Accessed 16 May 2000


15 DECEMBER 1999

Part I

Part Ia  Part II Part III  Part IV  Part V

I. Introduction

II. Description of Key Events

Arusha Peace Agreement  
The establishment of UNAMIR  

The 11 January Cable

(Key Events Contd. Part Ia)

I. Introduction

Approximately 800,000 people were killed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The systematic slaughter of men, women and children which took place over the course of about 100 days between April and July of 1994 will forever be remembered as one of the most abhorrent events of the twentieth century. Rwandans killed Rwandans, brutally decimating the Tutsi population of the country, but also targetting moderate Hutus. Appalling atrocities were committed, by militia and the armed forces, but also by civilians against other civilians.

The international community did not prevent the genocide, nor did it stop the killing once the genocide had begun. This failure has left deep wounds within Rwandan society, and in the relationship between Rwanda and the international community, in particular the United Nations. These are wounds which need to be healed, for the sake of the people of Rwanda and for the sake of the United Nations. Establishing the truth is necessary for Rwanda, for the United Nations and also for all those, wherever they may live, who are at risk of becoming victims of genocide in the future.

In seeking to establish the truth about the role of the United Nations during the genocide, the Independent Inquiry hopes to contribute to building renewed trust between Rwanda and the United Nations, to help efforts of reconciliation among the people of Rwanda, and to contribute to preventing similar tragedies from occurring ever again. The Inquiry has analysed the role of the various actors and organs of the United Nations system. Each part of that system, in particular the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, the Security Council and the Member States of the organisation, must assume and acknowledge their respective parts of the responsibility for the failure of the international community in Rwanda. Acknowledgement of responsibility must also be accompanied by a will for change: a commitment to ensure that catastrophes such as the genocide in Rwanda never occur anywhere in the future.

The failure by the United Nations to prevent, and subsequently, to stop the genocide in Rwanda was a failure by the United Nations system as a whole. The fundamental failure was the lack of resources and political commitment devoted to developments in Rwanda and to the United Nations presence there. There was a persistent lack of political will by Member States to act, or to act with enough assertiveness. This lack of political will affected the response by the Secretariat and decision-making by the Security Council, but was also evident in the recurrent difficulties to get the necessary troops for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). Finally, although UNAMIR suffered from a chronic lack of resources and political priority, it must also be said that serious mistakes were made with those resources which were at the disposal of the United Nations .

In a letter dated 18 March 1999 (S/1994/339), the Secretary-General informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint an independent inquiry into the actions of the United Nations during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In their reply (S/1999/340), the members of the Council expressed their support for the initiative in this unique circumstance. In May 1999, the Secretary-General appointed Mr Ingvar Carlsson (former Prime Minister of Sweden), Professor Han Sung-Joo (former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea) and Lieutenant-General Rufus M Kupolati (rtd.) (Nigeria) to conduct the inquiry.

The Independent Inquiry was given the mandate of establishing the facts related to the response of the United Nations to the genocide in Rwanda, covering the period October 1993 to July 1994, and to make recommendations to the Secretary-General on this subject. The present report is submitted pursuant to that mandate.

The terms of reference stated that the Inquiry should establish a chronology of key events pertaining to UN involvement in Rwanda from October 1993 to July 1994. It should evaluate the mandate and resources of UNAMIR and how they affected the response of the United Nations to the events relating to the massacres. The Inquiry was asked to draw relevant conclusions and identify the lessons to be learned from the tragedy and to report to the Secretary-General not later than six months from the commencement of the inquiry. The terms of reference also stated that the Inquiry would have unrestricted access to all UN documentation and persons involved.

The Inquiry began its work on 17 June 1999.

The mandate of the Independent Inquiry covered the actions of the United Nations as a whole. The task of the Inquiry thus included studying the actions of UNAMIR, the Secretary-General and the Secretariat, as well as the Member States of the organization and the political organs in which they are represented. With respect to actions of Member States, the Inquiry has focussed on positions taken which affected the response of the United Nations to the tragedy in Rwanda. It will be task of other bodies to analyse the broader issues raised by individual countries' positions on the Rwandan issue.

