad Hoc, pp. 71-72.

113 Ibid., p. 39.

114 Kangura, no. 57, février 1994, p. 4.

115 Sénat, Rapport du Group Ad Hoc, p. 78.

116 Document 20, Belgian Military Intelligence, March 2, 1994 (confidential source).

117 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p.63.

118 Reyntjens, Rwanda, Trois Jours, p. 19; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, July 29, 1998.

119 Anonymous, “Rwanda, Chronology.”

120 Document 21, Belgian Military Intelligence, March 10, 1994 (confidential source).

121 Ibid.

122 Adelman and Suhrke, Early Warning, p. 88, n. 60.

123 Walter de Bock and Gert Van Langendonck, “Falende VN-bureaukratie werd blauwhelmen fataal,” De Morgen, November 7, 1995, p. 6.

124 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 91.

125 Comdr. HQ Sector to COPs, Nb Ctr: 2600, March 14, 1994 and Luc Marchal to Monsieur l’Ambassadeur, March 20, 1994 (confidential source).

126 Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Interafrican Union of Human Rights, International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, “Declaration of Five International Human Rights Organizations Concerning the Delays in the Implementation of the Peace Agreements in Rwanda,” March 15, 1994.

127 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 133.

128 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 91.

129 Ibid., p. 49.

130 Commission d’enquête, Rapport, p. 334.

131 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, October 25, 1997.

132 Nahimana, “Le Rwanda: Problèmes Actuels, Solutions.”

133 CLADHO, “Declaration sur les Violations Systematiques et Flagrantes des Droits de l’Homme en Cours dans le Pays Depuis Les Tentatives de Mise en Place des Institutions de Transition,” March 30, 1994 (CLADHO).

134 Société Civile, c/o Centre Iwacu, “Déclaration de la Société Civile au Rwanda dans sa réunion du 31 mars 1994.”

135 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, August 4, 1998.

136 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Brussels, July 24, 1998.

137 RTLM, April 3, 1994, recorded by Faustin Kagame (provided by Article 19).

138 Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis,p. 209.

139 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, p. 79; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Brussels, July 24, 1998.

140 See the statement of Kofi Annan, then Undersecretary-general for Peacekeeping. Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, Rapport, p. 204. 141 Sénat, Rapport du Groupe Ad Hoc, pp. 89-91; United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, p. 32. 142 One request was for permission to raid Habyarimana’s home commune where military had reportedly stored heavy weapons removed from the capital to evade monitoring by UNAMIR. It was denied “because of the political implications.” Thompson, “Nightmare of the Generals in 1994.” 143 Jess Sallot and Paul Knox, “Rwanda a Watershed for Baril,” Globe and Mail, September 25, 1997. 144 Code Cable MIR 409, 24 February 1994 (confidential source). 145 United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, p. 32; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews with a council member and others, in New York and by telephone, March 8, 1995, February 19, 1996, December 23, 1997. Iqbal Riza, then Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, admitted in a British Broadcasting Company telecast on December 7, 1998 that the secretariat had not given the telegram the importance it deserved. He had confirmed in an earlier Canadian Broadcasting Company telecast that the telegram had never been presented to the Security Council. 146 Human Rights Watch interviews, Washington, December 8, 1995; by telephone, April 26, 1998. According to one source, there were two cables, one coded and one not, one dealing with more political matters, the other with more military issues. 147 Assemblée Nationale, Mission d’information commune, Enquête, Tome I, Rapport, pp. 226, 281, Tome II, Annexes pp. 133-4. 148 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, by telephone, Washington, May 4, 1998 and Washington, July 16, 1998; Commission d’enquête, Rapport, pp. 244, 336. 149 Commission d’enquête, Rapport, p. 393. 150 Commission d’enquête, Rapport, p. 281. 151 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Brussels, May 4, 1998. 152 Jouan, “Rwanda, 1990-1994" p. 43. 153 United Nations, The United Nations and Rwanda, p. 249. 154 Ibid., p. 250.

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