Four Variables in Preventive Diplomacy: Their Application in the Rwanda Case


By Rick Orth


On 6 April 1994, Hutu extremists shot down Rwandan President Habyarimana’s plane and began the systematic execution of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.1 In less than an hour, roadside barriers sprang up throughout Kigali and the Presidential Guard began arresting and executing people from a compiled list.2 Shortly thereafter, they began their planned full-scale genocide, in which between 500,000 and one million people were slaughtered in less than three months. Hutu extremists chose to ignore the Arusha Accords, which were to resolve Rwanda’s political dilemma, in favor of a “final solution” to obtain political victory. However, as the civil war reignited, they soon lost any hope of such a victory, since the Tutsi-dominated Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) won a military victory and gained control of the Rwandan government in July 1994.

Was the genocide preventable? Clearly, there were warning signs which could have triggered international action to prevent the impending blood bath. Amnesty International reported that 2,300 people were killed, with complete impunity, prior to Habyarimana’s assassination.3 The signing of the Arusha Peace Agreement on 4 August 1993 represented an apparent success for preventive diplomacy. However, this was just the beginning of its test as an effective means to stem violent conflict. The resolve of all parties to uphold an agreement and the ability of the international community to influence the parties to continue the path toward peace when impediments occur are critical variables for successful preventive diplomacy. The Rwanda catastrophe does not deal a death blow to this means of conflict resolution. However, an examination of the period from the signing of the Arusha Accords to Habyarimana’s murder illuminates some weaknesses which must be addressed to make preventive diplomacy more effective in resolving future crises.

Requirements for Effective Preventive Diplomacy

Stephen Stedman defines preventive diplomacy as concerted action designed to resolve, manage, or contain disputes beforethey become violent.4 It implies that a third party serves as a mediator to resolve conflict between two or more parties. The first step in preventive diplomacy is getting the disputing parties to consent to resolve their differences through negotiation. Once an agreement is reached, the parties must abide by it and implement it. These first requirements refer to the disputing parties, and therefore are called internal variables. In the best case, successful preventive diplomacy produces a negotiated settlement which both parties are prepared to implement.

The humanitarian tragedies of Rwanda were caused mainly by leaders who were interested neither in reaching non-violent solutions to conflicts nor in making concessions.5 At Arusha, the Rwanda government, RPF, and Hutu opposition parties appeared to want peace and to uphold the accords. However, it soon became clear that extremist elements within the Hutu government did not really intend to abide by the agreement. In such a situation, successful preventive diplomacy requires external actors to influence the concerned parties to implement and uphold the agreed solution. External influence usually takes the form of political or economic “carrots and sticks” which are used to persuade the internal factions to abide by the agreements. If this does not work, then the only means to avert a breakdown is the willingness of external actors to threatento use military force and, if necessary, to use it. Stedman stressed that:

Such willingness need not be costly, if the threat is enough to make leaders back down. But if threats prove ineffective, then only the use of force with the risk of prolonged involvement in a civil war will work.6

These last two requirements, called external variables, concern the international actors who want to resolve the conflict peacefully, but who also are willing, if necessary, to use force to do so. The four variables required for effective preventive diplomacy will be analyzed in the context of Rwanda, from August 1993 until 6 April 1994.

From Ethnic Turmoil to Civil War

The seeds of Rwanda’s civil war were sown in 1959, when Hutus with Belgian support ousted the Tutsi monarchy.7 Shortly afterward, a Hutu “revolution” resulted in massacres of Tutsis and the creation of the Tutsi diaspora. Attempts by Tutsi exiles to launch insurgencies in early 1960s failed with Hutu backlashes against the internal Tutsi population.8 The 1990 RPF invasion from Uganda brought similar reprisals against Tutsis by the Habyarimana regime. Anyone who opposed the regime was viewed as an RPF supporter.

It was the refusal of the Habyarimana regime to accept a peaceful resolution of the status of expatriate Tutsi refugees and their return to Rwanda that prompted the 1990 invasion. On 1 October 1990, RPF forces, composed primarily of 10,000 Tutsi exiles from Uganda’s National Resistance Army, launched a conventional attack from Uganda into northern Rwanda. This attack began a new chapter in roughly thirty years of bloodshed between Hutus and Tutsis. The

Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR), with help from French and Zairian troops, pushed the rebels back into Uganda. The Rwandan government soon asked the undisciplined Zairian soldiers to leave as they became more of a hindrance than a help. However, French paratroopers remained until December 1993. The RPF (also called the RPA ­ Rwandan Patriotic Army) under Paul Kagame’s command, reorganized its forces to pursue a guerrilla war in northern Rwanda. Government propaganda caused masses of Hutu peasants to flee RPF advances throughout the course of the civil war.9 Through a series of offensives and subsequent negotiated withdrawals, the RPF gained control of about five percent of Rwanda along the border with Uganda when it signed a ceasefire in August 1993 with the Rwanda government.

In response to the RPF invasion, the 5,000 man FAR rapidly expanded with French training assistance to nearly 30,000 by 1993.10 The Presidential Guard and Hutu extremist militias (the ruling Mouvement National Republicain pour la Democratie et le Developpement [MNRD]’s interahamwe and the Coalition pour la Defense de la Republique [CDR]’s impuzamubambi), who comprised the main perpetrators of the genocide and preceding political violence, emerged during this expansion. France, Egypt and South Africa provided the bulk of the arms used to equip the expanded army and militias.11 The flood of heavier weapons, namely armored vehicles, mortars and artillery, contributed to thousands of civilian casualties and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, especially when the war resumed in April 1994. As the FAR increased its strength, so did its tendency to commit crimes with impunity. Massacre operations, especially those carried out by the Presidential Guard, became the order of the day.12 The Presidential Guard, the regime’s most trusted unit, consisted exclusively of Hutu extremists from the northwest, President and Madame Habyarimana’s home.

The interahamwe, the armed youth wing of the MNRD, was created in 1992 with the sole purpose of terrorizing the perceived enemies of the Habyarimana regime. The much smaller impuzamugambi was created later for the same reason. Although France may not have directly trained the militias and youth wings of the MNRD and CDR, these elements received terrorist training at FAR bases throughout the country.13 An OAU Neutral Military Observer Group (OAUNMOG)14 officer stated that, “military officers out of uniform led extremist Hutu militia units and had an efficient system in place that could mobilize 500 plus youths in an hour to execute specific missions” (initially demonstrations, but later political violence and after 6 April 1994, mass murder).15 Nationwide, the interahamwe and the impuzamugambi ranged between 10,000 and 30,000 members.

