With the start of the genocide and the renewal of combat, tens of thousands of people fled the capital, some heading directly south, others returning to their communes of origin, wherever they might be. Officials usually directed the displaced to a common gathering place and sought to discourage their taking shelter with private families, where it would be harder to keep track of them. But recognising that some went to stay with friends or family, burgomasters passed instructions down to councilors, cell heads, and nyumbakumi that such people must be registered immediately.
Administrators generally declared that such data was needed to assure adequate food supplies, but the information also allowed them to know how many Tutsi were still alive and where they were staying. Often a gathering place was attacked soon after officials had collected data on the displaced persons sheltered there. Authorities also revived an earlier requirement that persons wishing to travel outside their communes receive written authorisation to leave feuilles de route. Burgomasters controlled the distribution of these documents which could permit Tutsi to try to flee for their lives.
During periods of curfew, burgomasters also decided who must obey the regulations to remain at home. Officials insisted that Tutsi remain in their houses while granting passes to assailants who could then move freely around the commune to attack them. Burgomasters and other officials sought to keep accurate records on the dead and missing.
In Bwakira, for example, the burgomaster ordered subordinates to prepare such lists on April Five days later councilors submitted lists, by sector, of household heads who had died, the number of people in the household killed,and the number from the household who had fled. Burgomasters kept track not just of overall numbers of dead, but also of the elimination of those persons named as priority targets for their communes. They seem to have borne final responsibility for ensuring that such persons had in fact been slain.
Where there was any doubt that a person in question had in fact been killed, authorities would insist on seeing the body to confirm the death. In some cases, burgomasters tracked down escapees from their communes into adjacent areas, including those who had just sought temporary refuge in their jurisdiction before being driven away. Burgomasters were also charged with disposing of the bodies. Authorities summoned people for umuganda which consisted of stuffing bodies down latrines, tossing them in pits, throwing them into rivers or lakes, or digging mass graves in which to bury them.
In Kibuye, workers used a bulldozer to push bodies into a pit behind the little church on a peninsula jutting into the lake. In Kigali, Gikongoro, Butare, and elsewhere, authorities also called upon drivers of bulldozers to assist in disposing of the bodies. In Kigali, prisoners went through the streets every three days to gather up the bodies, a service that prisoners performed in Butare as well. One witness related his shock in the early days of killing when he came across a group of prisoners, dressed in their pink prison shirts and shorts, tossing cadavers into a truck.
They were appropriating all valuables from the bodies, stripping glasses and watches from them, plunging their hands into pockets to be sure they had extracted all they could from the dead, and then squabbling among themselves over the division of the spoils. Behind the intertwined triple hierarchy of military, administrative, and political authorities stood another set of important, but unofficial and less visible actors. In early April, many of the group retired to the luxury of the Hotel Meridien or other comfortable lodgings in the pleasant, lakeshore town of Gisenyi.
From there they gave advice to the interim government on finance, foreign relations, food supply, and even military strategy. Four days later, the interim government removed Ambassador Ndagijimana. Two weeks later, the Rwandan representative to the U.
Kabuga and his group also demanded that all young people receive military training. Several weeks later, Minister of Interior Edouard Karemera orderedprefects to have people arm themselves with such weapons and soon after, several communes established training camps to teach young people how to use them. The committee called on the government to publicize this idea rapidly so that others could contribute. The Rwandan ambassador in Washington wrote Rwandan citizens resident in the U. The contributions solicited by Kabuga from his immediate circle, 25 million Rwandan francs, about U.
Jean-Berchmans Nshimyumuremyi, the vice-rector of the National University of Rwanda, pressed faculty and staff of the university to contribute and within five days had more than 6 million Rwandan francs, about U. If so, he would have followed the model of the national government which apparently diverted money from the pension fund for state employees to pay the expenses of war. The prefect of Kibuye emptied the MRND youth fund to pay transportation costs and the burgomaster of Taba used funds of the commune to buy food and beer for militia.
