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The Rwanda Genocide

  • Period: to

    Colonisation and Life Under European Rule

    The Belgian administrators believed in the racial theories of the time and convinced themselves that the Tutsi were racially superior. The Tutsi minority (14%) were instigated as the aristocracy ruling class, with the Hutu majority (85%) constituting the working class. This socio-economic hierarchy was thoroughly supported and intensified by the Belgian Colonialists.
  • Rwanda becomes a colony of the German Empire

    Rwanda becomes a colony of the German Empire
    In early 1890, the Germans colonise much of central Africa, unlike later colonialist rulers, with only 2,500 soldiers in East Africa, Germany did little to change social structures in much of the region, especially in Rwanda.
  • Belgians Occupy Rwanda

    Belgians Occupy Rwanda
    Throughout World War I Germany's colonies were continuously invaded by Allied forces around the globe, and like Rwanda, subsequently occupied for the remainder of the war.
  • Belgium bestowed Mandate for Rwanda by the League of Nations

    Belgium bestowed Mandate for Rwanda by the League of Nations
    On July 20, 1922, the League of Nations Council gave Belgium a mandate over the Territory of Ruanda-Urundi, Belgium was officially supposed to administer the country while respecting freedom of religion, prohibiting slavery and pledging not to establish any military bases in the territory.
  • Racial Identification Cards Introduced

    Racial Identification Cards Introduced
    The administration of Ruanda-Urundi is left in the hands of the Tutsi aristocracy. The Belgians, influenced by the increasingly popular theory of social Darwinism, recognize the more 'developed' Tutsi as a superior and more 'European-like' ethnic group.
    This is soon followed by the adminstering of Ethnic ID cards, which introduced a rigid racial concept of group identity that had not previously existed in Rwandan Society.
  • Establishment of the UN

    Establishment of the UN
    The United Nations replaced the failed League of Nations as the major coalition Peace Keeping international group.
  • Rwanda becomes UN trust territory

    Rwanda becomes UN trust territory
    Still governed by Belgium, Rwanda becomes a UN trust territory, which included the promise that the Belgians would prepare the country for independence.
  • 'Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide' adopted by UN

    'Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide' adopted by UN
    The Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. This in respone to the horrific scale of the Jewish Holocaust, and it was an international agreement to prevent such a tragedy happen without intervention. Unfortunately this convention was completely useless in the Rwanda Genocide of 1994.
  • Bahutu Manifesto Published

    Bahutu Manifesto Published
    The Bahutu Manifesto, drafted by Rwandan Hutu intellectuals in 1957, was a political document that called for Hutu ethnic and political unity, as well as the political exclusion of the Tutsi people. It served as the political pretext for the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. It emphasized the need for Hutu self-preservation against decades of discrimination by Tutsis, while also strongly denouncing the privileged status bestowed to the Tutsi minority under the German and Belgian colonial regimes.
  • Period: to

    De-colonisation and Independence Movements

  • The Hutu Revolution Begins

    The Hutu Revolution Begins
    In 1959, as a direct consequence of the inter-ethnic tension heightened by the Bahutu Manifesto, Hutu political leaders overthrew the Tutsi monarchy with the aid of the Belgian authorities. In the ensuing violence, around 10,000 Tutsi people were killed, whilst some 130,000 others fled to neighbouring countries. This violence exacerbated ethnic tensions, undermined Rwandan political stability, and set the stage for the Rwanda Genocide.
  • Rwanda Proclaimed a Republic

    Rwanda Proclaimed a Republic
    In 1961, after a national referendum that voted overwhelmingly against remaining a kingdom, Rwanda was proclaimed a republic.
  • Rwanda gains Independence - Kayibanda elected President

    Rwanda gains Independence - Kayibanda elected President
    The UN internationally recognize the legitimacy of the new Rwandese Republic, and provide the oversight to grant the emerging African nation complete independence.
    Rwanda quickly became a Hutu-dominated one-party state under Hutu President Gregoire Kayibanda (a significant political figure who had led the Hutu "emancipation" movement, been involved in the Bahutu Manifesto, and helped militarize the Hutu people)
  • Period: to

    Exiled Tutsi Rebels Launch Guerrilla Campaign

    The thousands of Tutsis that had fled Rwanda's ethnic violence began to form guerilla groups (notably the RPF) and led military incursions into Rwanda from neighboring Uganda and Burundi in order to destabilize the Hutu state. Unfortunately, this exacerbated ethnic tensions in the country, and strengthened the image of Tutsis as 'cockroaches intent on destroying the republic'. In response, many Hutu gravitated toward the Hutu Power ideology.
  • Burundi Genocide

