Any assessment of the International Community’s reluctance to adopt swift plans
for military intervention in Rwanda’s genocide quickly finds itself confronted with a
chilling reality; major international leaders refused to acknowledge the moral and legal
obligations they had to these victims of genocide. Instead, individual countries pursued
their own interests by either ignoring the conflict all together, or evacuating their own
citizens and expatriate employees, and unilaterally denying refuge to the Tutsis and
moderate Hutus being exterminated (Human Rights Watch, 78). Time and distance offers
us a unique perspective on the case of Rwanda.
Standing atop the mountain of misguided
policies and actions including; unheeded warnings to the UN, the United States’ efforts to
inhibit humanitarian intervention, and the French government’s competing interests with
both the RPF and the MRND, it is clear that complacency in the international community
was tantamount to complicity in the proliferation of genocide in Rwanda.
The utter lack
of concern the International Community showed for the unimaginable degree of human
suffering that existed in Rwanda, is not only an affront to the humanity of the victims of
the genocide, but it undermines the entire system of human rights treaties and the moral
and ethical justifications that authorize them.
This unwillingness to validate Rwandan
humanity has several very profound implications; not only on the prospect of future
Human Rights Treaties and the Governments that choose to be signatories, but the
process by which those treaties are monitored and implemented, and even the credibility
of the United Nations as an apolitical institution whose chief mantle is ensuring the
realization of human rights.
In his evaluation of foreign governments and transnational institutions that could
have intervened, but chose not to do so, Colonel Marcheal wrote: “ when people rightly
point the finger at certain individuals presumed responsible for the genocide, I wonder if
after all there is not another category for those responsible by omission” (Human Rights
Report, 101). The lack of concern for the Genocide in Rwanda was astounding. The
United States, France, and Belgium, the countries most involved with the violence in
Rwanda, closely followed the rapidly deteriorating situation, and worked in conjunction
with the UN to implement the Arusha Accords.
The Arusha Accords, signed in 1993,
was a peace treaty that seemed to address all the major issues plaguing the region; it
outlined the establishment of the rule of law, a transitional institution to govern until