They blamed the RPF for having refused a cease-fire and for having thus obliged Rwandan troops to remain at the front instead of going to save Tutsi. At a meeting arranged by Vice-rector Nshimyumuremyi in mid-May, interim Prime Minister Kambanda thanked the intellectuals of the university for the ideas and other support they had provided in the past. In the discussion that followed, speakers repeated some of the ideas enunciated by Kabuga on April the importance of a rapid media response to RPF charges against the government, the usefulness of accusing Uganda and Belgium of supporting the RPF, and the need for civilians to help the army fight the war.
Within the first twenty-four hours after the plane crash, it was clear that Tutsi clergy would be killed like any other Tutsi and, a day after that, it was evident that the churches would be desecrated by slaughter carried out at the very altar. The bishops balanced the statement with a denunciation of troublemakers and a request to the armed forces to protect everyone, regardless of ethnic group, party or region. The Rwandan bishops had been scheduled to attend, but did not leave Rwanda because of the onset of violence.
As the slaughter continued, the bishops reportedly felt the need to temper their early support of the government with criticism but were not allowed to broadcast such a firm statement. It was only a month later that four Catholic bishops, the Anglican archbishop and other Protestant clergy took a stronger position, urging an end to the war, massacres and assassinations. Far from condemning the attempt to exterminate the Tutsi, Archbishop Augustin Nshamihigo and Bishop Jonathan Ruhumuliza of the Anglican Church acted as spokemen for the genocidal government at a press conference in Nairobi.
Like many who tried to explain away the slaughter, they placed the blame for the genocide on the RPF because it had attacked Rwanda. Foreign journalists were so disgusted at this presentation that they left the conference. Some clergy who might have been able to save lives refused to even try to do so. The bishop reportedly refused to help, saying that he had no soldiers to accompany him to Kibeho and that the Tutsi had been attacked because they had arms with them. Some clergy, Rwandan and foreign, turned away Tutsi who sought their protection, whether from fear, from misjudgment of the consequences of their action, or from desire to see them killed.
Every team will have its own patrol day. One of them, the burgomaster of Mabanza, appealed to the Kibuye prefect, Kayishema, to defend him. They sent councilors and their subordinates from house to house to sign up all adult males, informing them when they were to work. The continuing risk to the general and his fellow dissidents was recently highlighted by the case of Alex Ruta , a Rwandan intelligence officer seeking asylum in South Africa, who has testified in court that he was sent to Johannesburg in with orders to eliminate prominent members of the RNC. Skip to main content.
At the large Catholic church center at Kabgayi, some 30, refugees gathered under the protection of the Archbishop of Kigali, two bishops, and many clergy. Of that number, about 25, were Tutsi, 1, of whom would be extracted in small groups from the camps and killed during the course of the genocide.
In some cases, burgomasters or militia leaders arrived to collect individuals from their communes to take them home to be killed. In other cases, militia, soldiers, and National Police passed through the crowds and chose persons to execute because they looked like members of the elite. They also took women to rape and sometimes to kill afterwards. The killers departed several hours later with sixteen persons, seven religious brothers, four priests, one religious sister, and four lay persons.
The nun, Sister Benigna, an older Hutu who was known throughout the region for her work with single mothers and orphans, was apparently battered to death with a hammer. Her body was found in the woods next to the church center. A small number of clergy and other religious persons have been accused of having incited genocide, delivered victims to the killers or even of having killed themselves.
Two Rwandan priests have been found guilty of genocide and condemned to death by a Rwandan court. Despite the silence of many clergy, some did defend Tutsi, even at the risk of their own lives. Joseph center in Kibungo, as describedbelow. When he returned to the town of Cyangugu the next day, he tried to evacuate Tutsi religious brothers but was unable to protect them from militia who stopped the cars on the road.
The three brothers were killed before his eyes. A Hutu, she had given shelter to many Tutsi in Gisenyi since the start of the genocide and had helped them across the border to Zaire.