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) and other regional actors played important roles throughout the peace process and during the crisis in Rwanda. The mandate of the Inquiry being focussed on the role of the United Nations, emphasis is placed in this context on the influence which regional actors had on that role. The OAU International Panel of Eminent Persons, whose report is due to come out next year, will no doubt be able to reflect fully all the various aspects of the regional perspective on the genocide in Rwanda.

In the course of its work the Inquiry interviewed a large number of persons with knowledge relevant to its mandate. A list of those interviewed is contained in Annex II.

The Inquiry conducted research into the archives of the United Nations as part of its work. In addition to documents contained in the central archives of the organization, the Inquiry also studied files maintained by different departments within the United Nations, including the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Political Affairs, and files from the archives of UNAMIR. The Inquiry also benefitted from documents and materials made available to it by governmental and non-governmental sources. In a letter dated 8 September, the Inquiry invited all countries which contributed troops to UNAMIR during the period covered by the mandate to make available comments or information to the Inquiry.

The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide lays down the criteria for what acts are to be considered a genocide, one of the most heinous crimes which can be committed against a human population. Essentially, the Convention requires both that certain acts have been committed, and that they be done with a particular intent: that of destroying, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such. The Security Council used the same criteria in outlining the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), contained in resolution 955 (1994). The ICTR has determined that the mass killings of Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 constituted genocide. It was a genocide planned and incited by Hutu extremists against the Tutsi.

II. Description of Key Events

Arusha Peace Agreement

On 4 August 1993, following years of negotiations, the Government of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) signed the Arusha Peace Agreement. The Agreement provided for a broad role for the United Nations, through what the agreement termed the Neutral International Force (NIF), in the supervision of implementation of the Accords during a transitional period which was to last 22 months. Previously, in a letter to the Secretary-General on 14 June 1993 (S/25951), the government and the RPF had jointly requested the establishment of such a force and asked the Secretary-General to send a reconnaissance team to Rwanda to plan the force. The parties agreed that the existing OAU Neutral Monitoring Group (NMOG II) might be integrated into the NIF.

According to the Arusha Peace Agreement, the NIF was to assist in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, especially through the supervision of the protocol on the integration of armed forces of the two parties. The force was assigned wide security tasks: to guarantee the overall security of the country and verify the maintenance of law and order, ensure the security of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to assist in catering to the security of civilians. The force was also asked to assist in tracking arms caches and in the neutralization of armed gangs throughout the country, undertake mine clearance operations, assist in the recovery of all weapons distributed to or illegally acquired by civilians, and monitor the observance of the cessation of hostilities. Furthermore, the NIF was expected to assume responsibility for the establishment and preparation of assembly and cantonment points, and to determine security parameters for Kigali, with the objective of making it a neutral zone. Among its other tasks, the NIF was to supervise the demobilisation of those servicemen and gendarmes who were not going to be part of the new armed forces. The NIF was to be informed of any violation of the cease-fire and track down the perpetrators.

The timetable of the Agreement proceeded from the assumption that the NIF could be deployed in about a month, a proposition that United Nations officials had informed the parties would not be realistic well in advance of the signing of the agreement. In the months before the agreement was signed, the Government, which had delayed signing the agreement, pressed the United Nations to begin planning deployment already before the accords had been signed. The United Nations maintained that it was necessary for the parties to show their commitment to the peace process by signing the accords before a peacekeeping operation could begin to be planned.

Only a week after the signing of the Agreement, the United Nations published a report which gave an ominously serious picture of the human rights situation in Rwanda. The report described the visit to Rwanda by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr Waly Bacre Ndiaye, from 8 to 17 April 1993. Ndiaye determined that massacres and a plethora of other serious human rights violations were taking place in Rwanda. The targeting of the Tutsi population led Ndiaye to discuss whether the term genocide might be applicable. He stated that he could not pass judgment at that stage, but, citing the Genocide Convention, went on to say that the cases of intercommunal violence brought to his attention indicated "very clearly that the victims of the attacks, Tutsis in the overwhelming majority of cases, have been targeted solely because of their membership of a certain ethnic group and for no other objective reason." Although Ndiaye – in addition to pointing out the serious risk of genocide in Rwanda - recommended a series of steps to prevent further massacres and other abuses, his report seems to have been largely ignored by the key actors within the United Nations system.

