International Decision-making in the Age of Genocide: Rwanda 1990-1994

From 1-3 June, leading decision-makers from the United Nations, Africa, the United States, and Europe gathered at The Hague Institute to consider the failure of the international community to prevent or effectively respond to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and explored if and how the tragedy might have been averted.

Read the official press release

Participants in the conference included architects of the 1992-1993 Arusha peace accords; the leadership of the UN peacekeeping force, UNAMIR; four former members of the UN Security Council; senior officials from the United Nations, Africa, the United States, and Europe; and former diplomats, human rights activists, academics, and journalists present in Kigali before and during the genocide.

Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, leader of the ill-fated UN peacekeeping mission, who recently received the Museum’s highest honor—the Elie Wiesel Award—for his bravery and moral courage, also participated.

The conference was modeled on a series of gatherings organized by the National Security Archive that has examined topics such as the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, and the end of the Cold War.

The conference focused on three themes:

  1. “Failure to Prevent,” addressed the lead-up to the genocide between October 1990 and April 1994, and asked whether the international community might have been able to foresee and prevent the catastrophe in Rwanda;
  2. “Failure to Protect” focused on the international response to the genocide, with special attention to the role of the UN Security Council;
  3. “Lessons Learned” session examined the similarities and differences between Rwanda and other contemporary mass atrocities.


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