Rwanda: Genocide Goes On

A decade ago the international community failed Rwanda. Its subsequent attempts to bring justice for the genocide have been slow and costly. Now a second ‘genocide’ threatens with a lack of funds to help those infected with HIV and AIDS through the bloodshed. Is the world once again looking in the wrong direction, spending money on justice when health matters?

The World Today Updated 16 October 2020 Published 1 April 2004 5 minute READ

Colin Waugh

Associate Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House

The barbarity of the genocide which began ten years ago this month remains an ugly and traumatic blot in contemporary world affairs. It continues to be a source of enduring guilt for the international community, which was fully conscious of the events taking place and could have prevented them. At Rwanda’s moment of gravest crisis, many of those best positioned to help displayed an impassivity that bordered on the wilful abandonment of a people threatened with extinction.

It is easy to recall the stupefying headlines and terrible images of that year – one million killed, mutilated bodies floating in lakes and rivers, corpses left to rot in fields and streets, or blown to pieces by terror squads in schools and churches – but despite all this the aftermath of the genocide has received relatively little attention.

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