In order to follow-up on the Arusha Agreement, the Secretary-General dispatched a reconnaissance mission to the region from 19 to 31 August 1993 to study the possible functions of the NIF and the resources needed for such a peacekeeping operation. The mission was led by Brigadier-General Romeo A. Dallaire, Canada, at the time Chief Military Observer of the United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR). The mission included representatives from different parts of the United Nations system.

On 10 September, the Security Council issued a presidential statement (S/26425) which welcomed the Arusha Accords, and stated that the Council was aware of the hopes of the Rwandese parties regarding assistance by the international community in the implementation of the Agreement. The recommendations of the reconnaissance mission had not yet been presented to the Security Council at this point.

On 15 September, a joint Government-RPF delegation met with the Secretary-General in New York. The delegation argued in favour of the rapid deployment of the international force and the rapid establishment of the transitional institutions. Warning that any delay might lead to the collapse of the peace process, the delegation expressed the wish for a force numbering 4,260. The Secretary-General gave the delegation a sobering message: that even if the Council were to approve a force of that size, it would take at least 2 - 3 months for it to be deployed. The United Nations might be able to deploy some further observers in addition to the 72 already sent, but even this would take weeks. Therefore the Rwandan people needed to be told that they had to rely on themselves during the interim period. The Government and the RPF had to make an effort to respect the cease-fire, the Secretary-General said, because it would be even more difficult to get troops if fighting were to resume. He also mentioned the enormous demands being made of the United Nations for troops, in particular in Somalia and Bosnia, and that the United Nations was going through a financial crisis.

The establishment of UNAMIR

On 24 September 1993, two weeks after the end of the original transitional period, the Secretary-General presented a report to the Security Council on the establishment of a peacekeeping operation in Rwanda (S/26488), based on the report from the reconnaissance mission. The report set out a deployment plan for a peacekeeping force of 2,548 military personnel. With operations divided into four phases, the Secretary-General proposed the immediate deployment of an advance party of about 25 military and 18 civilian personnel, and 3 civilian police. The first phase was to last 3 months, until the establishment of the Broad-based Transitional Government (BBTG), during which the operation would prepare the establishment of a secure area in Kigali and monitor the cease-fire. By the end of phase 1, the report of the Secretary-General stated that the operation was to number 1,428 military personnel.

The mission was to be divided into five sectors, covering Kigali, the De-militarized Zone (DMZ), the Government forces (RGF) and the RPF, respectively, with UNOMUR as a fifth sector. The three latter sectors would be staffed by military observers, who would be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the protocol on the integration of the armed forces. Among other tasks, this meant monitoring the observance of the cessation of hostilities, verifying the disengagement of forces, the movement of troops to assembly points and heavy weapons to cantonment points, and monitoring the demobilisation of members of the armed forces and the gendarmerie.

The Kigali and DMZ sectors would each have an infantry battalion and military observers. In addition to tasks similar to those in other sectors, in Kigali and the DMZ, it was proposed that UNAMIR assist in arms recovery and verification through checkpoints and patrol, as well as providing security at assembly and cantonment points. A small civilian police unit was to be given the task of verifying the maintenance of law and order.

On 5 October, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 872 (1993), which established UNAMIR. The Council did not approve all the elements of the mandate recommended by the Secretary-General, but instead decided on a more limited mandate. Notably absent was the suggestion that UNAMIR assist in the recovery of arms. Instead, the resolution decided that UNAMIR should contribute to the security of the city of Kigali, i.a., within a weapons-secure area established by the parties in and around the city (authors' emphasis).

The mandate included the following other elements:

- to monitor observance of the cease-fire agreement, which called for the establishment of cantonment and assembly zones and the demarcation of the new DMZ and other demilitarization procedures;

- to monitor security situation during the final period of the transitional government's mandate, leading up to the elections;

- to assist with mine clearance, primarily through training programmes;

- to investigate, at the request of the parties, or on its own initiative, instances of non-compliance with the provisions of the Protocol of Agreement on the Integration of the Armed Forces of the Two Parties, and to pursue any such instances with the parties responsible and report thereon as appropriate to the Secretary-General;

- to monitor the process of repatriation of Rwandese refugees and the resettlement of displaced persons to verify that it is carried out in a safe and orderly manner;

- to assist in the coordination of humanitarian assistance in conjunction with relief operations, and

- to investigate and report on incidents regarding the activities of the gendarmerie and police.