From October 1990 until August 1993, the Rwandan government fought a civil war against the RPF, while simultaneously trying to make progress on political reform. In April 1992, a multi-party government was sworn in. Serious negotiations with the RPF and the various Hutu opposition parties began in June

1992, and resulted in the signing of the Arusha Accords on 4 August 1993. Rwanda’s post-colonial history of outright violence makes the Rwandan situation more comparable to long-standing civil wars in other regions where animosities and tensions run deep. This is why the internal factors are critical, especially if the parties (one or both) really do not want to peacefully resolve their disputes.16

The Arusha Accords

The Arusha Peace Agreement ended three years of fighting and was to pave the way for multi-party general elections. According to the treaty the existing government would remain in office until a transitional government was set up within 37 days from the signing of the accords. All registered political parties were eligible to participate in the transitional government and were allocated ministerial posts. The CDR, a Hutu extremist party that advocated Hutu supremacy, opposed the negotiations and had been excluded from the process due to RPF objections to their participation. Once the transitional government was in place, the two sides would integrate their militaries into a single national army of 19,000 men.17 A Neutral International Force (NIF) would ensure security throughout the country during the transitional period. Finally, multi-party elections would be held in 22 months. Both the Rwandan government and the RPF agreed that Faustin Twagiramungu, the president of the Mouvement Democratique de la Republique (MDR), would become prime minister of the broadly-based interim government.18 The international community praised the signing of the accords.

Neutral International Force

The Neutral International Force became the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) when on 5 October 1993 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 872. At the same time the Council also approved the proposal that the UN Observer Mission on Uganda-Rwanda Border (UNOMUR), created in June 1993, be integrated into UNAMIR.19 Initially, the peacekeeping mission would consist of 1,217 soldiers, 211 military observers, including the integration of the 88 military observers from UNOMUR and the 132 man expanded OAUNMOG and various support and staff. UNAMIR would then assume all military observer and security missions.

The UNAMIR mandate included various guarantees to Rwanda as stated in Resolution 872. It consisted of:

contributing to the security in Kigali; monitoring observance of the cease-fire agreement; observing the security situations during the final period of the transitional government’s mandate, leading up to elections; assisting with mine clearing; investigating at the request of parties or on its own initiative instances of non-compliance with the provisions of the Arusha Peace Agreement relating to the integration of the armed forces, and pursue any such instances with the parties responsible and report thereon as appropriate to the UN Secretary General; monitoring the repatriation of Rwandese refugees and the resettlement of displaced persons; assisting in the coordination of humanitarian assistance activities in conjunction with relief operations; to investigate and report incidents regarding the activities of the gendarmerie or police.20

The UNAMIR mission would initially last six months and was subject to review and renewal in April 1994. UNAMIR was a Chapter VI peacekeeping operation with a capability appropriate to its mandate.21 Its main function was to provide an international presence monitoring the political transition. UNAMIR will be examined during the analysis of the role of external actors.

Parties Agreed to Negotiate a Settlement

The Arusha Accords fulfilled the first requirement for successful preventive diplomacy as the warring parties agreed to negotiate a settlement to Rwanda’s ethno-political problems. Concurrent with the peace accord signing ceremony, representatives from over three-quarters of Rwanda’s political parties and the RPF signed a political code of ethics. The government had recognized the RPF as a legitimate political party only recently with the signing of the Kinihira Agreement on 30 May 1993. The code stated that the signatories would refrain from indulging in any forms of violence and incitement to violence through written words, verbal messages or any other means; to reject and combat political ideology and any acts aimed at promoting discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, or gender.22 The accords and the code of ethics gave hope that Rwanda would be able to move forward and that political differences could be solved using democratic means. Therefore, the first internal variable needed for effective preventive diplomacy was present in the Rwanda case.

The True Test:
Willingness to Abide by and Implement Arusha

Although preventive diplomacy appeared to be working in Rwanda, the critical point would be implementing and abiding by the negotiated agreement. Hutu opposition parties and the RPF appeared willing to abide by and implement the Arusha Accords.23The RPF had won the right to participate as a legitimate party in internal Rwandan politics and would share power alongside the government. However, as a final agreement neared completion at Arusha, Rwandans in Kigali displayed a mood of skepticism that deep-rooted ethnic animosities cultivated since 1959 could be resolved by the peace agreement. Additionally, coup rumors circulated but were largely discounted as unrealistic. But perhaps they were not. In a radio speech Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana urged support for the peace agreement, while criticizing an undefined group who opposed her government and accusing them of looking for a way to sabotage the signing of the peace accords.24

Once the peace treaty was signed, it became clear that the Rwanda government had little intention of establishing the broadly-based transition government, delaying its creation at every turn. The president stymied fulfilment of the power-sharing agreement. More importantly, extremist elements in the MNRD, in conjunction with its offshoot the CDR, pursued their agenda of genocide to eliminate moderate opposition Hutus and Tutsis. Hutu extremists had already established the instruments needed to derail the accords: the Presidential Guard, interahamwe and impuzamugambi militias, extremist newspapers, and the Radio Milles Collines, a “hate radio” station.

Extremist Resistance and Genocide Preparation

Hutu extremists feared losing control of their primary source of wealth, the state, as a result of the peace agreement and ongoing democratization process. President Habyarimana and his family-in-law had established a political-commercial network, referred to as the Akuzu (the little house), which conducted fraudulent traffic of several kinds, currency deals and the “taking” of commissions in many areas.25 The Akuzu played a fundamental role by publishing Hutu extremist newspapers, leading the Presidential Guard and Hutu extremists militias, and running Radio Milles Collines.26

The Hutu population was exposed daily to views published in the approximately twenty Hutu extremist newspapers that had served as the mouthpiece of the regime since 1990. Rwanda is a relatively literate country in African terms with roughly 69 percent of its population able to read and write. Therefore, extremist propagandists had little problem reaching the general populace.27 The regime also used radio stations to psychologically prepare the population for its part in the impending genocide.

Anyone who had a message of hate or extremism could access the state owned radio. On April 4, 1993 President Habyarimana commissioned Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM), a privately owned radio whose directors were mostly members of the AKUZU. This was a station whose sole purpose was the preparation of people’s for the genocide. This FM radio station broadcasted propaganda and misinformation and had an uninterrupted power supply whose bills were paid for by the state.28

The events in Rwanda in 1994 were not the result of seething ethnic hatred, but rather the culmination of decades of government manipulation of the rural Hutu peasants in the collines (hills). Gerard Prunier commented that,

As horrible as these cases of civilian violence are, they must be analyzed as a political phenomenon. It should be first pointed out that in no instance did they represent a spontaneous eruption of ‘ancient tribal hatreds’ and that it was a matter of operations coldly carried out by the MNRD and CDR militias.29

The Rwanda genocide was prepared long in advance by the senior leadership of the MNRD and CDR. The preparation of a plan for political extermination was exposed by Rwandan and international human rights activists long before the signing of the Arusha Accords, yet nothing was done to thwart it.30 A Rwandan human rights publication carried an article in August 1992 detailing the involvement of over 25 members of Habyarimana’s inner circle in death squad activity, including the president and three of his brothers-in-law and a son-in-law.31 Furthermore, during the period from August 1992 (the OAU-brokered ceasefire) until June 1993 (the start of the Arusha negotiations) the Rwandan government was less than honest in upholding the ceasefire. An African officer serving with the OAUNMOG noted,

The biggest problem concerned the political aspects of the agreement. The Government never exercised the truth of cease-fire with massive build ups and aircraft overflights. Human rights reports identified those responsible for genocide killings but nothing was done about them. Military Observers were unable to conduct investigations. The RPA had live prisoners while the FAR had no RPA POWs.32

Commenting on the February 1993 RPF offensive, “The RPA had no option because static positional warfare was too costly.”33Clearly, extremist elements had no intention of abiding by the Arusha Accords nor sharing power with their opposition.

