Blame for Rwanda

ChinaView: West is to blame for Rwandan genocide in 1994: Rwandan president

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Wednesday accused Western countries of adopting an indifferent attitude toward the 1994 genocide which claimed some one million lives in only 100 days.

Addressing a public ceremony in commemoration of those victims in the Kigali National Stadium, Kagame said the United Nations hadits peacekeeping force in the country, but they did not stop the mass killing.

The 1994 genocide is a tragedy for Rwanda, and it is also a huge failure of the international community in peacekeeping mission, he noted.


In his speech, Kagame said the Western powers had capacity to stop the killings, but they stood by with their arms folded. He accused the United States, Belgium and Britain of failing to stop the genocide.

In particular, he slammed the French government for training and arming the Hutu army and militia, who later used brutal means against their Tutsi friends, neighbors, classmates or colleagues.

While it’s reasonable to question why the West didn’t do more to stop the bloodshed, the idea that we’re to blame for it is rather bizarre. With the exception of the French complicity for supplying the Hutus, this was almost entirely a tragedy of Rwanda’s own making. The thugs with machettes who butchered hundreds of thousands of their “own” people are to blame here, not the United States and Belgium.

FILED UNDER: World Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mark says:

    Apparently you did not get the memo: the West is responsible for every single evil in this world.

    I’ll make sure you get a copy. 🙂

  2. tom says:

    I heard on the radio (BBC Worldnews) that Kagame also said that the Rawandan people bore the primary responsibility.

    Think this was more of “thanks for nothing” rather than western civilization is the cause of all evil. How espressing that this is a positive thing.

    Heard they bought the machetes from PRC, can anyone confirm?

  3. Sam says:

    The BBC reports that Linda Melvern, in _Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwandan Genocide_, says that the Rwandan government imported $750K worth of machetes from China.

    BBC articles on the Rwandan genocide:

    (Among them, the BBC reports that the UN has blocked investigations into who shot down the Rwandan President’s plane and a French police reports says that Kagame ordered it shot down.