Author: Andrew Wallis

The narrative on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda has become remarkable in recent years for airbrushing the responsibility of those at its heart from the tragedy. The figure of President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose 21-year rule, along with the unofficial network based around his wife and family, the Akazu, has been largely marginalised. Yet to understand April 1994 requires a far longer-term understanding. Those responsible had grown their power, influence and ambition for decades inside every part of Rwandan society after seizing power in their coup of 1973; they had established personal and highly lucrative bonds with European and North American countries, financial institutions and the Vatican, all of whom variously assisted with financial, political, diplomatic and military support from 1973 into 1994. This chapter seeks to outline how Akazu built its powerbase, influence and ambition in the two decades before 1994 and the failure of its international backers to respond to repeated warning signs of a tragedy foretold.

In: Journal of International Peacekeeping