Derailing the Accords

The Habyarimana regime lost little time in subverting the Arusha Agreement. According to Twagiramungu, the prime minister-designate, extremist soldiers, notably the Presidential Guard, wanted the president to resume the war with the RPF while Habyarimana merely had wanted to use delaying tactics by refusing to form the transitional government.34 As time progressed, tactics of political squabbling, which delayed establishing the transitional government, shifted to acts of violence and political assassination.

The first significant breach occurred on 6 October 1993. The RPF accused the coalition government of passing economic measures in breach of the terms agreed to in Arusha. Specifically, “the Government was making commitments that could prejudice the achievement of the program of a broadly-based transitional government . . . regarding privatizations, the transfer of decision-making powers, changes in the usual way of naming local administrators and launching problematic projects, all outside the Arusha Accord mandate.”35 Shortly thereafter, government forces arrested 13 young RPF supporters or alleged supporters of the RPF leadership at Gankenke, Nyarutovu Commune in Ruhengeri Prefecture. This was in direct violation of the Arusha Accords and the previously negotiated Kinihira Agreement, which gave the RPF the right to carry out political activities throughout Rwanda.36

On 17-18 November 1993, assailants armed with knives and clubs massacred 40 people in Ruhengeri and Byumba Prefectures, the day before the Belgian contingent of UNAMIR arrived in Kigali. In one incident, a candidate for Burgomaster of Kidaho Commune was beheaded.37 As a result, the FAR suspended all sessions with the joint commissions with the RPF until the RPF could guarantee the renunciation of similar actions and declared that it was ready to resume the peace process.38 A UN inquiry into the massacres put the number of dead at 37. The UNAMIR report was inconclusive stating the MNRD supporters had been killed, but that it was not sure the attackers came from the RPF. Many of the victims had either political affiliations or some political responsibilities, and were or had been members of the MNRD.39

The RPF and the government accused each other of the attacks. A few days prior to the incidents, President Habyarimana talked about insecurity in the zone. Saying that as long as insecurity prevailed, things would not go well.

We asked that elections be postponed because there was no security. We also feel concern over the implementation of the Arusha Peace Agreements, and even the Kinihira Agreements, since the RPF has already started to transgress very blatantly. We fear that if these violations continue, troubles might spread countrywide. The government must do something substantial to stop these massacres, which are happening in Ruhengeri and Byumba Prefectures. We also think the UN Force should be deployed in the zone as soon as possible, that investigations be undertaken, and that the culprits be identified.40

However, according to the RPF there was no insecurity

The RPF accused the MNRD of having more of an interest in an absence of security in the zone, because, first they do not want elections to occur, and second, they want to create insecurity to prevent the broad-based transitional government from being established. The MNRD have means, they have structures in various communes, and they can use their militias and those of the CDR, a Hutu group to massacre people and burn houses. In brief, they can always succeed but it is not the population, it will be the MNRD or CDR militias.41

The November massacres were the first incidents following the signing of the Arusha Accords and added to the series of “dress rehearsal” massacres that began in 1991 and foreshadowed full-scale genocide.42

In December the situation seemed to brighten as UNAMIR completed its deployment and as French troops departed Kigali. UNAMIR fulfilled its requirements for establishing the broadly-based transitional government and National Assembly by 31 December 1993. The 600-man RPF infantry battalion designated to protect RPF officials arrived in Kigali, escorted by UNAMIR on 28 December 1993. However, political manoeuvres delayed the setting up of institutions. Some parties substituted lists of deputies other than those agreed on in the Arusha Accords. The CDR reversed its negative position, now insisting on participating in the Transitional National Assembly.43

Delays continued throughout January, prompting the RPF to warn that it would resume fighting unless the transitional government was formed. In Kigali, RPF soldiers killed two civilians in separate incidents. Finally, Twagiramungu accused the Defense Ministry of giving military training to more than 1,000 members of the MNRD Youth Wing, the interahamwe.44

Events in February arguably were a final “trial run” by Hutu extremists. RPF representatives were ambushed in Gatsata, on the outskirts of Kigali. The intent presumably was to wipe out RPF leaders invited to Kigali by UNAMIR.45 On 22 February 1994, Hutu militia assassinated Felicien Gatabazi, the General Secretary for the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the designated Minister of Public Works. In retaliation, Tutsis lynched Martin Bucyana, a radical Hutu leader and President of the CDR, in Butare, also Gatabazi’s home. Ethnic violence increased with more use of firearms and grenades in the wake of the two assassinations. As a consequence, investiture ceremonies for the new government were postponed for the third time in two months.46 The purpose of the attacks also may have been to discern the reaction by the international community, which thus far had done little in response to previous Hutu militia attacks.

The political impasse continued as violence increased and the government and the RPF prepared for renewed fighting. On 15 March 1994, five people, including a candidate for a parliamentary seat in the Transitional National Assembly, were killed in Kinihira. President Habyarimana reiterated his call on UNAMIR to redouble its vigilance and conduct investigations to find the murders.47 This pronouncement came amid the daily hate broadcasts by Radio Milles Collines, which exhorted Hutus to eradicate the opposition, especially Tutsis.

A well-informed source indicated that the RPF was reorganizing its military positions in northern Rwanda, while President Habyarimana was also reinforcing his army. Arms were widely available among the civilian population, especially in the northwest, which was Habyarimana’s home region, due to increased militia activity.48 Furthermore, UN Emissary Booh-Booh reported that the regime was distributing arms widely among Hutu farmers in order to concentrate primarily on the arms race which the government claimed the RPF had begun. Independent sources also confirmed that the RPF bought arms in Eastern Europe and Belgium.49 To summarize, the indicators of preparations for a renewed civil war were coupled with more extremist hate propaganda in the Hutu radical newspapers, Radio Milles Collines broadcasts, and ever increasing and more overt Hutu militia activity.

