Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, March 31, 1999 Published at 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK

World: Africa

Rwanda slaughter 'could have been prevented'

The violence left hundreds of orphan, injured children

The United States, Belgium, France and the UN Security Council all had prior warning about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and could have prevented it, says a new report published by the US-based Human Rights Watch group,

"The Americans were interested in saving money, the Belgians were interested in saving face, and the French were interested in saving their ally, the genocidal government," said Alison Des Forges, a scholar on Rwanda and author of the report.

[ image: The refugee scene in 1994]
The refugee scene in 1994
UN officials are accused of consistently refusing troop requests by the commanding officer of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda.

Lt Gen Romeo Dallaire of Canada warned of 1994's systematic killing, but support forces were never sent.

Belgium pulled its troops out following the deaths of 10 Belgian peacekeepers on the first day of the genocide. Belgium subsequently supported the US position against increasing the peacekeepers' mandate.

France, a close ally of the Hutu government in Rwanda, has been accused of sending them military support both before and during the genocide.

"Reacted timidly and tardily"

Entitled "Leave none to tell the story," the 771-page report criticises the US, Belgium, France and the UN Security Council because they "failed to act effectively".

"Even worse, foreign leaders reacted timidly and tardily once the killing began," says the report.

Last week, the UN Security Council said it supported an independent inquiry into UN activity, and the actions of Security Council permanent members, before and during the genocide between April 6 and July 4, 1994.

More than half a million of the country's minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in that time.

The new report, published by the US-based Human Rights Watch group came out a week before the fifth anniversary of the 90 days of slaughter in Rwanda.

Elections praised

As Rwanda's elections continued on Wednesday, President Pasteur Bizimungu said he was happy with the conduct of the polls so far.

[ image: Voting is going on for
Voting is going on for "sector level" elections
Addressing voters in Kigali prefecture he said: "This is to foster development nationwide because the population has been given the right to shape their own destiny, by choosing their own leaders."

Bizimungu said that after the current "sector level" elections, the next move was to conduct elections at higher units of Rwanda's administrative structures. He did not say this would take place.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

30 Mar 99 | Africa
High turnout in Rwanda poll

23 Mar 99 | Africa
UN plan Rwanda failures inquiry

04 May 98 | Africa
Annan defends record on Rwanda

18 Mar 99 | Africa
Eyewitness: Rwanda's survivors

27 Apr 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
From butchery to executions in Rwanda

Internet Links

Rwandan Information Exchange

Coverage of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Amnesty International: Rwanda report 1998

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief