Hutu extremists tortured and killed almost 800,000 Rwandans in under 100 days in 1994. They targeted members of the Tutsi minority and political opponents of all ethnicities.
Who is to blame?
The Rwandan genocide of 1994 murdered one million Tutsis. Following the genocide, a new generation of Tutsi refugees went to Uganda, where they got entangled in fatal politics. Some made connections with Ugandan Tutsi, while others with the Hima tribe. Many of them were political opponents, while others supported the US administration.
The atrocities started when Hutu militia groups were tasked with eliminating government opponents. The Hutus fought the Tutsis for various reasons, but their ultimate purpose was to stop them. These machete-wielding militants massacred hundreds of Tutsis, especially women. The atrocities remained unpunished, and some Hutu militias acquired identification cards that listed their ethnic background. Many survivors describe the dread that preceded the atrocities.
In retribution, Hutu militia groups gang-raped and disfigured hundreds of women. These acts of brutality have never been effectively handled. Often, the victims of such crimes are women who have already been coerced into marriage. Women who have previously been victims of this crime often get unhappy since they cannot return home and locate their children.
What happened next?
The well-organized RPF, supported by the Ugandan army, progressively conquered additional territory until it marched into Kigali on July 4, 1994.
Two million Hutus fled over the border into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, fearing retaliation, previously Zaire. Others headed to Tanzania and Burundi.
Human rights organisations claim that RPF forces massacred hundreds of Hutu civilians during the coup and many more after entering DR Congo to pursue the Interahamwe. The RPF denies it. Thousands of people died from cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and relief organisations were accused of funnelling most of their supplies to Hutu rebels.
Has anybody been put on trial?
Rwanda has made tremendous headway toward justice since the atrocities of 1994. Rwanda has successfully prosecuted several suspected genocide offenders over the previous two decades. Unfortunately, some Rwandans have paid a hefty price. Thousands of individuals were wrongfully detained and charged in the late 1990s. These persons may have been unfairly convicted due to a lack of protection for the accused. The court system is likewise deficient, increasing the likelihood of unfair trials.
What is Rwanda presently?
In the 1990s, the nation was ripped apart by political and economic warfare. The Tutsi-led administration established severe racial and ethnic divides. Tutsis were slain, their families were assaulted, and their political representation was reduced. Tutsis also lost positions in the public sector. While, rising poverty and resentment aggravated the problem.
However, Paul Kagame and his administration continue to utilise the 1994 massacre to legitimise their authority. While the Hutu majority continues to govern, they are eager to seize power one day. While the alleged atrocities were horrific, Rwandan democracy will never take root.