Preventive diplomacy can claim success in resolving conflicts if the two internal variables, agreeing to negotiate and a willingness to abide by and implement the agreement, are present. Although the first variable was present, clearly the second was missing in the Rwanda case. Therefore, preventive diplomacy would require the presence of the two external variables, the ability of outside actors to influence and enforce the agreement and if all else fails the willingness of these actors to use force to enforce the settlement, if the international community had any hope of upholding Arusha and averting the resumption of massive violence.

External Actors’ Ability to Influence
and Enforce the Settlement

Did various countries and international organizations have the ability to influence and enforce the agreement despite the fact that, as the preceding section demonstrates, the Rwanda genocide was prepared long in advance by the senior MNRD and CDR leadership. The preparation of a plan for political extermination was exposed long before the signing of the Arusha Agreement by various sources inside and outside the country. However, the international community failed to take heed to prevent its execution.50

France: A Negative Influence

Once the accords were signed, the international community lacked sufficient influence in getting the Habyarimana government to establish the transitional government. France probably could have exerted more influence to prevent the looming disaster, except that the presence of their troops in Kigali until December 1993 and sustained shipments of arms to the army probably gave Habyarimana a sense of support which encouraged him to pursue his delaying tactics. French advisers also continued to train the interahamwe even after the departure of uniformed soldiers in December 1993. “The Rwandese leadership kept believing that no matter what it did, French support would be forthcoming. And it had no valid reasons for believing otherwise.”51

Since late 1990, France had deployed troops to Rwanda to support the Habyarimana regime. Rwanda epitomized the French perception of the struggle for control of Africa between la Francophonie led by France, and la Anglophonie led by Great Britain and of late, the United States. The RPF, whose principal leaders were anglophones who grew up in and were supported by Uganda, were viewed by Paris as the devil incarnate, to be stopped at all costs. Otherwise other francophone countries could leave the fold and France would be shown to be unable to protect its clients.52 The French had two companies totalling approximately 300 men in Kigali, officially charged with protecting French citizens living in Rwanda. However, at times they were involved in direct combat against the RPF during the war. The French forces supporting the Rwanda government did not plan to leave Kigali before mid-October 1993 at the earliest. The departure of French troops depended on the deployment of the Neutral International Force (UNAMIR), as agreed upon in the Arusha Accords. The French stated that the Neutral International Force would have to number 1,000, a sufficient figure by French estimates to protect French citizens, before their troops would depart.53

The RPF made it clear that they would not send their political or military representatives to Kigali to participate in the transitional institutions as long as the French forces remained in the capital. International observers noted that if the French insisted on the 1,000 man force level before departure, they could provoke a political crisis that would considerably delay the peace implementation process. That is, in fact, what transpired. Moreover, France continued to provide arms to the FAR, even during the UN arms embargo.54

Other International Influences: Diplomatic and Economic Pressure

Preventive diplomacy was the strategy of choice used by external actors to keep the Arusha Peace Agreement alive and in their efforts to resolve the political conflicts that were becoming more and more violent. At the end of November, following the massacres and ceasefire violations, a convention convened in Mombasa, Kenya. Representatives from all sides in the Rwanda conflict called on the RPF and the government to implement the Arusha Accords and to end the violence in the country. They also asked for international aid to help put the agreement into effect55 For now, negotiation seemed to work as UNAMIR finished deploying, French soldiers left Rwanda, and conditions for establishing the transition government appeared to be on track.

However, postponement of the transitional government’s investiture, coupled with the growing violence, prompted further international attention on getting both sides to uphold Arusha. Throughout January and February, UNAMIR, the international community’s agent in Rwanda, did its best to break the political impasse by executing its mandate. On 13 February, Canadian Major General Romeo Dallaire, the UNAMIR commander, remarked concerning the deteriorating security situation:

My men are conducting patrols; they are conducting checkpoints to see if arms are being moved around. They are monitoring all the military installations to ensure both sides respond to the weapons secure area. They are providing escorts for the RPF and for government officials; they are conducting investigations on any cease-fire violations. They are monitoring, through our civilian police, the judicial actions and investigations by the Gendarmerie, and providing technical assistance.56

Also in mid-February, UN Special Envoy Booh-Booh raised the alarm about the impending disaster. “UNAMIR had proof that a great many weapons have been distributed to the population. Moreover, there were also training camps for militia personnel.”57 He also reported that UNAMIR had no influence on the creation of the transitional government, which had been blocked by President Habyarimana and divisions within a number of the Hutu opposition parties, despite the UN threat to withdraw from Rwanda if no progress was made. The UN had made the deployment of 1,200 additional troops (bringing UNAMIR to 2,500) conditional on progress in implementing the accords.

At this juncture threatening to leave was an ineffective use of negative influence. A more appropriate strategy would have been to review and strengthen UNAMIR’s mandate and increase the combat capability of its forces, so it could be proactive rather than reactive and impotent.

While this strategy relates to the willingness to use force, the fourth variable, it remains within the ability to influence and enforce the agreement. This action would have demonstrated the resolve of the international community by enhancing its ability to influence events in Rwanda by increasing its coercive power without actually using military force. In fact in January, Belgian Colonel Luc Marchal, UNAMIR second-in-command, recommended that the 450 man Belgian contingent be increased to 800 and provided with heavy machine guns and anti-tank weapons.58 In February, an unidentified, well-informed Belgian official recommended that the UNAMIR mandate should be reviewed and reinforced, citing that perhaps an insufficient number of troops helped to explain the profusion of weapons and the deterioration of security. Furthermore, then Belgian Foreign Minister Willy Claes, acknowledged to the Belgian Parliament that Hutu extremist propaganda regularly criticized Belgian soldiers and that the Hutu militias organized demonstrations at important times that were followed by small incidents with RPF leaders in Kigali.59 Apparently the United Nations and the countries who actively encouraged and supported the Arusha Peace Process underestimated the problems which are associated with reorganizing a political system.60 Neither the Belgian government nor the UN Security Council, responsible for reviewing UNAMIR’s mandate, took significant action despite warnings and requests for upgrading combat capabilities.