Her brother, Col. Alphonse Nzungize, who commanded the nearby Bigogwe military camp, heard that she was threatened with death for her work and asked her to give it up. She refused. On April 21 she was taken to a cemetery for execution with forty-three persons, including other religious sisters and Tutsi who had sought refuge with them. Once there, militia members who feared retaliation from her brother offered her the chance to leave.
She refused to abandon the others. They repeated the offer after they had slain thirty people. She still refused and was shot and thrown naked with the others into the common grave. When her brother heard the news, he went to find her body and had it dressed and properly buried. Throughout the genocide, Radio Rwanda and RTLM continued to broadcast both incitations to slaughter and the directions on how to carry it out.
Authorities knew that they could reach a far wider audience through the radio than through popular meetings and so told people that they should listen to the radio to know what was expected of them. On April 12, the same day when Karamira and the Ministry of Defense used the radio to make clear that Tutsi were the target of killing, Prefect Renzaho used Radio Rwanda to give detailed instructions about where to look for them:.
They must close ranks, remember how to use their usual tools [i. I would also ask that each neighborhood try to organize itself to do communal work [ umuganda ] to clear the brush, to search houses, beginning with those that are abandoned, to search the marshes of the area to be sure that no inyenzi have slipped in to hide themselves there Authorities used the radio to recall retired soldiers to active duty and to summon the personnel needed for special tasks, such as the drivers of bulldozerswho were urgently called to Kigali prefecture, presumably to help in digging trenches to dispose of bodies.
Throughout the genocide, RTLM continued its informal, spontaneous style, with announcers recounting what they had seen on their walks around Kigali. The radio made the war immediate for people distant from the front: listeners could hear the explosions of mortars being shot at RTLM. The station carried not just the rhetoric of politicians but also the voice of the ordinary people who took time off from their work on the barriers to say hello to their families back home. The consistency of the message, delivered by the man in the street as well as by ministers and political leaders, increased its impact on listeners.
The radio castigated those who failed to participate enthusiastically in the hunt. One listener remembers RTLM saying:. All who try to protect themselves by sympathizing with both sides, they are traitors. It is they who tell a lot to the Inyenzi-Inkotanyi. It is they whom we call accomplices [ ibyitso ]. They will pay for what they have done. They warned that those who refused to search could expect sanctions and they cautioned that those who deserted the barriers could expect severe punishment, just as did soldiers who deserted the battlefront.
RTLM occasionally went beyond government policy. While officials and political leaders were directing militia to follow the lead of the army and not get ahead of the professionals, RTLM exhorted the people of Rubungo commune to attack on their own. It urged them:. They are not the ones who are going to look out for your houses during the night!
You must defend yourselves. Authorities, military, administrative, and political, engaged in deception with three objectives in mind: they wanted to confuse foreigners in order to avoid criticism and perhaps even to win support; they wanted to mislead Tutsi to make it easier to kill them; and they wanted to manipulate Hutu into participating energetically in the genocidal program.
Sometimes a given strategem served more than one purpose and misled two or even all three target audiences at once. The whole effort of deception was remarkably coherent, with diplomats abroad proclaiming the same lies as those told at home and with officials and politicians using the same pretenses in widely separated communities at the same time. Just as the organizers used genocide to wage war, so they used the war to cover the genocide.
Whether speaking in foreign capitals or at sector meetings out on the Rwandan hills, representatives of the interim government always began with a reminder that the RPF had invaded Rwanda in and from that deduced that the RPF was responsible for all subsequent developments, including the massive killing of Tutsi by Hutu. Without hesitation, they blamed the assassination of Habyarimana on the RPF, making it an illustration of the larger theme of Tutsi aggression and ruthlessness.
The pretext of popular anger was meant not just to confuse foreigners about the organized and systematic nature of the violence, but also to encourage Rwandans to feel justified in participating in it. According to witnesses, many assailants declared during attacks that Tutsi deserved to die because the Inyenzi hadkilled the president.