Dallaire was appointed Force Commander of the new mission. He arrived in Kigali on 22 October. He was joined by an advance party of 21 military personnel on

27 October. The Secretary-General subsequently appointed a former Foreign Minister of Cameroon, Mr Jacques-Roger Booh Booh, as his Special Representative in Rwanda. Booh Booh arrived in Kigali on 23 November 1993.

On 23 November 1993, Dallaire sent Headquarters a draft set of Rules of Engagement (ROE) for UNAMIR, asking for the approval of the Secretariat. The draft included in paragraph 17 a rule specifically allowing the mission to act, and even to use force, in response to crimes against humanity and other abuses ("There may also be ethnically or politically motivated criminal acts committed during this mandate which will morally and legally require UNAMIR to use all available means to halt them. Examples are executions, attacks on displaced persons or refugees"). Headquarters never responded formally to the Force Commander's request for approval.

Developments in Rwanda during November and December 1993 gave the new peacekeeping operation cause for concern. The political process faced a stalemate. It was also becoming increasingly clear that the political difficulties were taking place against a backdrop of ever more evident violence. According to the United Nations, about 60 people were killed in violent incidents in November and December. UNAMIR's reports from this period provide graphic descriptions of the ruthlessness with which these killings were carried out. Already at this stage, the optimistic atmosphere which had surrounded the signing at Arusha was beginning to be sobered by considerable concern about the armed activity in Rwanda, including the existence of armed militia. Moreover, the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye of Burundi in late October, and the violent aftermath and the refugee flows which ensued, provided another worrying backdrop to the beginning of the peacekeeping operation which had not been foreseen when the mission was set up.

In early December, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs James O.C. Jonah travelled to Rwanda for a brief visit following the funeral of the President of Burundi. Jonah met with the President of Rwanda, Major-General Juvénal Habyarimana. According to Jonah, he had been requested orally by the Secretary-General to warn President Habyarimana that he had information that killings of the opposition were being planned, and that the United Nations would not stand for this. Jonah was not informed by the Secretary-General about the source of this information. President Habyarimana denied the allegation, a denial Jonah stated that he transmitted to the Secretary-General.

In a concerted effort to bring about movement in the political process, on 10 December, Booh Booh convened a meeting of the political parties in Kinihara, Rwanda. The meeting resulted in a joint declaration by which the parties reaffirmed their commitment to the goals of the Arusha Agreement. Nonetheless, the timetable the parties had agreed on was not implemented. At the end of December, an RPF battalion was installed in Kigali at the Conseil Nationale du Développement (CND) complex, in accordance with the Arusha Peace Agreement. On 5 January, the installation of President Habyarimana took place in accordance with the Agreement. However, disagreements among the parties continued to block the formation of the BBTG and the National Assembly.

The 11 January Cable

On 11 January 1994, Dallaire sent the Military Adviser to the Secretary-General, Major-General Maurice Baril, a telegram entitled "Request for Protection for Informant", which has come to figure prominently in the discussions about what knowledge was available to the United Nations about the risk of genocide. The telegram stated that Dallaire had been put into contact with an informant who was a top level trainer in the Interahamwe militia. The contact had been set up by a "very very important government politician" (who in later correspondence was identified as the Prime Minister Designate, Mr Faustin Twagiramungu). The cable contained a number of key pieces of information.

The first related to a strategy to provoke the killing of Belgian soldiers and the Belgian battalion's withdrawal. The informant had been in charge of demonstrations a few days earlier, with the aim of targetting opposition deputies and Belgian soldiers. The Interahamwe hoped to provoke the RPF battalion into firing at the demonstrators. The deputies were to be assassinated. Belgian troops were to be provoked. If the Belgian soldiers used force, a number of them were to be killed, which was to guarantee the withdrawal of the Belgian contingent from Rwanda.

Secondly, the informant said that the Interahamwe had trained 1,700 men in the camps of the RGF, scattered in groups of 40 throughout Kigali. He had been ordered to register all Tutsi in Kigali, and suspected it was for their extermination. He said that his personnel was able to kill up to 1,000 Tutsi in 20 minutes.

Thirdly, the informant had told of a major weapons cache with at least 135 weapons (G 3 and AK 47). He was prepared to show UNAMIR the location if his family was given protection.