Diplomatic pressure provided little incentive for Rwandan leaders to stop the delaying tactics. In early March, Belgian Defense Minister Leo Delcroix visited Kigali and strongly urged Rwandan leaders to find a solution to the crisis. He noted,

First impressions are that the country’s politicians seem to have taken little heed of increasing international pressure to finally set up the transitional government and Parliament as laid down by the Arusha Accords. The choice is simple, pursue the process of democratization or civil war will return.61

International financial donors, who were essential to the Rwandan economy, threatened to cut aid to apply more leverage to Habyarimana, but without result. Belgium threatened to suspend aid of approximately 1 billion Belgian Francs per year if democratization was not pursued, and then raised the stakes by declaring that it may reconsider its participation in UNAMIR.62 Furthermore, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund tried to use their influence, since they had the power to decide whether or not to grant further loans to Rwanda in the absence of the Rwandan institutions needed to draw up and approve a new recovery program. Rwanda needed foreign funds desperately, since its coffers were empty.63

Since economic pressure had little success with the Hutu extremists in the government, the European Parliament asked the international community, notably the United Nations, the European Union (EU), and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), to “put an immediate end” to the hostilities in Rwanda. The Belgian representative, understanding where events were heading, accused the international community of not having played its role as a peacekeeping force. “Let us intervene now, because it is still not too late in Rwanda.”64 Again nothing was done except more negotiating, because the external actors lacked the political will to use force to enforce the accords.

On 21 March 1994, following a week of intense negotiations between all political parties, including the RPF, overseen by the Tanzanian foreign minister, Prime Minister designate Twagiramungu analyzed events:

He reemphasized that on April 5, 1994 the UN Security Council will reconsider the UNAMIR mandate: that he has the support of the whole international community. He stated, ‘Will President Habyarimana finally agree to swear in a transitional government in which he has no blocking minority, or will renewed violence, orchestrated by the political militia, once again break out during the next few days? Rwanda has genuinely reached a crossroads; it will either disintegrate into self-destructive violence, as has neighboring Burundi, or it will adhere to the Arusha Accords and commit itself to power-sharing between the Hutu majority and the Patriotic Front.’65

The establishment of the transitional government remained stalled despite repeated efforts to push it along. On 28 March 1994, the UN Special Representative, the Apostolic Nuncio, a representative of the Tanzanian foreign minister, and the ambassadors of the Observer Countries to the Arusha Process (Belgium, France, the United States, Germany, Burundi, Senegal and Uganda) met in Kigali to consider why the broadly-based transitional government and Parliament remained blocked.66 All that happened was more diplomatic urging of parties to implement what was agreed at Arusha. Then on 3 April 1994, the European Community (EC) stressed its concern over the political situation in Rwanda by passing a resolution condemning the recent upsurge in violence that led to Minister Gatabazi’s assassination and the tragic death of Mr. Bucyana. The resolution hit two key areas: the extremist Hutu hate propaganda machine and the flood of arms throughout the country, and it:

[d]emanded full investigation into the matters and that justice take its course, reiterated EC support for the Arusha Accords and expressed deep concern over delay in establishing the Broad-based transitional government. Categorized the internal situation as increasing insecurity throughout the country, particularly in Kigali and its environs; unacceptable role of some media which are blocking the indispensable climate of national reconciliation; proliferation of weapons.67

EC representatives in Kigali demarched President Habyarimana on the resolution with no result. Finally, on 6 April, a one day mini-summit to discuss the political crises in Rwanda and Burundi convened in Dar Es Salaam. It consisted of the heads of state of Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Zambia, Uganda, the Vice President of Kenya, and the Secretary General of the OAU. The shooting down of President Habyarimana’s jet following the conference pre-empted any positive result of the meeting.

Clearly, the various international actors, except France, lacked the ability to influence and enforce the agreement. This was not due entirely to lack of trying by international actors, but in part to the government’s and other Hutu extremists’ complicity in seeing Arusha fail. However, whether intentionally or not, continued French military support influenced Habyarimana to derail implementation of Arusha.

The Willingness to use Force to Uphold Arusha

Preventive diplomacy worked in that the civil war was stopped and the Arusha Accords were signed. Had the government abided by the agreement then perhaps Rwanda’s history may have been slightly different. The real failure rests with the international community’s unwillingness to threaten the use of military force to uphold the accords.

If political and economic influence fail to get the parties to abide by the settlement, then external actors must use force to uphold the agreement. The use of force by external actors demonstrates true commitment to the peace process. Otherwise, they should disengage the costs being too great for their interests and accept the consequences.

UNAMIR’s mandate fell under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, peacekeeping, rather than Chapter VII, peace enforcement. A Chapter VI mandate depends on all parties endorsing the peacekeeping force and a negotiated peace agreement, which had been attained at Arusha. UNAMIR’s force structure was too small and ill-equipped for effective execution of its peacekeeping mission, let alone to conduct peace enforcement operations. Dallaire, UNAMIR commander, remarked in February that his force was ill-equipped and that if war reerupted he would face a peace enforcement situation.

The minute there is a significant cease-fire violation by either side, then we do not have a peacekeeping role anymore, because the only reason we are here is that both sides wanted peace, both sides were prepared to implement the peace process and also to respect the peace, and so if there is a civil war, which has the violations of any cease-fire agreement that has been established, then we are no more in a peacekeeping role and my mandate does not exist here any more.68

However, on 14 January 1994, Colonel Marchal under direction from Major General Dallaire, asked the Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda to grant political asylum to a highly placed informer who had provided UNAMIR with the location of arms caches and the existence of lists of people to be exterminated. Neither Belgium, France, nor the United States provided safe passage for the informer, who would have provided the full plans of the genocide. Dallaire confirmed this information, warned the UN, and asked for permission to conduct search and disarmament operations. New York denied the request because such an operation would be “offensive,” and thus not consistent with UNAMIR’s Chapter VI mandate.69

Apparently mid-February was the critical point where the international community needed to display a willingness to threaten to use force. By March, events were spiralling out of control. The various actors in the international community should have listened to the warnings and recommendations from UN Special Envoy Booh-Booh, UNAMIR Force Commander Dallaire, and various Belgian diplomats. The UN Security Council might have reviewed UNAMIR’s mandate, changed it to let Dallaire be more “offensive,” and given him the authority to act on information such as he had in January. UNAMIR would have needed more troops and equipment, especially light armored vehicles and trucks, if a revised mandate was to be effective. However, the UN force would have had the means to influence the security situation and more importantly could have intervened to stop the genocide as it began.

In addition to granting UNAMIR more robust powers and reinforcing it, an arms embargo could have been imposed on all sides as part of the UNAMIR mandate. Actual effectiveness of such action would in all probability have been minimal, as evidenced by the continued flow of arms to the FAR following the May 1994 UN arms embargo.70 Although the FAR claimed that the lack of arms and munitions was the primary reason for their defeat, this is unlikely given the amount of weapons and ammunition abandoned and taken to Zaire. Furthermore, an arms embargo would have had little impact on the genocide since the militias were already well armed and most of the deaths were caused by edged or blunt weapons, not firearms. Nevertheless, it would have sent a stronger signal of the international community’s commitment to implementing the Arusha Peace Agreement. At a minimum, a UN Security Council debate over an arms embargo, while probably not controlling the French, would at least have called them to task on their support to the Habyarimana regime as it delayed setting up the transitional government.

