I am a British investigative journalist and have spent the last ten years studying the circumstances of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
I was in New York in April 1994, and my first interviews where conducted there with some of the non-permanent members of the Security Council. My first book on the role of the west, “A People Betrayed, The Role of the West in Rwanda’s genocide”, had the benefit of a leaked document detailing the decision-making in the Council in the first crucial weeks – what was said by government representatives in the secret and informal Council meetings held to decide what to do and particularly the attitude towards the crisis of the permanent members of the Council.
What occurred at that time is one of the defining scandals of the twentieth century. I have just completed my second book, “Conspiracy to Murder. The Rwandan Genocide”. For that book I was able to consult, and I consider this to have been a great privilege, two new archives and important archives. Firstly, I have studied documents that were left in Rwanda when those who planned and perpetrated the genocide fled the country. These show the role of an extremist military clique in planning genocide and how the idea of elimination had its genesis in a death squad. I was also able to study some of the files of the UN he Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the UN, which was a great privilege for me.
In my role as a discussant I must emphasize the point that has just been made by Professor Frank Chalk about the creation of the hate radio, an integral part of the genocide plan. It is vitally important that radio transmitting equipment should in future be included on any military critical technology’s list.
My own profession failed totally between April and July 1994. Indeed I think that the reports of the western press and what was written at that time -- that this was tribal chaos and anarchy -- actually contributed to the crime. I turn now to the US and the UK’s action during the genocide in Rwanda for there has been no inquiry in either country into their decision making in the Security Council before and during the genocide. France too, as my book shows, was directly involved with the extremists who planned and perpetrated genocide. What was shown in the Council was a troubling indifference to genocide, and a neglect of the obligations under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of genocide.
The names of those responsible where known at the outset. From the moment the extent of killing was evident, certainly two weeks into the slaughter, at the very least all Councils members should have severed diplomatic ties with Rwanda and expelled Rwandan ambassadors. Anyone who was trying to represent a government proceeding over genocide and in fact perpetrating it should have no place in the civilized world. Instead there was silence. The conspirators in Rwanda where able to plan and perpetrate the crime of genocide with extremely little international response - convinced that every step of the way that the world would fail to react.