Thursday, January 22, 2004

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is finally making progress. Last month, they convicted three journalists for incitement to genocide during the 1994 tragedy. They worked at the infamous Radio des Mille Collines which read out lists of names of people to be slaughtered. At the trial, several emotional witnesses, including employees of the media outlets, compared the role of the media to that of fuel on a fire. Phrases such as "go to work" and "the graves are not yet full" were read by radio disc jockeys during the spring of 1994. A newspaper called on citizens to exterminate the "cockroach Tutsis.", noted a Washington Post article.

Today, A former Rwandan education minister has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of genocide. . He was accused of personally leading militias to slaughter ethnic Tutsis sheltering in a church and a school, according to the BBC.

Now, the former head of UN troops in Rwanda is testifying against Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the presumed mastermind of the genocide. "I had a very tense meeting with him and he threatened me with a pistol, saying that next time we met he would shoot me," General Dallaire told the ICTR.

It should further discredit the claim of a few revisionists that what happened in Rwanda wasn't planned and wasn't really genocide.

You can also read a review of Gen. Dallaire's new book Shake Hands With the Devil.

For a condensed version of the events leading up to and during the genocide, check out the extremely informative article Bystanders to Genocide which ran in The Atlantic Monthly in September 2001.

The best account of the genocide is the stunning book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch. It remains the most powerful book I've ever read.

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