By contrast, changing UNAMIR’s mandate could have been done quickly and if done early enough would have allowed Dallaire to pre-empt Hutu extremist plans and show the resolve of the international community to threaten to use force and if necessary use it to uphold Arusha. Modifying the mandate from a Chapter VI to a Chapter VII, thus allowing UNAMIR troops to use force to uphold their mandate, could have saved the lives of the ten Belgian paratroopers killed by the Presidential Guard. While no country contributing peacekeepers wants its soldiers hurt or killed, by accepting a Chapter VII mandate certain risks are accepted. The paratroopers would not have opted to radio back to headquarters seeking instructions as to whether or not they should lay down their arms and they would have been able to defend the prime minister. UNAMIR would have become immediately involved in reestablishing order in Kigali.

However, finding and deploying the additional troops and equipment would have taken several months to accomplish. While European troops rapidly deployed to Kigali to evacuate expatriates in April 1994, it is highly unlikely that the West would have provided company and battalion sized contingents to reinforce UNAMIR. First, the RPF probably would not have allowed French troops. Other European countries were focused on Bosnia and the United States was still involved in Somalia. As early as September 1993, President Clinton stated that

UN Security Council deliberations lately, the United States had begun asking tougher questions about new peacekeeping missions, such as: ‘Is there a real threat to international peace? Does the proposed mission have clear objectives? Can an end point be identified …? How much will the mission cost?’71

Furthermore, as Prunier has noted, “Rwanda is a small landlocked African country without strategic or economic interest, populated by black people.”72

Clearly, the international community lacked the will to threaten to use force and if needed to use it to uphold Arusha. No one challenged the Presidential Guard and the interahamwe and impuzamugambi as they carried out their genocide plan. During the first 48 hours, the 600-man RPF security battalion fought for its life and did what it could to defend civilians targeted by the death squads. If UNAMIR had controlled events in Kigali, it is highly likely that the genocide would not have spread to the countryside, and if it did, a more robust UNAMIR probably could have contained it since the perpetrators seemed to be easily intimidated by a minimal show of force. In this case, some peacekeepers might have become casualties while saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans. Furthermore, even if UNAMIR had not received additional contingents, Western powers demonstrating their will to use force could have rapidly reinforced UNAMIR. Instead of solely evacuating expatriates, the troops could have aided UNAMIR in reestablishing order.


In the Rwanda case, after fighting to a stalemate, the parties agreed to negotiate an end the civil war and to speed up the process of transition to a multi-party democracy. Therefore, the first internal variable, consensus to resolve their differences through negotiation, was present and culminated in the signing of the Arusha Accords. However, even before the Arusha Peace Agreement was signed, the Rwanda government and Hutu extremists had planned a campaign to stall the implementation of the accords and ultimately execute a plan to eliminate the political opposition, thus rendering the accords unnecessary. Thus, the second internal variable, the parties’ desire to abide by and implement the agreement, was absent. Had these two internal variables been present, then preventive diplomacy could have claimed success with or without the presence of the two external variables.

Because the government and Hutu extremists did not intend to live up to Arusha, successful preventive diplomacy required external actors to influence the concerned parties to uphold and implement the solution, the first external variable. Although the various international actors used political and economic pressure to persuade the regime to abide by the agreement, they failed, in part because the Hutu extremists could not be influenced to uphold Arusha. Furthermore, whether deliberately or not, one international actor, France, did influence the Habyarimana regime to derail implementation of Arusha. The Habyarimana government used the various conferences as a means to delay instituting the transitional government. However, the international community is not blameless either, because of its reliance on using diplomacy when it became clear that sterner methods were required. Diplomatic demarches fell on deaf ears, as Habyarimana knew that his goal was to retain power at all costs.

In the Rwanda case the international community needed to communicate the second external variable: a credible threat to use force and be willing to use it, if civil war and genocide were to have been averted. Rwanda presents a worst case and a far too common scenario that preventive diplomacy faces, whereby participants to the conflict are less than open and honest with their objectives and about their willingness to resolve their conflict through negotiation.

The international community was unable to support its diplomatic efforts with military force when it became clear that one party had no intention of implementing the agreement. The international community could have communicated its willingness by changing UNAMIR’s mandate to peacemaking. It may not have actually had to apply military force directly, but at least the threat of using it quickly would have been present. When calls to reevaluate UNAMIR’s mandate and to provide more troops and equipment went unheeded, Hutu extremists probably realized that the international community would do nothing if they executed their plan to exterminate moderate Hutus and Tutsis as a whole. They no longer needed Habyarimana as he became a liability and they assassinated him as others had been.73 The Hutu extremists recognized that when all else fails use force and violence to accomplish political objectives. The RPF realized that military force was the only way to stop the genocide and to survive.

The international actors lacked the will to support their diplomatic efforts with military power when it was needed most. This impacts on the international community’s credibility and ability to prevent conflict. A basic political science tenet is the ability to use power to impose one’s will on another for a desired effect. Unfortunately, the international community did not understand that a vital component of successful preventive diplomacy is the willingness to threaten to use military power or its actual use when all else fails. In the Rwandan case that vital component was missing.

Major Rick Orth wrote this article when he was serving as a US Defense Attaché in Kigali, Rwanda.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not represent the policies or views of any agency or department of the United States Government.

1. Philippe Gaillard and Hamid Barrada, “The Story Direct from the Habyarimana Family,” Jeune Afrique, 29 April 1994, pp. 12-19. Although no formal investigation has occurred, nor is one likely, UNAMIR eyewitnesses and an informal investigation by several UNAMIR Headquarters staff officers state that Hutu extremists, probably elements of the Presidential Guard, shot down the plane.
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2. “Genocide in Rwanda, April-May 1994,”Human Rights Watch, Africa, 6 (4) May 1994, 13 pages, mimeographed.
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3. “Operation Genocide,” New African, July/August 1994, p. 13.
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4. Stephen J. Stedman, “Alchemy for a New World Order: Overselling ‘Preventive Diplomacy’,” Foreign Affairs, 74, no. 3 (May/June 1995), p. 14. He adds on p. 16, “To be successful preventive diplomacy requires prescience, prescription, and mobilization,” which he explains in detail in the rest of the work.
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5. Ibid., p. 18.
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6. Ibid.
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7. The civil war began in 1990 and a brief period of peace developed with the signing of the Arusha Accords. The war continues as the Hutu former government forces (ex-FAR) and the predominantly Tutsi insurgents have switched places. The war did not end with the fall of Kigali on 4 July 1994, nor with the flight of the Rwandan military. The ex-FAR wage a low level insurgency primarily in western Rwanda from bases in Zaire. They continue to destabilize the Great Lakes Region as they also assist Hutu rebels in Burundi.