Having described the information received from the informant, Dallaire went on to inform the Secretariat that it was UNAMIR's intention to take action within the next 36 hours. He recommended that the informant be given protection and be evacuated, and – on this particular point, but not on the previous one – requested guidance from the Secretariat as to how to proceed. Finally, Dallaire admitted to having certain reservations about the reliability of the informant and said that the possibility of a trap was not fully excluded. As has often been quoted, the telegram nonetheless ended with a call for action: "Peux ce que veux. Allons-y."

This telegram was addressed to Baril, but it was shared with other senior officials within DPKO, including Under-Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Assistant-Secretary-General Iqbal Riza and Mr Hedi Annabi, at the time head of the Africa Section in DPKO. Both Under Secretaries-General for Political Affairs at the time, Mr Marrack Goulding and Jonah have told the Inquiry that they did not see the telegram when it arrived. The Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG) routinely received all cables at the time. This cable was in the EOSG archives, although the Secretary-General has stated that he was not shown a copy until later.

The first response from Headquarters to UNAMIR was sent on the evening of 10 January New York time. It was a cable from Annan (signed off by Riza) to Booh Booh, marked "Immediate" and "Only". Headquarters wrote that the information in Dallaire's cable was cause for concern but there were certain inconsistencies. Annan continued "We must handle this information with caution." The final paragraph requested Booh Booh's considered assessment and recommendations. It ended "No reconnaissance or other action, including response to request for protection, should be taken by UNAMIR until clear guidance is received from Headquarters."

Booh Booh replied to Annan in a cable also dated 11 January. The Special Representative described a meeting which Dallaire and Booh Booh's political adviser, Dr Abdul Kabia, had had with the Prime Minister Designate, who expressed "total, repeat total, confidence in the veracity and true ambitions of the informant." Booh Booh emphasized that the informant only had 24 to 48 hours before he had to distribute the arms, and requested guidance on how to handle the situation, including the request for protection for the informant. The final paragraph of the telegram, para. 7, stated that Dallaire was "prepared to pursue the operation in accordance with military doctrine with reconnaissance, rehearsal and implementation using overwhelming force. Should at any time during reconnaissance, planning or preparation, any sign of a possible contravening or possibility of an undue risky scenario present itself, the operation will be called off."

Later the same day, Headquarters replied. Again, the cable was from Annan, signed by Riza, addressed this time to both Booh Booh and Dallaire. Headquarters stated that they could not agree to the operation contemplated in para. 7 of the cable from Booh Booh, as it in their view clearly went beyond the mandate entrusted to UNAMIR under resolution 872 (1993). Provided UNAMIR felt the informant was absolutely reliable, Booh Booh and Dallaire instead were instructed to request an urgent meeting with President Habyarimana and inform him that they had received apparently reliable information concerning the activities of the Interahamwe which represented a clear threat to the peace process. Habyarimana was to be informed that the activities included the training and deployment of subversive groups in Kigali as well as the storage and distribution of weapons to those groups. These activities constituted a clear violation of Arusha agreement and of the Kigali Weapons Secure Area (KWSA). Booh Booh and Dallaire were told to assume that the President was not aware of these activities, but were to insist that he immediately look into it, take necessary action, and ensure that the subversive activities were stopped. The President was to be told to inform UNAMIR within 48 hours of the steps he had taken, including the recovery of arms. If any violence occurred in Kigali, the information on the militia would have to be brought to the attention of the Security Council, investigate responsibility and make recommendations to the Council.

Before the meeting with the President, the Ambassadors of Belgium, France and the United States were to be informed and asked to make similar démarches.

The cable from Headquarters ended with the pointed statement that "the overriding consideration is the need to avoid entering into a course of action that might lead to the use of force and unanticipated repercussions."

On 13 January, Booh Booh sent a reply to Annan, outlining what had been done pursuant to the instructions from Headquarters. The code cable was entitled "Initiatives taken relating to the latest security information." Booh Booh informed Headquarters that he and Dallaire had met with the heads of mission of Belgium, France and the United States, who had expressed serious concern and had said they would consult with their capitals. Following that meeting, Booh Booh and Dallaire met with the President and conveyed the message as instructed. Booh Booh informed the Secretariat that the President had appeared alarmed by the tone of the démarche. He had denied knowledge of the activities of the militia and had promised to investigate.

