International community failed Rwanda in ’94 Genocide: Kagame

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame says the international community failed Rwanda during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Rwanda is marking 30 years since the genocide against ethnic Tutsis, and moderate Hutus where nearly a million people were killed in a hundred days.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is among those attending the event in Kigali. Kagame says many African countries came to assist Rwanda in keeping peace during the genocide.

“Many of the countries presented here today also sent their sons and daughters to serve as peacekeepers in Rwanda. Those soldiers did not fail Rwanda. It was the International community which failed all of us. Whether from contempt or cowardice.”

Call for unity

Kagame says his country will ensure that the 1994 Genocide doesn’t happen again. He says the citizens of Rwanda will never forget the tragic event, however, they are working on healing the nation, calling for unity as the country commemorates the genocide against Tutsis.

“Our journey has been long and tough. Rwanda was completely humbled by the magnitude of our loss and the lessons we learned are engraved in blood. But the tremendous progress in our country is plain to see and it is the result of the coices we made together to resurrect our nation.”

The genocide began on the night of April 6, 1994, when a plane carrying then Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi – both Hutus – was shot down.

The attack sparked a rampage by Hutu government soldiers and allied extremist militias to wipe out the Tutsi minority, whom they blamed for killing Habyarimana.

Several heads of state and government attended the commemoration. Past and present leaders laid wreaths. A stark reminder of what happened in Rwanda 30 years ago.

SABC News’ Sophie Mokoena reporting from Kigali:


Habyarimana’s death triggered 100 days of violence in the tiny country, perpetrated mainly by Hutus against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. More than a million people were killed, many butchered with machetes by militia known as Interahamwe.

The RPF advanced and seized control of Rwanda after driving the 40,000-strong Hutu army and more than 2 million civilian Hutus into exile in Burundi, Tanzania and the former Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo.

In July 1994 a new government was sworn in with Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, named president and RPF commander Paul Kagame as vice president. Kagame was elected president in April 2000 and remains in office.


In December 1996, Rwanda’s first genocide trial opened at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

It ultimately heard from more than 3 000 witnesses, indicted 96 people, and sentenced 61 of them including ex-prime minister Jean Kambanda and former Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who was accused of being in charge of the troops and Interahamwe which carried out the massacres. Both were given life sentences.

Most people convicted in connection with the genocide were tried in community-based “gacaca” courts in Rwanda. -Additional reporting by Reuters