Furthermore, many observers have yet to realize that the RPF has initiated a revolution in the Skocpolian sense sociopolitical transformation due to actual change of state and class structures. Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions (Boston, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1979), p. 5. However, unlike in Skocpol’s analyses, the current Rwandan revolution did not stem from class-based revolts from below, but rather from an externally based invasion. The author bases this observation on numerous conversations with members of the RPF’s inner circle, the ones leading and guiding the revolution. The revolution is less than two years old and is not the focus of this study.
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8. See Rene Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi (1970); and Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda crisis, 1959-1994: History of Genocide (1995) for detailed histories of the ethnic conflict in Rwanda.
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9. Gerard Prunier, “Intellectuels Africains,” Politique Africaine 51, CNRS, Center for African Research, DIA translation, 9 July 1994, p. 19.
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10. “Arming Rwanda: The Arms Trade and Human Rights Abuses in the Rwandan War,” Human Rights Watch Arms Project(New York and Washington, DC, January 1994).
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11. “Rwanda/Zaire: Rearming with Impunity International Support for the Perpetrators of Rwandan Genocide,” Human Rights Watch Arms Project (New York and Washington, DC, May 1995). The FAR continued to receive arms shipments via Goma, Zaire after the UN imposed an arms embargo in May 1994.
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12. Joan Kakwenzire and Dixon Kamukama, “The Development and Consolidation of Extremist Forces in Rwanda: 1990-1994,” (Kampala, Uganda: Department of History, Makerere University, November 1995), p. 43.
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13. Ibid, p. 43. Additionally, a highly reliable military source told the author that UNAMIR staff officers reported seeing French trainers at Kanombe Barracks, the Para-Commando base in Kigali, after French troops departed in December 1993. These instructors trained the Para-Commandos in terrorist and insurgent methods and tactics.
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14. The 54 man OAUNMOG had been created in August 1992 to monitor the ceasefire between the FAR and RPA.
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15. Interview with a Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officer who served as the Secretary to the OAUNMOG concerning his role as military observer and his comments on conditions in Rwanda, specifically along the demilitarized zone created by the August 1992 ceasefire in November 1994.
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16. The RPF party program desires to break the historic cycle of ethnic violence which has been perpetuated for the past thirty years, primarily by manipulation of historic fact and mythology. See Africa Rights, Rwanda: Death, Despair and Defiance(London, September 1994), for a good history of the Rwandan Civil War. It provides insight into the roots of the RPF and the dynamics of Hutu extremism.
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17. The proposed national military would contain 13,000 in the Army and 6,000 in the Gendarmerie.
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18. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Dar es Salaam Radio Tanzania External Service, in English, 1600 GMT, 4 August 1993.
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19. UNOMUR was established by the 22 June 1993 UN Security Council Resolution 846 following charges by Rwanda that Uganda was aiding the RPA. The Uganda government had repeatedly denied the accusations and called for the creation of a neutral multi-national force to monitor the two countries’ common border. UNOMUR began operating in Uganda on 12 October 1993. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Paris AFP, in English, 1726 GMT, 13 October 1993. Meanwhile, OAUNMOG II, which increased the size of the 54 man OAUNMOG to 132 in August 1993, monitored the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in northern Rwanda which separated the RPA and FAR. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Kigali Radiodiffusion Nationale de la Republique Rwandaise, in French, 1115 GMT, 23 October 1993. UNOMUR did not become fully absorbed into UNAMIR until after April 1994, while OAUNMOG was integrated into UNAMIR shortly after its activation and arrival in Rwanda.
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20. Text on UN Security Council Resolution 872, adopted 5 October 1993.
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21. The fundamental difference between a Chapter VI and a Chapter VII mandate is the peacekeeping force’s ability to use force. Under a Chapter VI mandate peacekeepers can only use force in self-defense, while under a Chapter VII they can be proactive in the use of force. In fact, they can make peace if the situation warrants it. A Chapter VII involves more risk to the peacekeeping contingents because the likelihood of combat, and hence casualties, are higher; therefore the UN prefers Chapter VI mandates and its variations over Chapter VII mandates. Furthermore, Chapter VI mandates require the consent of all disputing factions, while Chapter VII mandates do not.
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22. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Kigali Radiodiffusion Nationale del Republique Rwandaise, in French, 1115 GMT, 6 August 1993.
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23. The RPF has demonstrated its willingness to abide by the Arusha Accords by using them loosely when setting up the institutions of the new Rwanda government. The current broad-based