Booh Booh and Dallaire had also raised the harrassment of UNAMIR civilian personnel and the violence against Rwandese ("all belonging to one ethnic group") during the demonstrations on 8 January. President Habyarimana replied that he was unaware of the demonstrations but apologized for any inappropriate behaviour directed against UNAMIR personnel. He suggested both issues be raised with the bureau of his party, the Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement (MRND).

This Booh Booh and Dallaire did later the same day, in a meeting with the President and National Secretary of the MRND, who both denied that the MRND or its militia were involved in the alleged activities. They were urged to investigate and to report back to UNAMIR as early as possible.

In a final comment, Booh Booh wrote that the initial feedback from the meetings indicated that both the President and the MRND officials were bewildered by the specificity of the information at their disposal. "The President of the MRND seemed unnerved and is reported to have subsequently ordered an accelerated distribution of weapons. My [Booh Booh's] assessment of the situation is that the initiative to confront the accused parties with the information was a good one and may force them to decide on alternative ways of jeopardizing the peace process, especially in the Kigali area."

A cable from Booh Booh to Annan and Jonah on 2 February, by which time the security situation had deteriorated significantly, made clear that the President never did inform UNAMIR of any follow-up to the information he was confronted with on 12 January.

Political deadlock and a worsening of the security situation

On 14 January, notes in the files of the Secretary-General show that he spoke both to Booh Booh and to Habyarimana. According to the archives, Booh Booh informed the Secretary-General that the two parties in Rwanda had so far failed to respect the agreement to establish a Government and that he was doing his best to find a solution in cooperation with the ambassadors of France, Belgium, the United States and Tanzania. The Secretary-General asked Booh Booh to meet the President and convey his concern at the delay in solving the situation. Booh Booh was told to explain that each day of delay might cost the United Nations many thousands of dollars, since the troops would be obliged to remain available for a long time. Thus, delays also caused problems with the Security Council.

At 19.30 on 14 January, President Habyarimana telephoned the Secretary-General. Habyarimana said that he had received the four Ambassadors (presumably the same as were mentioned by Booh Booh above) and needed both their and Booh Booh's support so that he could impose a solution on the parties. The note for the file continues, "The Secretary-General assured the President that the United Nations trusted his leadership and asked him to do his best to resolve the problem. The Secretary-General gave the argument that unless there was progress the United Nations would be obliged to withdraw its presence. The President said that this would be a disaster for his country. He promised that he would do his best and that he would meet the Ambassadors again the following week."

The concerns with regard to the distribution of arms, the activities of the militia, killings and increased ethnic tension continued throughout the early months of 1994. In a cable to Annan and Jonah on 2 February, Booh Booh wrote that the security situation was deteriorating on a daily basis. Booh Booh reported "increasingly violent demonstrations, nightly grenade attacks, assassination attempts, political and ethnic killings, and we are receiving more and more reliable and confirmed information that the armed militias of the parties are stockpiling and may possibly be preparing to distribute arms to their supporters." He continued, "If this distribution takes place, it will worsen the security situation even further and create a significant danger to the safety and security of UN military and civilian personnel and the population at large." Furthermore Booh Booh cited indications that the RGF was preparing for a conflict, stockpiling ammunition and attempting to reinforce positions in Kigali. UNAMIR painted a dire scenario: that "should the present Kigali defensive concentration posture of UNAMIR be maintained, the security situation will deteriorate even further. We can expect more frequent and more violent demonstrations, more grenade and armed attacks on ethnic and political groups, more assassinations and quite possibly outright attacks on UNAMIR installations and personnel, as was done on the home of the SRSG." The conclusion drawn was that determined and selective deterrent operations were necessary, targetting confirmed arms caches and individuals known to have illegal weapons in their possession. Booh Booh wrote that these operations would be conducted not only to fulfil the requirements of their mandate in recovering illegal arms, but they would also ultimately ensure the safety and continued operation of United Nations personnel and facilities in Rwanda. UNAMIR sought the guidance and approval of Headquarters to commence deterrent operations.

During the month of February, Booh Booh continued to focus on edging the parties nearer an agreement on the establishment of the transitional institutions. Meanwhile, the mission continued to express concern about the worsening security situation, i.a. at a meeting with Belgium, France, Germany and the United States on 15 February.

