The genocidal government and its militias accelerated the genocide against the Tutsi and UN debates about the categorization of the killings in Rwanda came to an end

By Dr. BIZIMANA Jean Damascène
On 31 May 2020 at 01:44

While the genocidal government organized the population and gave them specific instructions on the systematic and widespread elimination of the Tutsi, the United Nations continued to procrastinate on the true nature of the massacres which were being perpetrated against the Tutsi.

The genocidal government had issued instructions on May 25, 1994 to all prefects to provide detailed civil protection plans. Although the world was well informed about the systematic and extensive massacres against the Tutsi, there was a desire to make the massacres less noticeable.

The Prime Minister of the genocidal government, Jean Kambanda, called on people to participate actively in the killings. After military training, the civilian populations were to be used to track down and kill Tutsi.

The UNAMIR Senegalese captain, Mbaye Diagne, was struck by a bomb at a roadblock while protecting Tutsi that the militiamen wanted to remove from UNAMIR trucks in order to kill them.


Gripped by the urgency and the gravity of the massacres in Rwanda, on May 24, 1994, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights held an emergency meeting in Geneva, convened by Canada. At the end of the meeting, a resolution was adopted on May 25, 1994 recognizing that typical acts of a genocide were committed in Rwanda and concluded on the need for an international investigation into the massacres of Tutsi in Rwanda.

The first official recognition of the genocide finally took place in a report to the Security Council of 31 May 1994. It was based on information provided by Iqbal Riza and Maurice Baril, the military adviser to the Secretary General who had paid a visit to Rwanda between May 22 and 27, 1994.

The UN Security Council had continued to ignore the issue of the Genocide which, since April 7, 1994, had been perpetrated against the Tutsi. Let us recall some facts:
On April 21, 1994, the UN Security Council, in its resolution 912, reduced the mandate of UNAMIR to its simplest form, leaving only 250 soldiers. However, General Dallaire, who headed UNAMIR, sent daily reports to the UN on the scale of the Tutsi massacres in Rwanda.

On April 24, 1994, for the first time, the UN Security Council deliberated on the question of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The President of the Security Council wanted to assign member countries a responsibility of providing assistance if it was confirmed that a Genocide was perpetrated in Rwanda, in accordance with what is provided for by the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide (1948).

On April 28, 1994, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Karel Kovanda, requested the Security Council to consider the question of the genocide against the Tutsi without success. Based on information relayed by human rights organizations, Ambassador Kovanda said that the government in power in Rwanda was committing a genocide against the Tutsi.

Some major powers with a permanent seat on the Security Council attacked him under the invalid pretext that the language he had used was not appropriate in the Security Council.

The chairman of the Security Council, Ambassador Colin Keating, also reported information according to which, acts of extreme violence and murder were committed against the Tutsi.

Some major powers with a permanent seat on the Security Council, led by the United States, have opposed the use of the word genocide. However, from April 7, 1994, Tutsi, children, women and men, young and old were systematically killed in the open, and continued in certain regions of Rwanda under the control of the genocidal government, for the only reason that they were Tutsi.

During the May 25, 1994 meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, delegates concluded that the genocide was ongoing and should be investigated.

On the same day, the Commission adopted resolution 1994 S-3/1, by which a special rapporteur was appointed. He was charged with immediate investigation on the massacres perpetrated against Tutsi which were under way.

Previously, the newly appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Ayala Lasso, had carried out a mission to Rwanda between May 11 and 12, 1994. His report mentioned systematic and extensive massacres of Tutsi.


Since January 1994, General Romeo Dallaire, the commander of UNAMIR, had constantly alerted the United Nations authorities to the preparation of genocide by the regime in power. For reasons that were not exposed, the UN bodies which had to take a decision to prevent and stop the genocide had dragged their feet and let it go.

Some major powers that have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council could have predicted the genocide, and taken into consideration significant warnings that showed that the genocide was imminent. This calls into questioning the role of certain permanent members of the Security Council. Instead of preventing or intervening, they did everything to impede the strengthening of the UNAMIR mandate.

Permanent members of the Security Council knew that during the two weeks of April 1994 the genocide was obvious, the information were coming from dependable sources, UNAMIR, the ICRC and OXFAM. On the contrary, some members continued to portray the genocide as massacres linked to the civil war, which only masked the reality of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi and the obligation to intervene.

International opinion refused to see the reality of what was happening in Rwanda from April 7, 1994. It was not until mid-May 1994 that the word genocide was used internationally.

Done at Kigali on May 31, 2020

Dr. BIZIMANA Jean Damascène
Executive Secretary
National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)