government dominated by the RPF used the Arusha Accords as a guide when allocating ministry positions and seats in the National Assembly. However, the RPF changed the distribution of power within the government to ensure its dominance. In fact, the prime minister and all the assignments except for the posts reserved for the Mouvement Republicain National pour la Democratie et le Developpement (MRND), President Habyarimana’s party, and one post allocated to the Liberal Party follow the accords. In fact, even during the cabinet reshuffle of August 1995 the allocated positions remained in the hands of the ousted minister’s respective parties. The RPF took three out of the five MRND slots, understandably given their military victory. An independent Hutu holds the Liberal Party’s post. Furthermore, Arusha is used as the guide for the integration of former government soldiers (Forces Armees Rwandaises or FAR) into the RPA, albeit the positions are reversed and each faction’s percentage of the force eliminated. RPA officers fill slots that were supposed to go to the FAR and vice versa. For example, the Chief of Staff of the Army was a FAR slot with the deputy going to the RPA. Currently, an RPA officer is the Chief of Staff and his deputy former FAR. Conversely, the RPA would have had the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie and now it is filled by the former FAR commander of the Gendarmerie with an RPA deputy. Command of brigades and battalions is based on merit and recently integrated FAR officers are proving themselves invaluable in fighting the insurgency. There is no power-sharing so to speak in the Army. “A New Order in Kigali,” Africa Confidential, 35, no. 17 (26 August 1994), p. 3; and State Department cable, Amembassy Kigali, Subject: Prime Minister-Designate Names Government, 21144Z March 1994.
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24. State Department cable, Amembassy Kigali, Subject: Rwandans Remain Skeptical of Peace Prospects, 04150Z August 1993.
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25. N. Gordon, Murders in the Mist (London, 1993); and Gaillard and Barrada, “The Story direct from the Habyarimana Family,” provide detailed information of these mafia-like activities.
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26. Kakwenzire and Kamukama, “Development and Consolidation,” pp. 39-43.
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27. Ibid., p. 39.
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28. Ibid.
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29. Prunier, “Intellectuels Africains,” p. 18.
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30. “Genocide in Rwanda, April-May 1994,” Human Rights Watch Africa, 6 (4) May 1994; and Rwanda, Despair and Defiance.
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31. Umrava, no. 10, 28 August, pp. 5-8.
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32. Interview with ZNA officer who served as Secretary to OAUMOG, November 1994.
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33. Ibid.
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34. FBIS LONDON UK, Paris Radio France International, in French, 0545 GMT, 22 April 1994.
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35. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Paris AFP, in English, 1451 GMT, 6 October 1993.
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36. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, (Clandestine) Radio Muhabura in Kinyarwanda to Rwanda, 0415 GMT, 14 October 1993. Radio Muhabura was the RPF Clandestine Radio Station. The Kinihira Agreement was a prelude to the Arusha negotiations which gave the RPF the same rights and recognition as the other Rwandan political parties.
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37. The method used to kill the candidate is similar to that of the interahamwe. The RPA tend to shoot its victims.
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38. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Radiodiffusion Nationale de la Republique Rwandaise, in French,1115 GMT, 21 November 1993.
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39. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Radiodiffusion Nationale de la Republique Rwandaise, in French,1115 GMT, 26 November 1993.
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40. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Radiodiffusion Nationale de la Republique Rwandaise, in French,1115 GMT, 18 November 1993.
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41. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, (Clandestine) Radio Muhabura, in French to Rwanda, 1815 GMT, 19 November 1993.
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42. See “Genocide in Rwanda, April-May 1994;” Rwanda, DeathDespair and Defiance; Filip Reyntjens, Donnees sur les escadrons de la mort au Rwanda, Antwerp, 9 October 1992. Reyntjens concluded based on research conducted in Rwanda that attacks to eliminate the opposition by government death squads which began in late 1991 with subsequent attacks in Bugesera in March 1992, and in Kibuye in August 1992, served as smaller “dress rehearsals” for things to come and constituted attempts by extremists to sabotage the democratization process. Additional attacks occurred in the north and west in December 1992 and January 1993.
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43. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Radiodiffusion Nationale de la Republique Rwandaise, in French,1800 GMT, 4 January 1994.
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44. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Paris AFP, in English, 1440 GMT, 31 January 1994.
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45. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, (Clandestine) Radio Muhabura, in English to Rwanda, 1990 GMT, 23 February 1994.
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46. FBIS LONDON, Paris Radio France International, in French, 1830 GMT, 22 February 1994.
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47. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Radiodiffusion Nationale de la Republique Rwandaise, in French, 1115 GMT, 18 March 1994.
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48. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels BELGA, in French, 1444 GMT, 16 March 1994.
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49. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels de Morgen, in Dutch, 9 March 1994.
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50. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, (Clandestine) Radio Muhabura, in French to Rwanda, 1040 GMT, 30 April 1994.
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51. James Fenton, “A Short History of Anti-Hamitism,” New York Review, 15 February 1996, p. 8. A review of Gerard Prunier’s book The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide.
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52. While the idea of struggle for control of Africa based on culture and language (with economic undertones) has little meaning for English speaking peoples, especially Americans, it serves as a motivating force for many French who see the loss of their Empire to the British beginning with the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, continuing at Waterloo in 1815 and subsequent losses of world power as a result of the Franco-Prussian War and World Wars I and II. The British and German monarchies were tied by blood and Britain and Prussia were allies in the Seven Years War.
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53. State Department Cable, Amembassy Kigali, 311308Z August 1993, Subject: The French Military and the Neutral International Force (NIF).
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54. See “Rwanda/Zaire: Rearming with Impunity,” for specific details.
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55. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Paris AFP, in English, 2216 GMT, 30 November 1993.
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56. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, “UN Force Commander Interviewed on Security and Transition,” London BBC World Service, in English,1705 GMT, 23 February 1994.
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57. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels BELGA, in Dutch, 1314 GMT, 17 February 1994. It should be noted that Booh-Booh had been accused of having close ties with and was possibly colluding with the government. Furthermore, in the days following Habyarimana’s assassination Booh-Booh’s actions displayed his incompetence as his reports to the Office of the Secretary General were full of misinformation. That said, these remarks clearly were on target.
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58. Colette Braeckman, “Colonel Marchal Rejects Prosecution Accusations,” Brussels Le Soir, in French, 9 January 1996, p. 4; and FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Groot-Bijgaarden de Standaard, in Dutch, 2 January 1996, p. 8.
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59. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels BELGA, in Dutch, 1314 GMT, 17 February 1994.
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60. Johan Cruppens Commentary: “Violence in Rwanda Threat to Region,” FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Antwerp Gazet Van Antwerpen, in Dutch, 24 February 1994.
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61. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels BELGA, in French, 1445 GMT, 16 March 1994.
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62. Ibid.
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63. Ibid.
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64. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels BELGA, in French, 1214 GMT, 10 March 1994.
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65. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels, Le Soir, in French, 21 March 1994, interview with Faustin Twagiramungu.
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66. FBIS BRUSSELS BE, Brussels BELGA, in Dutch, 1941 GMT, 28 March 1994.
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67. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, Kigali Radiodiffusion Nationale de la Republique Rwandaise, in French, 1115 GMT, 3 April 1994.
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68. FBIS ABIDJAN IV, London BBC World Service, in English, 1705 GMT, 23 February 1994. Dallaire at a debriefing in Washington, DC in October 1994 stated that his force was ill-equipped to stop the renewed fighting and subsequent genocide, even prior to the departure of the Belgian and Bangladesh contingents.
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69. Breckman, “Colonel Marchal Rejects Prosecution Accusations,” p. 4; and Filip Reyntjens, “Rwanda: Background to Genocide,” December 1995, pp. 14-15.
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70. “Rwanda/Zaire: Rearming with Impunity.”
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71. Ruth Marcus, “Clinton Seeks Limits on Peace Keeping,” The Washington Post, 28 September 1993 as found in Milton Leitenberg, “Rwanda, 1994: International Incompetence produces Genocide,” Peacekeeping and International Relations,November/December 1994.
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72. “Home Truths about Genocide,” Financial Times, Weekend, 13-14 January 1996, Books, Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, 1959-1994. History of a Genocide.

We must note that in January and February 1996, the UN raised the possibility of a military intervention force for Burundi which probably stems from the international community’s collective guilt over having watched Rwanda’s Genocide. However, the causes of the ethnically based political turmoil and the current situation in Burundi are totally different. Furthermore, the first, second and third variables are missing, yet preventive diplomacy is the tool of choice and is expected to succeed. More importantly still, the international community has little will to use force, despite calls for it, which in this case would not uphold a negotiated settlement, but could plunge Burundi into the massive ethnic slaughter that such an intervention wants to prevent.
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73. The author agrees with journalist assessments that the shooting down of the president’s aircraft was a calculated event used to remove Habyarimana from the scene and to ignite the genocide. Extremists viewed him as too soft and feared that he would soon implement portions of the Arusha Accords. Gaillard and Barrada, “The Story Direct from the Habyarimana Family,” pp. 12-19.

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One thought on “Four Variables in Preventive Diplomacy: Their Application in the Rwanda Case

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