Now Public: In-Depth Analysis from Rwanda Conference

This week, 21 years ago, the Rwandan genocide began. While the international community was occupied by the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, the African country saw a mass murder in which, in just 100 days between 500,000 and one million Rwandans, predominantly Tutsi, were killed. This genocide remains one of the most horrifying examples of state-directed mass violence against civilians since the Holocaust.

Last year, The Hague Institute for Global Justice hosted a conference to examine how the international community failed to prevent or at least effectively respond to the genocide, and how it might have been averted. The findings of this conference have been released by the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), and are now available to the public.

Co-organized by the USHMM, the National Security Archive at George Washington University, and The Hague Institute for Global Justice, the conference, held in June 2014, brought together former peacemakers, peacekeepers and peace monitors from more than a dozen countries.

The conference findings include an annotated transcript of the discussion, with references to over 100 newly declassified documents; a report detailing the main areas of discussion, debate and lessons learned that emerged; and a compendium of original source documents that reconstruct key moments in the international decision-making up to and throughout the genocide.

This Rwanda conference is part of a broader initiative by the Museum and The Hague Institute to examine pivotal moments when international action could have prevented genocide.

In the coming months and timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the event, we will analyze the international decision-making surrounding the fall of the “safe area” of Srebrenica in July 1995, termed a genocide through ICTY proceedings in 2004, where over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed. That conference will be in the same format as the examination done last year, and will be held in The Hague.

The Hague Institute for Global Justice and The Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide hope this initiative will lead to greater understanding of the causes of genocide and how to prevent it, as well as new scholarship and research about these tragic events.

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