After the militia leader, Cyasa Habimana, led the slaughter of some 1, persons at the Saint Joseph center in Kibungo, the bishop confronted him to ask why he had killed. The widespread appearance of the pins demonstrated the success of the campaign to make a martyr of the president. In another reprise from the Habyarimana years, authorities occasionally tried to shift the blame for violence from the guilty to someone else, even to the victims themselves.
In the first days of the genocide, military authorities claimed that it was not soldiers of the Rwandan army but others wearing their uniforms who were slaughtering political leaders. When they could not sustain this pretense, they assigned guilt to a few unruly elements who were said to have disobeyed orders. Also familiar from the Habyarimana years was the claim that authorities were doing everything posssible to restore order.
Authorities and propagandists insisted that the war was present throughout the country, even if it were not apparent, and the enemy was everywhere, even if he were not obvious. They know how to hide and reappear! People have to look at who is next to them, look to see if they are not plotting against them. Because those plotters are the worst. The people must rise up, so that the plotters will be exposed, it is not hard to see if someone is plotting against you Bemeriki charged the RPF with cannibalism, saying they killed people by dissecting them and cutting out their hearts, livers, and stomachs.
They also echoed the strategems of the Habyarimana years. In Huye commune near Butare, Tutsi were said to have attacked a soldier. In the town of Butare itself, Tutsi were said to be preparing to kill Hutu. In Kibuye, the rumor circulated that the RPF would launch a helicopter strike to free Tutsi in the stadium. At the western most reaches of Rwanda, the first Tutsi killed in Kibuye town was accused of having grenades stored in his toilet and Pastor Ezekiel Semugeshi was accused of having arms and Inkotanyi at his home in Mugonero.
In Kibungo, all the way to the east, soldiers showed the bishop four gunssupposedly found in a hedge next to the church to justify their slaughter of the Tutsi who had sought shelter there. Authorities also discredited Tutsi by reporting that they possessed suspicious documents, ordinarily lists of Hutu to be killed, but alternatively records of RPF meetings or of dues collected for the RPF, maps with houses marked for attack, letters supposedly from RPF members, or diagrams showing how land was to be redistributed in the community once all the Hutu were eliminated.
Just as some authorities displayed arms supposedly found in searches, so others produced actual pieces of paper to add credibility to the charges. The prefect of Kibuye kept examples of such suspicious papers to show to foreign visitors in an effort to legitimate the killing that had taken place in his prefecture. They also leveled other accusations that had been heard in prior years: that the Tutsi were holding secret meetings, that they had radio equipment for contacting the RPF, and that they had traveled abroad recently. Some said the very flight of Tutsi to churches and other places of refuge showed that they planned some terrible crime and wished to be clear of the scene before the plot was put into operation.
In some instances, Tutsi did have arms or were assisting the RPF, and authorities did have real evidence of their actions. But the cases were few and instead of dealing with them responsibly, officials exaggerated their importance and used them to cast suspicion upon all Tutsi. They also accused them of having changed their identity from Tutsi to Hutu. In a report on security meetings that he conducted, one sub-prefect declares that he made people understand what they needed to do for their own welfare. Such was the message of the street song, but it was rarely stated openly. The interim government repeatedly announced that it intended to ensure security, peace, and the protection of property, but they meant those benefits only for the Hutu, not for all Rwandans.
Authorities issued statements carrying a double message, knowing that Rwandans would be able to decipher their real meaning. He returned to the more benign mode to counsel good behavior so that no one would be unjustly injured. The deceptions in language were echoed and intensified by the deceptions in action, such as the pretense of providing police protection to sites where Tutsi had taken refuge.
On a number of occasions, authorities or political leaders used promises to lure Tutsi into situations where they could be attacked: in Musebeya, it was the assurance of transport home; in Muko, it was the guarantee of a ride to the Kaduha church; and at Mugonero, it was the promise of protection by U.
