Ghosts of Rwanda

The National Security Archive on Rwanda

National Security Archive researcher William Ferroggiaro has produced two reports and obtained dozens of declassified U.S. government documents that show U.S. intelligence concluded as early as April 23, 1994 that the slaughter in Rwanda amounted to genocide. Yet policy-makers debated for another month about using the word "genocide." Some examples of the documents and what they reveal:

* The CIA's top secret National Intelligence Daily, circulated to President Clinton, Vice President Gore and hundreds of senior officials, featured the slaughter in Rwanda on a daily or near-daily basis in April-May 1994, including an April 23 analysis (pdf format) that Rwandan rebels will continue fighting to "stop the genocide, spreading south";

* The State Department's intelligence briefing (pdf format) for Secretary Christopher and other top officials saw in Rwanda "genocide and partition" as early as April 26, reporting declarations of "a 'final solution' to eliminate all Tutsis", but the U.S. did not officially declare the killing genocide until May 25;

* U.S. officials met throughout April and May with human rights and humanitarian agency representatives concerned with Rwanda, including a May 17 meeting (pdf format) where International Committee of the Red Cross official Jean de Courten told State Department Under Secretary Timothy Wirth the "mass killings" in Rwanda compared to the "genocide in Cambodia."

"Bystanders to Genocide: Why the U.S. Let the Rwandan Tragedy Happen"

This powerful 2001 article by Samantha Power, published in The Atlantic Monthly, analyzes how a weak- willed and risk-averse Clinton administration passed up many opportunities to intervene in the genocide. Power's narrative draws on interviews with scores of the participants in the decision-making and on government documents that have been declassified over recent years.

The Few Who Stayed - Defying Genocide in Rwanda

Listen to (or read) this American RadioWorks documentary which offers the stories of the few people who stayed during the genocide, including Adventist aid worker Carl Wilkens, featured in FRONTLINE's report. It also tells the story of a staffer with the U.N. Development Program who is alleged to have hunted down and help kill Tutsis, including his own co-workers. "Wherever Callixte went, the next day people would be found dead," says one survivor. This radio documentary was produced in cooperation with FRONTLINE and producer Greg Barker.

"Ten Years Later"

This Human Rights Watch report looks back on the Rwanda genocide and evaluates the ways in which the world's response to humanitarian crises has changed over the past decade - and the ways in which it has not.

Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Actions of the U.N. During the Genocide

This 1999 report found that the U.N. and the Security Council ignored information that a genocide was being planned and refused to respond to the genocide once it started due to a lack of political will.

Rwanda Today

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

The tribunal's site offers summaries of completed, ongoing, and upcoming cases against the genocide's top leaders, diaries of case minutes and judicial decisions and links to background on Rwanda.

"Rwandans Are Struggling to Love Children of Hate"

An estimated 250,000 women were raped by Hutu militia during the genocide. This March 2004 Washington Post article reports on how Rwandans are confronting the legacy of these rapes. [Note: The International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) got the first-ever conviction in international jurisprudence on rape as a war crime; see FRONTLINE's report elsewhere on this site about the ICTR].

"After the Genocide"

This is a young FRONTLINE/World reporter's first-person account of Rwanda's gacaca courts which are courts based on a traditional, village-level community hearings process. Thousands of gacaca courts supposedly will be set up throughout Rwanda to establish in each community a historical record of what happened during the genocide, to find out who is responsible and to engage in a process of justice and reconciliation. This site also offers short summaries of the background to the genocide, in particular, the root of Hutu/Tutsi tensions, and Rwanda's civil war, 1990-1994.

Photo essays of child survivors of the genocide

Photographer Vanessa Rick takes pictures of children in Rwanda coping with the aftermath of the genocide.

Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Genocide Watch

Genocide Watch is an organization set up to coordinate the International Campaign to End Genocide, launched at the Hague in 1999. Its Web site includes a definition of genocide, an analysis of what it calls the "eight stages of genocide," and a chart detailing current threats of genocides, assassinations, and mass murders around the world.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Conscience

This site is dedicated to raising the national conscience, influencing policy makers, and stimulating world action to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity. The site includes profiles of ongoing conflicts divided into categories of urgency. The site also includes a photo archive, upcoming events, an e-mail newsletter, and related links.

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is an independent, non-governmental organization aiming to expose human rights violations around the world and hold abusers accountable. The Web site includes detailed information searchable by region, country, and year and includes a digital version of the study "Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda."

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posted april 1, 2004

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