Rwandan Genocide Essay
“[I]f humanitarian intervention is, indeed, an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica””to gross and systematic violations of human rights that offend every precept of our common humanity?
” A year later, in a paradigm-shifting answer, an international commission re-cast state sovereignty as responsibility rather than control.
We now know the genocide was the premeditated choice of a small elite intent on staying in power.While neither universally accepted nor legally binding, the notion of a “˜responsibility to protect’ (R2P) decisively entered the lexicon of international relations. In authorizing intervention in Darfur in 2006, the UN Security Council took the unprecedented step of explicitly invoking R2P.Its normative power is reflected in the more robust mandates of UN peacekeeping missions since Rwanda.During this time there was no outside help from the United States or any other country.The UNAMIR (United nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda) were given orders to stay on "stand by" and were not allowed to intervene because they would breach their monitoring mandate.Genocide in Rwanda The definition of genocide as given in the Webster's College Dictionary is "The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." This definition depicts the situation in 1994 of Rwanda, a small, poor, central African country.The Rwandan genocide was the systematic extermination of over eight hundred thousand Tutsi, an ethnic group in Rwanda, by the Hutu, another ethnic group in Rwanda.The idea had waxed and waned for decades, but the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened its doors eight years after the genocide.Critics accuse it of inefficiency and political bias: two convictions in 12 years and all eight investigations focused on Africa.Eventually, though, the Rwandan Patriotic Front defeated the militias and the Rwandan army, and the genocide ended.Rwanda’s genocide, twenty years ago this month, symbolizes the zenith of ethnic violence in Africa and international indifference toward it. It is true that mass atrocity is still not a ghost of the past and international inaction in the face of it is still not an unthinkable choice.