Did the United Nations and the International Community Fail to Prevent the Rwandan Genocide?

Essay by teewshUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2014

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Did the United Nations and the International Community Fail to Prevent the Rwandan Genocide?

In 1994 in a period of 100 days approximately 800, 000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists in what was undoubtedly the largest genocidal attack since the Jewish holocaust in the Second World War. The tragedy lay not only in the events which unfolded but the incredibly disappointing response from the rest of the world in terms of coming to the rescue. This essay will argue that the advent of the Rwandan genocide could have been prevented by the United Nations and the international community members who were signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was adopted by the UN in 1948 and enforced as of 1951 (United Nations 1948). The United Nations, formed in the wake of the second world war, in consideration of what the Jewish people of Europe had endured, had adopted a policy of "never again" in relation to genocide and made it an illegal act under International Law in which all signatories of the convention were to prevent and punish (United Nations 1948).

This essay will examine the role of the UN assistance mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR), which was deployed prior to the Rwandan genocide. The essay will then discuss the work and pleas of UN force commander to the mission, General Roméo Dallaire. The world's response once the violence broke out which subsequently saw the UN forces withdrawn and no other forces sent in to assist the plight of the persecuted will be shown to be indicative of a failed response, before finally looking at the forces eventually sent to assist, too late and poorly equipped. The essay will then conclude with reference to the...