A councilor in the Kicukiro commune, Kigali, offered to hide Tutsi, then reportedly put them in a truck and delivered them to militia. Busloads of displaced persons were transported by order of the prefect of Cyangugu from the stadium to a camp at Nyarushishi. En route, one bus took another route and all the persons on it were killed. In other cases, those who had escaped death by flight and hiding were summoned to return home, by drum, voice or loudspeaker.
The authorities assured them that the killing was finished.
When they came out, they were set upon and slain. In a variant of that deception, survivors were told that the killing was over at the end of an attack, only to see the killers reappear later to finish off those whowere still alive. The militia had even delivered survivors of other attacks to the Saint Joseph center to receive medical care.
At the Kibungo military camp three days later, the bishop raised the issue and was again told by Colonel Nkuliyekubona, the camp commander, Colonel Rwagafilita of the akazu, and the local militia leader Cyasa Habimana that the survivors would not be harmed. He returned directly to the bishopric several kilometers away and found that, in his brief absence, the survivors had been loaded into a truck and taken to a large mass grave near the hospital.
The bishop returned to the camp to confront the three leaders. The two colonels seemed to indicate that it was the militia leader who was responsible, but they made no move to arrest him or otherwise hold him accountable for the massacre. Deception was central to the genocide. When the national authorities ordered the extermination of Tutsi, tens of thousands of Hutu responded quickly, ruthlessly and persistently.
They killed without scruple and sometimes with pleasure. They boasted about their murders to each other and to the people whom they intended to kill next. Many of these zealous killers were poor, drawn from a population 86 percent of whom lived in poverty, the highest percentage in the world. They included too thousands of the displaced who focused their fear and anger on the RPF and defined that group to include all Tutsi.
Convinced partisans of the MRND or the CDR, particularly those from the northwest who had grown up hearing accounts of Tutsi oppression and who had little contact with Tutsi in their daily lives, constituted another important pool of assailants. Many refugees from Burundi, who transferred their anger from their Tutsi-dominated government at home to the Tutsi of Rwanda, also rushed to join the killing campaign.
They had been trained at some camps by Rwandan soldiers and militia since late and were prepared to strike. Some Rwandans, previously scorned in their communities, seized on the genocide as an opportunity to gain stature as well as wealth. Using their physical strength, their fighting skills, or their knowledge of weapons, men generally regarded as thugs organized bands to serve as ready-made militia to exterminate Tutsi. Women and children sometimes joined in pillaging or destroying property. Less often they too injured or killed Tutsi. Not all killers were poor and living in misery. Nor were all the poor killers.
Some refused to attack Tutsi, even when offered the prospect of pillage or the chance to acquire land that might provide security for their families. The people of Butare, arguably the poorest and most over-populated prefecture, were the last to join the killing campaign. Kagame placed value on women's roles and spearheaded many reforms to help build women's capacity in civil society. Today, Rwanda far surpasses that quota, with Four out of seven Supreme Court justices are women, and the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion ensures gender representation and equality in local politics across the country.
Women make their way to a morning market in Kigali. Female lawmakers have been praised for supporting policy changes around domestic violence, land rights and inheritance. But Rwigara's supporters say this is a veneer masking a lack of real opposition and freedoms. In a modern, luxurious Kigali villa only miles away from Eric's hideout, Rwigara's sister Anne and brother Arioste explain more. Diane Rwigara lived much of her life outside Rwanda, traveling between California and Kigali.
A family photo hanging on the wall of the living room shows a young, smiling Rwigara holding onto the shoulders of her father. She, like her father Assinapol Rwigara -- a successful businessman -- were at one time strong Kagame supporters. In , Rwigara returned to Rwanda from California after her father died in a car crash in suspicious circumstances. The official police report said that a truck driver had crashed into Assinapol's car, which resulted in his death. But the Rwigaras allege that members of Kagame's party harassed Assinapol -- who was an important financier of the RPF in the early s -- after he refused to allow the government to seize control of his business and that he was killed on the president's orders.
