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Genocide in Rwanda. Genocide. Includes acts committed with the intent to destroy (in whole or in part) a group of people b ased on a specific characteristic of the group (such as race, religion, ethnicity). Genocide In Rwanda.

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Genocide in Rwanda

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Includes acts committed with the intent to destroy (in whole or in part) a group of people based on a specific characteristic of the group (such as race, religion, ethnicity).

genocide in rwanda1

Genocide In Rwanda

Between April and June of 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, from the group known as Tutsis, were killed in the span of 100 days.

a division begins

A Division Begins

In the 18th century, when Rwanda emerged as a powerful and populous nation, its rulers began to measure their power in the number of their cattle.

  • The Tutsi were “rich in cattle”. They were the elite and ruling class.
  • On the other hand, the Hutu had less livestock and less power.
hutus vs tutsis

Hutus vs. Tutsis

The Hutuswere the majority – around 85%. But they were considered commoners.

The Tutsiswere the minority – around 14%. But they were considered the elite, ruling class because of their large estates, large number of servants, and large number of cattle.

Tutsi – 14%

Hutu – 85%



Although there were some families that intermarried, most Hutus married Hutus and most Tutsis married Tutsis.

  • This impacted genetics and the way Hutus and Tutsis began to look.
physical appearance
Physical Appearance
  • Because the Hutus and Tutsis did not usually intermarry, their offspring began to develop similarities in their features.
  • The Tutsis were often very tall, thin, with narrow features, and fair skin.
  • The Hutus were often shorter, stronger, with broader features, and darker skin.

This is a picture from the movie Hotel Rwanda.The man on the right, plays a Hutu character. The woman on the left, plays a Tutsi character.



The Germans were the first Europeans to colonize Rwanda.

They did so in the early 1900’s.

The Germans helped to fight off other countries that wanted to attack Rwanda (the Hutus and Tutsis). This helped to protect Rwanda and make it strong.

colonization continued

Colonization Continued

After WWI, the League of Nations decided that Germanywould no longer rule Rwanda.

The country was now under the safeguards of the United Nations, and it was to be governed by Belgium.

belgium brings further division

Belgium Brings Further Division

Belgium decided to use the class system (that had already been put into place) to their advantage.

  • The Belgians favored the Tutsisand gave them privileges and western-style education.
why did the belgians do this

Why did the Belgians do this?

The Belgians did this because they could control Rwanda easier this way.

The Belgians also favored the Tutsis because they appeared more European in their tall, slender features.

They discriminated against the Hutus because they appeared less European.

identification cards

Identification Cards

After creating laws that gave special privileges to the Tutsi, the Belgians ran into a problem… how could they be sure who was a Tutsi and who was a Hutu?

Physical characteristics identified some, but not all.

The solution: Have every single citizen register and carry an identification card.

what if you had no proof
What if you had no proof?
  • If you could not give proof of your ancestry, the Belgians would simply measure your height and other features.
  • If you appeared more European, they listed you has a Tutsi.
  • If your features were shorter, darker, stronger, etc. they listed you has a Hutu.


The Party for the Emancipation of the Hutus is formed in 1959. It is called Parmehutu.

Hutus rebelled against the Belgian colonial power and the Tutsi elite.

150,000 Tutsis flee to Burundi (which at the time was part of Rwanda).

belgium leaves

Belgium Leaves

In the 1960’s Belgium withdraws from Rwanda.

Rwanda and Burundi split into two different countries.

the hutus fight the tutsis

The Hutus fight the Tutsis

Still angry at being repressed and discriminated against for so many years, the Hutus fight the Tutsis.

Many Tutsis are massacred, and many flee Rwanda.

Some Hutus said that they needed to clean up the “filth” and kill the Tutsi “cockroaches.”

negotiations aug 1993

Negotiations – Aug. 1993

The Hutus rule the country for many years, but the Tutsi refugees want to return to Rwanda.

Following months of negotiations, President Habyarimana (a Hutu President) and the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) sign a peace accord that calls for a return of Tutsi refugees.

2,500 United Nations troops are deployed to Kigali to oversee the peace accord.

will there be peace

Will there be peace?

Despite a peace accord, the Rwandan president stalls in created a unified government in which the power is shared.

At the same time, training of militias and violence intensifies.

An extremist radio station, Radio Mille Collines, begins to warn: “it is almost time for us to cut down the tall trees.” This was code for, “it is almost time to kill all of the Tutsis.”



Human rights groups warn the international community of an impending genocide.

In March of 1994, the human rights groups are forced to flee Rwanda due to the impending calamity. Only the Red Cross stays behind.

a day that will live in infamy

A Day that will Live in Infamy

April 6, 1994 – President Habyarimana and the president of Burundi, CyprienNtaryamira, are shot down in a plane and killed.

No one knows who shot down the president’s plane. There are theories that the Hutus did this and there are theories that the Tutsis did this.

That night… the genocide begins.

the genocide

The Genocide

The Hutu militia, at one point 30,000 people strong, slaughtered any Tutsi that came in their path.

They encouraged regular Hutu civilians to do the same.

