World failed Rwanda in 1994 – president

Lazy eyes listen


Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the international community of failing to prevent the 1994 genocide in the Central African nation, which killed more than a million people, according to official estimates.

Kagame made the comments in a speech after lighting a flame of remembrance and laying a wreath at a memorial site holding the remains of 250,000 genocide victims in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, on Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the 100-day bloodbath.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa were among the world leaders who attended the ceremony. A delegation led by Bill Clinton, the US president at the time of the massacre, and Israeli President Isaac Herzog were present as well.

“Rwanda was completely humbled by the magnitude of our loss, and the lessons we learned are engraved in blood. But the tremendous progress of our country is plain to see and it is the result of the choice we made together to resurrect our nation,” Kagame said.

The genocide in Rwanda, which began on April 7, 1994, saw Tutsis and moderate Hutus systematically massacred by Hutu extremists over the course of 100 days. The mass killings erupted hours after a plane carrying Rwanda’s then-president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was shot down as it approached Kigali. The Tutsis were blamed for the plane attack and the assassination of the president, making them targets of the massacres.

The international community and the UN contingent stationed in the landlocked country allegedly failed to reach an agreement on any effective measures to halt the murders and instead watched the tragedy unfold.

On Sunday, Kagame commended neighbors, including Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania, for providing support in accepting Tutsi refugees and putting an end to the mass killings.

“Many of the countries represented here 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,” the Rwandan leader said.

Kigali has long blamed the international community, France in particular, for their involvement in the bloodshed. The African country’s authorities have accused Paris of offering protection to some perpetrators of the massacres and refusing to extradite them to Rwanda, where they fled justice. The French government has denied being complicit in the killings but has accepted “heavy and overwhelming responsibility” for not responding to the drift that led to the slaughter.

In a pre-recorded video preceding Sunday’s commemoration, French President Emmanuel Macron said France and its allies could have prevented the genocide but lacked the will to do so.

Former US President Clinton has also previously admitted that the massacre was his administration’s biggest failure.