On 14 February (the United Nations Blue Book on Rwanda dates it 14 March), the Belgian Foreign Minister, Mr Willy Claes, wrote a letter to the Secretary-General, arguing in favour of a stronger mandate for UNAMIR. Unfortunately, this proposal does not appear to have been given serious attention within the Secretariat or among other interested countries.

Dallaire continued to press for permission to take a more active role in deterrent operations against arms caches in the KWSA. The Secretariat, however, maintained the interpretation of the mandate which was evident in their replies to Dallaire's cable, insisting that UNAMIR could only support the efforts of the gendarmerie. On 15 February, Dallaire referred to a previous recommendation that deterrent actions "supported by" the gendarmerie and army be initiated, pointing out that neither of these Rwandese institutions had the resources to conduct cordon and search operations themselves. He promised that Headquarters would be informed of the details of the operations so that it could be confirmed that they were in accordance with directions from the Secretariat and the mandate. The response from Headquarters was to question the concept proposed by Dallaire and to ask for clarifications. Annan emphasized that public security was the responsibility of the authorities and must remain so. "As you know, resolution 792 [sic] (1993) only authorized UNAMIR to 'contribute to the security of the city of Kigali, i.a., within a weapons secure area established by repeat by the parties'."

In a presidential statement on 17 February (S/PRST/1994/8), the Security Council expressed deep concern about the deterioration in the security situation, particularly in Kigali, and reminded parties of their obligation to respect the KWSA. The statement was handed over to President Habyarimana on 19 February. On 21 and 22 February, Mr Félicien Gatabazi, Minister of Public Works and Secretary-General of the Parti social démocrate (PSD) and Mr Martin Buchnyana, the President of the Coalition pour la défense de la république (CDR), were killed. Tensions rose in Kigali and the rest of Rwanda. In a report on 23 February, Dallaire wrote that information regarding weapons distribution, death squad target lists, planning of civil unrest and demonstrations abounded. "Time does seem to be running out for political discussions, as any spark on the security side could have catastrophic consequences."

The following day, Booh Booh wrote that reports had been circulating that the previous days' violence might have been ethnically motivated and directed against the Tutsi minority. He continued to say that in view of Rwanda's long and tragic history of ethnic conflict, the possibility of ethnically motivated incidents is a constant threat, especially during moments of tension, fear and confusion." UNAMIR, however, did not have conclusive or compelling evidence that the events of the past days were either ethnically motivated or provoked ethnic consequences or reactions." Equally, according to the record of a meeting with the Ambassadors of Belgium, France and the United States on 2 March, Dallaire discounted suggestions that the recent killings in Kigali might have been ethnically motivated.

On 27 February, Dallaire informed the Secretariat of his intention to redeploy two companies, a small command group and a logistics component of the Ghanaian contingent in the DMZ to Kigali to take over guard tasks there as a temporary measure until the situation in the capital stabilized. Dallaire emphasized the urgency of the operation, stating that "the present serious increase in terrorist actions combined with the serious decrease in gendarmerie and UNAMIR reaction capability could lead to an end to the peace process."

On 1 March, the Secretary-General received a special envoy of the President of Rwanda, the Minister for Transport and Communications, Mr André Ntagerura. The Secretary-General focussed entirely on the blockage of the political process, threatening to withdraw UNAMIR unless progress was achieved. The Secretary-General emphasized the competing priorities of the United Nations, and said that UNAMIR could be withdrawn within 15 days unless progress was forthcoming.

The Secretary-General presented a progress report on UNAMIR to the Security Council on 30 March (S/1994/360), which described the political stalemate, the deterioration of the security situation and the humanitarian situation in Rwanda. The Secretary-General recommended extending UNAMIR's mandate by six months. In fact, key members of the Security Council were reluctant to accept such a long mandate extension. The decision taken in resolution 909 (1994) of 5 April, which was adopted unanimously, extended the mandate by slightly less than four months, with the possibility of a review after six weeks if progress continued to be lacking. The Council made continued support for the mission, including the acceptance of a proposal by the Secretary-General to increase the number of civilian police, contingent on implementation of the Arusha Peace Agreement.

Part Ia  Part II Part III  Part IV  Part V

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 16/05/2000
©S D Stein

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