In some cases, Hutus were forced to kill their Tutsi neighbors.

the death toll

The Death Toll

In the span of 100 days, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered.

They were killed primarily with knives, machetes, and clubs.

100,000 of these were children.

an end to the genocide

An End to the Genocide

By July, the RPF (a Tutsi organization) captured the city of Kigali. The government collapsed and the RPF declared a cease-fire.

As soon as it became apparent to the Hutus that the Tutsis were victorious, close to 2 million fled to Zaire (now the Republic of Congo)

a new government

A New Government

On July 19 a new multi-ethnic government was formed, promising all refugees a safe return to Rwanda.

Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, was inagurated as president, while the majority of cabinet posts were assigned to Tutsis.

justice for genocide

Justice for Genocide

The new government of Rwanda continues to seek justice for the innocent murder of close to a million people.

Many people have been tried in court and found guilty of war crimes.

500 have been put to death for their war crimes, and another 100,000 are still in prison!!!

listen to leonard and tell me three things
Listen to Leonard and tell me three things

Task 1: What were the key events of the genocide?

In this extract Leonard is asked: Why do you think the genocide happened?

Your task is to listen to the extract and think of three reasons why the genocide happened.

KeepingMemories 9


Task 2: What factors led to the genocide?

Correct Order of Events

  • Put the events in the correct sequence

KeepingMemories 13


Task 2: What factors led to the genocide?

Correct Order of Events

Before 1884Rwanda is a peaceful country ruled by the Tutsi king and queen. The Tutsi were the smallest in number of the Rwandan population but were considered to be at the top of society and ‘upper class’. The Hutu were considered to be farmers and were the largest in number of the population. At this time it was possible to move from being a Hutu to a Tutsi if you were able to get more cattle.

1884 - 1959First people from Germany, then people from Belgium take control of Rwanda. They ruled Rwanda - they were called the colonial masters. They governed the country and their laws favoured the Tutsi. They believed the Tutsi were racially superior to the Hutu. The Hutu and Tutsi were given ID cards. Their ethnicity was noted on the card and this meant that the Hutus and Tutsis were prevented from moving between each other.

KeepingMemories 14


Task 2: What factors led to the genocide?

1959 - 1962

Following WW2 the worldwide system of colonial masters ruling other countries began to decrease - the global colonial system began to fall. Belgium decided not to support the Tutus anymore and now began to favour the Hutus. It left Rwanda with the Hutu majority in power. The ‘Hutu Revolution’ took place - this resulted in tens of thousands of Tutsis being killed and many others fled to neighbouring countries . Cycles of violence continue over the coming years.

1990 - 1994

The Rwandan Patriotic Front, an organisation which was made up of Tutsi refugees, invades Rwanda in an attempt to regain power from the ruling Hutus. The Rwandan Civil War begins. Although a peace deal was being negotiated in which Hutus and Tutsis would share power, Hutus in the government prepare to wipe out the Tutsis. Militias - groups of non-professional fighters were trained and armed and anti Tutsi propaganda was spread through the media. This propaganda was made up of one sided information to turn people's attitude against the Tutsis.

KeepingMemories 15


Task 2: What factors led to the genocide?

April - July 1994

The Rwandan President’s plane is shot down, killing all those on board. Hutu extremists blamed the Rwandan Patriotic Front, triggering the start of the Rwandan Genocide. A deliberate and organised destruction of the Tutsis begins. Over the next 3 months, over 800,000 Tutsis and some Hutus were killed in an attempt to kill all the Tutsi. The genocide also left many thousands of children orphaned and women scarred by brutal attacks. 

July 1994

While the international governments and the UN failed to stop the killing, the Rwandan Patriotic Front continued it’s advance , gaining control of the country and stopping the genocide. Although the new government in Rwanda created peace, over 2 million Hutus fled Rwanda to neighbouring countries, some to escape punishment and some fearing retaliation.

February 1995 to present

The UN sets up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania to punish people who took part in the genocide. Despite successfully convicting 42 people by 2012, the tribunal has been criticised because it is slow, its outside Rwanda and extremely expensive.

KeepingMemories 16


Task 2: What factors led to the genocide?

2001 - June 2012

Because of the weaknesses of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and many people waiting for trial, Rwanda starts to use a traditional court known as Gacaca (pronounced ‘gah-cha-cha’). These village courts have dealt with 1.5 million cases and aimed to punish those who took part in the genocide, find out the truth and encourage reconciliation. Gacaca has faced criticisms over unfairness and lack of safety for witnesses.

25 October 2001

Rwanda starts to use a new flag. This was seen as a fresh start by many of the Rwandan people because the flag that was used before reminded them of the genocide. The flag has four colours: Blue, green and two shades of yellow.The blue represents happiness and peace, the yellow band symbolises economic development and the green band symbolises hope and prosperity.The sun represents enlightenment.

KeepingMemories 17


Task 2: What factors led to the genocide?


Rwanda is a peaceful country, with a growing economy and advances in healthcare, education and women's rights. 200 000 people have faced justice for crimes during the genocide. Although the reconciliation process has been difficult, there have been many positive steps to reduce divisions between ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’. They now live together as Rwandans.

KeepingMemories 18