Arioste and Anne Rwigara, at home in Kigali. The Rwigaras wrote to Kagame calling the crash an assassination and asking for a full and transparent inquiry. Anne Rwigara looks outside, beyond the metal gates that guard the house. There, two stationary cars, sit for hours at a time watching the residence. Anne and Arioste say they are government surveillance vehicles.
The World Bank Doing Business Report named Rwanda the second-best place to do business in sub-Saharan Africa and it's ranked among the least corrupt countries on the continent, according to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. But when Rwigara sought to learn more about her father's death, her family says she found a very different picture. This was the "catalyst" for Diane's political awakening, her siblings say. She questioned what she saw as suspicious deaths and disappearances of prominent businessmen, lawyers, journalists and a former intelligence official, among others, Anne says.
A photo of Assinapol Rwigara, who died in , is displayed at the Rwigara home. In the lead-up to her presidential bid, Rwigara traveled outside Kigali, where most Rwandans live below the poverty line. She garnered support from many young people in rural areas and worked with volunteers like Eric to gather enough signatures to run for president. Her press conferences and meetings were well attended by young people and journalists alike. That support was a surprising concern to some ruling party leaders, say her family and a local journalist who attended the meetings.
Young people who attended her meetings would "see themselves in her," she adds. She could sense their pain and they wanted to support her. They were really behind her Diane Rwigara knew her political aspirations would amount to "suicide," Anne says, referring to a political climate marred by violence and jail terms. But she was willing to risk it. When Diane told her family she was planning to run for president, they were against it. They were concerned for her safety and her future.
Diane, they say, responded: "Is this a life? Do you even think you are living? Her brother Arioste Rwigara says that "in Rwanda, speaking of any injustice like that is a crime -- it's a sin," adding that Rwandans have accepted a status quo of censorship because they are afraid to voice their opinions. Anne Rwigara: "We don't hide They use a lot of pressure and fear to just silence people. You get to a point you realize you can't take it, you can't keep running and hiding.
You feel better, when you are speaking the truth. Arioste, like many of Kagame's critics, believes the president uses the context of the genocide to quash any dissent, using Rwanda's "Law relating to the punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology" -- which is designed to prohibit hate speech -- as a muzzle for any oppositional voices. It came as no surprise to her family when shortly after Rwigara announced her candidacy, nude photos, allegedly of her, were spread across the internet.
Rwigara and her family say the images were part of a smear campaign. A spokesman for Kagame's party at the time denied to CNN having anything to do with the photos. After Rwigara was disqualified, Rwanda's Revenue Authority slapped her family's business with a tax bill of 5. He likes to remind people, warning them, don't even think about it," Anne says of Kagame. Anne was initially arrested along with Diane and their mother Adeline on tax evasion charges and charged with incitement against the government.
The tax evasion charges were eventually dropped, but only Anne was released and freed of all charges. Adeline now faces charges of discrimination and sectarian practices and inciting insurrection, based on WhatsApp messages exchanged between her and her sister, who lives outside Rwanda. The prosecution has called those private chats -- in which Adeline and her sisters criticized the government -- "dangerous meetings. The family say police bashed in this door and damaged other parts of their property when Diane, Anne and Adeline Rwigara were arrested.
While Rwigara and her mother await trial, the government has seized the family's business, selling off their assets for more than 1. With their cash flow now squeezed, a trial that has been pushed back three times and concerns over legal fees, the siblings are more worried than ever. They believe that the likelihood of the Rwigaras' release -- and a chance for a woman from the opposition to run for president of Rwanda -- are slim.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes says that "criticizing the government is not a crime," and has called on the Rwandan judiciary to "ensure that this trial does not become just another means to persecute government critics. For now, Diane and her mother, Adeline, are in separate cells at the newly constructed Mageragere Prison, a minute drive from central Kigali. There, they spend most of their days alone, with short, highly supervised visits allowed once a week, according to the Rwigara family and other supporters who have visited them.
Most of Rwigara's supporters have stopped visiting the pair in prison, fearful of retribution.