Timeline

Timeline

1994

16 May 1994

16 May 1994

At the Security Council, Minister Bicamumpaka denies the government’s role in the killings, saying that “Hundreds of thousands of Hutu were massacred by the RPF simply because they were Hutu”. Representatives of Argentina, Spain, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom disagree.

Augustin Bizimana, the Interim Government’s Minister of Defense, tells reporters that the massacres have stopped. Almost simultaneously, government soldiers and the Interahamwe execute hundreds of Tutsi taking refuge in Kabgayi church. RPF forces take control of Bugesera District and rescue about 2,000 people. They are mainly Tutsi survivors of the Ntarama Church massacre, who have come out of the swamps of the Nyabarongo river basin. They had maintained weeks of resistance against the Interahamwe militia there. Refugees who fled to Tanzania as a result of the massacres are still returning to Kibungo Prefecture via the Rusumo border post, under the control of RPF forces. The RPF Chairman Colonel Alex Kanyarengwe issues a message calling for an international tribunal for Rwanda to put on trial all those who participated in the genocide. He encourages Rwandan refugees who fled the country to return, including members of the Interahamwe, so long as they surrender their weapons and denounces their deeds. President Sindikubwabo visits Kibuye Prefecture where he expresses satisfaction over the genocidal killings which were committed in the prefecture and thanks the killers for a job well done.

1994

15 May 1994

15 May 1994

The BBC reports that the most recent arrivals to a refugee camp in northern Tanzania are accusing the RPF forces of committing atrocities against women and children in the Kibungo communes. The RPF representative in Brussels, James Rwego, denies the charges in a BBC interview. Rwego says the RPF is only interested in apprehending the militias who are responsible for the massacres in Rwanda. About 318 refugees in the RPF controlled town of Byumba sign a document that strongly condemns the Interim Government for its leading role in promoting the international crime of genocide against the Rwandan people. Pope John Paul II makes a public statement labeling the violence in Rwanda as “an out-and-out genocide, for which unfortunately even Catholics are responsible.”  

1994

14 May 1994

14 May 1994

Prime Minister Jean Kambanda visits the National University of Rwanda to thank the staff for the well-done “work” of killing Tutsi and encourages them to develop effective methods of self-defence. Bernard Kouchner, a former French Minister of Health and formerly the French Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, as well as co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, visits Kigali. Kouchner tells journalists that Tutsi and Hutu members of the opposition were massacred for what they were, and that is genocide. He emphasises that the massacres perpetrated by the government against innocent citizens were totally unacceptable by the French Government, and that the Rwandan Government should not expect any further military assistance from France as has been the tradition. He dismisses as a sham the excuse that President Habyarimana’s death was a cause for genocide.

1994

13 May 1994

13 May 1994

86 girls in a missionary school in Gikongoro are reported to have been massacred and buried in a mass grave. The RPF forces continue to rescue people coming up from the swamps where they have been hiding. Refugees who fled to Tanzania are returning home, showing to be false the allegations by the Interim Government that the RPF has closed the Rwanda -Tanzania border. The UN Security Council continues discussing the Secretary-General’s request to expand UNAMIR forces in Rwanda. The Council is trying to reconcile the proposed UNAMIR troop size of 5,500 with the US suggestion of deploying an appropriate force along the Rwanda borders in protected zones. The RPF spokesman at the United Nations in New York, Claude Dusaidi, in an interview on BBC radio, says the UNAMIR expansion for Rwanda should be in the context of facilitating humanitarian assistance to the displaced, and protecting areas on the Rwanda–Zaire and Rwanda–Burundi borders controlled by the Rwandan army. Innocent civilians in these areas are being massacred by MDR and CDR militias and some government forces.

1994

12 May 1994

12 May 1994

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jose Ayala Lasso travels to Kigali.  He utters the word “Genocide”.

The President of the UN Security Council discloses that the Council is considering the expansion of UNAMIR to a force of 8,000 with Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania to contribute troops. The UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs visits Rwanda where he holds separate meetings with the commander of the RPF forces, Major General Paul Kagame, and with the Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Government Forces, Major General Augustin Bizimungu. Whereas Major General Kagame is of the view that the force should only play the role of facilitating humanitarian assistance, Major General Bizimungu expects the force to play an intervention role in the on-going war. The Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Rwegasira, in an interview with the BBC, says that his country will not contribute troops to the proposed expanded UNAMIR force of 5,500 to be sent to Rwanda

1994

11 May 1994

11 May 1994

The UN Security Council debates the request by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali that a UNAMIR force of 5,500 be sent to stop the massacres that are going on in Rwanda. The Secretary-General’s request is widely seen as controversial because of concerns that the force may assume an interventionist role in the war between the RPF and the Rwandan army. This would mirror the recent disastrous experience of the UN forces in Somalia. US President Bill Clinton says that the US is not willing to contribute personnel to an expanded UNAMIR force, but would contribute financial and logistical support to the force to be sent to Rwanda. Clinton then suggests that an African force would be most appropriate for the proposed mission, but the mandate should be limited to the protection of certain safe corridors and the safe movement and distribution of relief aid. The Chairman of the RPA Military High Command, Major General Paul Kagame, says that an expanded UNAMIR force should not exceed the 2,500 strength of its former size and that the role of the force should be purely for humanitarian assistance.

1994

10 May 1994

10 May 1994

The Kenyan Government announces that it will not contribute forces to the proposed UN humanitarian assistance mission to Rwanda. A US Air Force cargo planes arrive in Mwanza, Tanzania carrying relief supplies for Rwandan refugees in camps. A US Defense Department spokesperson says that although military planes are carrying relief supplies to Rwandan refugees, no American military personnel will be sent to Rwanda. Radio Rwanda announces that President Sindikubwabo will attend the swearing in ceremony of South African President Nelson Mandela.

1994

9 May 1994

9 May 1994

Rwandan army chief of staff Colonel Ephrem Rwabalinda is received at the military cooperation mission in Paris by General Huchon, who says, “it is necessary to provide all the evidence proving the legitimacy of the war that Rwanda is waging, so as to turn international opinion in its favour and be able to resume bilateral cooperation. Meanwhile, the French military cooperation service is preparing measures to save us”. Encrypted communication equipment is provided to allow regular and confidential contact between Paris and Kigali.

Refugees continue to return to Rwanda. In three days, 500 people cross from Tanzania back to Rwanda. The returnees tell Radio Muhabura that they had run away from the massacres committed by the MRND militia. A mortar shell lands in Amahoro Stadium and kills one UNAMIR soldier.

1994

8 May 1994

8 May 1994

RPF official says in an interview on Radio France International that the RPF’s main objective is to stop the ongoing genocide in Rwanda and to establish law and order in the country. RPF also insists that it will not negotiate with a self-imposed government made up of killers but will continue to fight until it is defeated. However RPF also says that there are specific individuals in the Rwandan army with who they could hold talks.

1994

7 May 1994

7 May 1994

John Shattuck, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, meets RPF leaders in Kampala, Uganda to deliver a message from US President Bill Clinton. The message describes the massacres in Rwanda as the worst in the recent history of the world, and advises that the US contacts the UN Assistant Secretary in charge of human rights who will be visiting Rwanda next week.