Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. xi-xii

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Foreword

Scott Straus

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pp. xii-xiii

André Guichaoua’s book is one of the most important works to have appeared on the Rwandan genocide since that terrible event occurred in 1994. Until now, the extraordinary material contained in Rwanda, de la guerre au génocide, as well as Professor Guichaoua’s insightful analysis, remained accessible only to readers of French...

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Preface to the English Edition

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pp. xix-xxii

The present volume is the culmination of almost twenty years of research on the circumstances and tragic unfolding of the Rwanda bloodbath. It draws from a broad range of materials. In addition to offering a sustained inquest into the part played by critical events and personalities, it gives pride of place to the wealth of testimonies...

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Preface to the Original Edition

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pp. xxii-xxx

More than fifteen years have passed, yet the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda stands as the defining image conjured up by the mere mention of this small central African country. Admittedly, the pain and horror of this tragic episode in 1994 will forever mark the lives and character of Rwanda’s people, just...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxxi-xxxix

My sincere thanks go to Don Webster for his excellent translation from the original French to this English version and to René Lemarchand for his judicious editing. I am also very grateful to Jean Majeres for his careful review of the manuscript and to Noël Twagiramungu, who coordinated the translation of the Kinyarwanda edition...

Abbreviations

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pp. xxxiii-xxxix

Chronology

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pp. xxxix-lx

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1. The Social and Political Context

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pp. 1-20

At the risk of treading on familiar ground, this chapter attempts to sketch out a few basic facts about Rwanda’s social and geopolitical map. It lies at the heart of Africa’s central highlands and shares with neighboring states many of the features that have long impressed foreigners, especially its high population density and the presence of phenotypes that have contributed to serve...

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2. The Refugee Question and the RPF’s Choice of Armed Struggle

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pp. 21-36

Before turning to changes in the domestic arena, it may be useful to recall the international context of the military intervention by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its military wing, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA).1 On 1 October 1990 several thousand RPF soldiers launched an offensive from Uganda that profoundly shook the foundations of the Habyarimana regime.2 Technically they belonged...

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3. A Necessary Political Transition

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pp. 37-59

The years of “democratic transition,” from 1991 to 1993, were a turning point. The rising demands for democracy found expression in different forms, and their diffusion through social, economic, and political vehicles fed the momentum. The stakes were twofold: on the one hand, a recognition of the new...

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4. The Arusha Negotiations and the Reconfiguration of Political Forces

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pp. 60-89

Soon after the RPF invasion in October 1990, a long-drawnout negotiation process got under way among the parties to the conflict, first informally and then officially. Those negotiations continued in various locations and with multiple representatives, official and unofficial, and ultimately resulted in the Arusha...

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5. Unspoken Terms in the Arusha Peace Accords and Obstructions in the Political Transition

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pp. 90-122

The Arusha Peace Accords anticipated a transitional period of twenty-two months once the accords were signed on 4 August 1993. The peace agreement was meant to be exacting, expeditious, and binding (see annex 30). Certain provisions were already in effect through particular agreements initiated...

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6. Competition for Control of the Militias

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pp. 123-140

MRND chairman Matthieu Ngirumpatse was a fervent proponent of the thesis that the groups engaged in collective action, including violent action, emerged spontaneously. He would have us believe that the Rwandan political landscape was shaped by the best of intentions. By and large, interactions among Rwandan politicians were driven by friendly intellectual debate, ultimately turning on the relative merits and competencies of candidates vying for office...

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7. The Downing of the Presidential Plane on 6 April 1994 and the Military Crisis Committee

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pp. 141-171

On Wednesday, 6 April 1994, at 8:25 p.m. the airplane transporting Maj. Gen. Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundi president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down. The two heads of state who perished in this attack were returning from Dar es Salaam, where they had participated in a summit on regional security dealing with the implementation of the Arusha Peace Accords. It...

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8. The Civilian Alternative

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pp. 172-189

Théoneste Bagosora’s failure to control the Military Crisis Committee, which was apparent by the middle of the night of 7 April 1994, forced him to fall back on an alternative solution: the politicians.1 This solution had its advantages, though, insofar as it did not sideline Colonel Bagosora and still allowed him to advance the candidate of his choosing, Joseph Nzirorera. But...

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9. Installing the Interim Authorities

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pp. 190-211

The meeting of the heads of the political parties was both complex and simple to organize. Complex because all the dignitaries of the regime, including the civilian members of the Akazu, had gone into hiding by the evening of 6 April, preoccupied by the unleashing of uncontrolled violence from the Presidential...

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10. From Massacres to Genocide

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pp. 212-238

As we have seen, in triggering and then systematically expanding the massacres, the orchestrators relied on army units along with Kigali-based militia forces. Both were directly linked to the principal decision makers always on hand in moments of crisis: military officers beholden to the presidential clan. This is perfectly illustrated by the swift mobilization of Interahamwe militiamen...

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11. The Interim Government at the Center of Power

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pp. 239-264

Paradoxically, once transferred to Murambi, the Interim Government’s period of apprenticeship came to an end. From that point on, it was called upon to take charge of the “final war.” Reassured by all the party chiefs, who had also arrived in Murambi, the ministers quickly regained their composure. With...

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12. War and the Fight for Supremacy

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pp. 265-290

In the same way that the war radically disrupted social and economic hierarchies, arbitrarily tossing power and riches from one hand to the other, claims for abandoned or vacant property, indeed outright seizures, became a motivating factor in the war. Pillaging state resources and amassing war booty galvanized...

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13. Truth, Justice, and the Politics of Memory

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pp. 291-329

The climate surrounding current debates about the role and achievements of international justice in the postconflict period defines its breadth and limitations. Attempts to reinterpret the facts of the genocide—with a view to dismissing the horror as a mere “accident” or an “unfortunate experience”—are not unheard...

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Conclusion

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pp. 330-335

In concluding this analysis of war and genocide, it may be fitting to offer a final observation, in light of the materials reviewed, and to add a few personal remarks based on my hybrid status as both “expert witness” and researcher. The observation concerns the astounding futility of the strategic choices that the main protagonists ultimately made over the course of 1994. It was utterly devastating to equivocate in relation...

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Updates for the Period 2010–2015

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pp. 336-348

Since the publication of the original French edition of the book in February 2010, new developments have occurred that have significantly reshaped the debate on the Rwanda genocide. I limit myself to a few specific points that help...

Appendix: Box 5

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pp. 349-352

List of Boxes

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pp. 353-354

List of Annexes

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pp. 355-362

Notes

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pp. 363-404

Glossary

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pp. 405-408

Index of Names

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pp. 409-416