- "In 1994 in the small African country of Rwanda an estimated 75% of it's minority Tutsi population were slaughtered in the most efficient Genocide in history. In a mere 100 days nearly a million people were killed a shocking average of 333 murders per hour. 5 per minute. Whether man, woman or child no one was spared. This deeply interment genocide in the southerman Hutu population is executioners through a campaign of propaganda."
- —Introduction to a documentary about the Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter that took place in 1994 in the East African state of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days (from the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira on April 6 through mid-July) over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate. Estimates of the death toll have ranged from 500,000–1,000,000, or as much as 20% of the country's total population. It was the culmination of longstanding ethnic competition and tensions between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutu peoples, who had come to power in the rebellion of 1959–62.
In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a rebel group composed mostly of Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from Uganda in an attempt to defeat the Hutu-led government. They began the Rwandan Civil War, fought between the Hutu regime, with support from Francophone Africa and France, and the RPF, with support from Uganda. This exacerbated ethnic tensions in the country. In response, many Hutu gravitated toward the Hutu Power ideology, with the prompting of state-controlled and independent Rwandan media.
As an ideology, Hutu Power asserted that the Tutsi intended to enslave the Hutu and must be resisted at all costs. Continuing ethnic strife resulted in the rebels' displacing large numbers of Hutu in the north, plus periodic localized Hutu killings of Tutsi in the south. International pressure on the Hutu-led government of Juvénal Habyarimana resulted in a cease-fire in 1993. He planned to implement the Arusha Accords.
The assassination of Habyarimana in April 1994 set off a violent reaction, during which Hutu groups conducted mass killings of Tutsis (and also pro-peace Hutus, who were portrayed as "traitors" and "collaborators"). This genocide had been planned by members of the Hutu power group known as the Akazu, many of whom occupied positions at top levels of the national government; the genocide was supported and coordinated by the national government as well as by local military and civil officials and mass media. Alongside the military, primary responsibility for the killings themselves rests with two Hutu militias that had been organized for this purpose by political parties: the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi, although once the genocide was underway a great number of Hutu civilians took part in the murders. It was the end of the peace agreement. The Tutsi RPF restarted their offensive, defeating the army and seizing control of the country.
Rwanda today has two public holidays commemorating the incident, with Genocide Memorial Day on April 7th marking the start, and Liberation Day on July 4th marking the end. The week following April 7th is designated an official week of mourning.
One global impact of the Rwandan Genocide is that it served as impetus to the creation of the International Criminal Court, so that ad hoc tribunals would not need to be created for future incidents of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC, and was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998