    In response to a Hutu rebellion that killed 12,000 Tutsi, the Burundi government (southern neighboring country of Rwanda) orchestrated revenge killings on the Hutu population, killing over a 100,000 Hutu Burundis. The genocide of 1972 left a permanent mark in the collective memory of the Hutu population, both in Burundi and in Rwanda. Tens of thousands of Hutu civilians fled the country during the violence into Rwanda. This massacre further radicalized elements of the Hutu population in Rwanda.
  • Kayibanda Overthrown - Habyarimana becomes new President

    Kayibanda Overthrown - Habyarimana becomes new President
    On July 5, 1973, a military coup toppled Kayibanda without violence and installed Maj. Gen. Juvénal Habyarimana, a moderate Hutu who was commander of the national guard. Despite this militaristic title, Habyarimana's rise to power signalled a new period of prosperity and relative peace for Rwanda, although Tutsi's would remain the socio-politcal scapegoats of the nation's vast problems.
  • 1978 Constitution

    1978 Constitution
    This constitution replaced the 1962 constitution and constitutionally established a one-party state.
  • RPF formed

    RPF formed
    Exiled Tutsis, with newly-found military experience from participation in border skirmishes, formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which although having Tutsi leadership was comprised of 40% Hutu, disenchanted with the ruling Hutu government. Note: French Translation - 'Front patriotique rwandais' (FPR)
  • Collapse of Coffee Prices

    Collapse of Coffee Prices
    Rwanda's coffee industry is a huge component of their economy, constituting over 60% of their total exports. Thus, when the global value of coffee prices collapsed in mid-1989, the economic repercussions in Rwanda were catastrophic. The nation's economy failed, and naturally, the Tutsi were blamed. Ethnic tensions heightened, and living standards dropped dramatically.
  • RPF Invade Rwanda

    RPF Invade Rwanda
    RPF invade Rwanda, in attempt to regain equal citizen status for the Tutsi people.
  • Arusha Peace Agreement

    Arusha Peace Agreement
    This treaty, between the Tutsi-controlled RPF and Habyarimana's Rwandan government, ended a 3 year border war between the two factions. It weakened the presidential powers and was a large step towards a functioning multi-party government, with the possibility of Tutsi representation.
    Unfortunately, Habyarimana held little respect for Arusha Peace Accords, and referred to them as simply "pieces of paper".
  • Early Warning Signs of Genocide Preparation

    Early Warning Signs of Genocide Preparation
    On January 11, General Dallaire warned the United Nations in New York of the existence of a plan for the systematic assassination of the Tutsi population, and of political opponents to Juvénal Habyarimana and to Hutu Power. A structure essentially based on the Interahamwe militias was ready to implement this plan. Dallaire requested permission to carry out search and disarmament operations were to begin again in Rwanda, it could cause the deaths of 500,000 people. The UN refused.
  • Assassination of Habyarimana

    Assassination of Habyarimana
    Rwandan President's plane is shot down. The Tutsi are initially blamed. It is the signal for the Genocide to begin.
  • Period: to

    The Genocide

    Beginning on 6th April, with the controversial and sudden death of the President Habyarimana, the following months were the most concentrated period of violence and systematic murder in modern history.
  • RPF Major Offensive - Genocide Begins

    RPF Major Offensive - Genocide Begins
    RPF launches a major offensive. At the same time extremist Hutu militia and elements of the Rwandan military begin the systematic massacre of Tutsis. Within 100 days around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus are killed; Hutu militias flee to Zaire, taking with them around 2 million Hutu refugees.
  • RPF Win Civil War

    RPF Win Civil War
    RPF declare a ceasefire, the war between the RPF and the Hutu Rwandan Army is over.
  • Period: to

    (Very) Gradual Recovery

    Rwanda is very slowly recovering from the events that crippled its nation economically, politically, and socially.
    The current RPF-led government’s militaristic and totalitarian-like system opposes democracy, as the idea of democracy had been presented as both a Tutsi imposition and a colonialist one. Unfortunately, but understandably, it remains a disdainful concept in the cultural mindset of the Hutu majority.
  • International Criminal Court Established in Rwanda

    International Criminal Court Established in Rwanda
    UN-appointed international tribunal begins charging and sentencing a number of people responsible for the Hutu-Tutsi atrocities.
  • UN admit Rwanda an operational 'Failure'

    UN admit Rwanda an operational 'Failure'
    In 2000, the UN explicitly declared its reaction to Rwanda a "failure". Then Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said of the Genocide: "The international community failed Rwanda, and that must always leave us with a sense of bitter regret."
  • First multi-party parliamentary elections

    First multi-party parliamentary elections
    President Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front wins absolute majority. EU observers say poll was marred by irregularities and fraud.