Accessed 16 May 2000


15 DECEMBER 1999

Part II

Part I  Part Ia  Part III  Part IV  Part V

III. Conclusions

1. The overriding failure
2. The inadequacy of UNAMIR's mandate

3. The implementation of the mandate

4. Confusion over the rules of engagement

5. Failure to respond to the genocide

6. Peacekeeping overburdened: inadequate resources and logistics
7. The shadow of Somalia

(Conclusions Continued, Part III)

III. Conclusions

The Independent Inquiry finds that the response of the United Nations before and during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda failed in a number of fundamental respects. The responsibility for the failings of the United Nations to prevent and stop the genocide in Rwanda lies with a number of different actors, in particular the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, the Security Council, UNAMIR and the broader membership of the United Nations. This international responsibility is one which warrants a clear apology by the Organization and by Member States concerned to the Rwandese people. As to the responsibility of those Rwandans who planned, incited and carried out the genocide against their countrymen, continued efforts must be made to bring them to justice – at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and nationally in Rwanda.

In the following chapter, the Inquiry wishes firstly to identify the overriding failure in the response of the United Nations: the lack of capacity of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in place to deal with the realities of the challenge it was faced with. Subsequently, the Inquiry will point to a number of other mistakes and failings in the response of the United Nations during the period under review.

1. The overriding failure

The overriding failure in the response of the United Nations before and during the genocide in Rwanda can be summarized as a lack of resources and a lack of will to take on the commitment which would have been necessary to prevent or to stop the genocide. UNAMIR, the main component of the United Nations presence in Rwanda, was not planned, dimensioned, deployed or instructed in a way which provided for a proactive and assertive role in dealing with a peace process in serious trouble. The mission was smaller than the original recommendations from the field suggested. It was slow in being set up, and was beset by debilitating administrative difficulties. It lacked well-trained troops and functioning materiel. The mission's mandate was based on an analysis of the peace process which proved erroneous, and which was never corrected despite the significant warning signs that the original mandate had become inadequate. By the time the genocide started, the mission was not functioning as a cohesive whole: in the real hours and days of deepest crisis, consistent testimony points to a lack of political leadership, lack of military capacity, severe problems of command and control and lack of coordination and discipline.

A force numbering 2,500 should have been able to stop or at least limit massacres of the kind which began in Rwanda after the plane crash which killed the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. However, the Inquiry has found that the fundamental capacity problems of UNAMIR led to the terrible and humiliating situation of a UN peacekeeping force almost paralysed in the face of a wave of some of the worst brutality humankind has seen in this century.

Despite the failures of UNAMIR, it should be said that United Nations personnel within UNAMIR and in the programmes and agencies also performed acts of courage in the face of the chaos that developed in Rwanda, and did save the lives of many civilians, political leaders and United Nations staff, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. In particular the peacekeepers who remained throughout the genocide, including the Force Commander and the contingents of Ghana and Tunisia, deserve recognition for their efforts to counteract some of the worst brutality humanity has seen under extremely difficult circumstances. The archives of the United Nations bear testimony to the multitude of requests, from within Rwanda, from Member States and from NGO's asking for help to save persons at risk during the genocide. Statistics are difficult to find, but it may be worth quoting an internal list from UNAMIR's own archives which states that 3,904 displaced people had been moved by UNAMIR during the fighting in Kigali between 27 May and 20 June 1994.

2. The inadequacy of UNAMIR's mandate

The decisions taken with respect to the scope of the initial mandate of UNAMIR were an underlying factor in the failure of the mission to prevent or stop the genocide in Rwanda. The planning process failed to take into account remaining serious tensions which had not been solved in the agreements between the parties. The United Nations mission was predicated on the success of the peace process. There was no fall-back, no contingency planning for the eventuality that the peace process did not succeed.

The overriding failure to create a force with the capacity, resources and mandate to deal with the growing violence and eventual genocide in Rwanda had roots in the early planning of the mission. The signing of the Arusha Accords in August 1993 was generally hailed with optimism and relief following the years of difficult negotiations between the Rwandan parties. Although tensions clearly persisted below the surface, not least within the Government delegation, the international community received the Accords as the starting point towards peace and power-sharing in Rwanda.

The over-optimistic assumption by the parties to the Arusha Agreement that an international force could be deployed in about a month meant that the United Nations was fighting the clock from the first days of preparing for UNAMIR. The initial planning process suffered from insufficient political analysis. Dallaire has acknowledged that the reconnaissance mission, which he headed, lacked the necessary political competence to make a correct in-depth analysis of the political situation and the underlying realities between the ex-belligerents of the Arusha Peace Agreement. The mission was apparently not even aware of the disturbing report published only a couple of weeks before by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Summary and Extrajudicial Executions about the situation in Rwanda. In the report, the Rapporteur supported the findings of a number of human rights NGOs earlier that year. He pointed to an extremely serious human rights situation, and discussed at some length the possibility that a genocide was being committed in Rwanda. That a report of this nature was not taken into account in the midst of planning a large United Nations peacekeeping presence in Rwanda shows a serious lack of coordination on the part of the United Nations organs concerned. Indeed, Dallaire informed the Inquiry that, had there been more depth in the political assessment and had he been aware of the report, he would have reconsidered the force level recommendations by the reconnaissance mission. The responsibility for this oversight in the planning of UNAMIR lies with the parts of the UN Secretariat concerned, in particular the Center for Human Rights and DPKO.

The reconnaissance mission had estimated that a force of 4,500 troops was required to fulfil the mandate in Rwanda. However, the Secretariat believed that it would not be possible to get Council support for that number of troops. This picture of the political commitment at the time was probably correct: the United States delegation had suggested to the United Nations that a symbolic presence of 100 be sent to Rwanda. Even France, which had been pushing for a United Nations presence in Rwanda, felt that 1,000 would suffice. Dallaire's figures were pared down even before they were presented to the Council. On 24 September, by then two weeks after the end of the original transitional period, the Secretary-General recommended a peacekeeping force numbering 2,548 military personnel.

If the mandate which the Security Council gave UNAMIR in its resolution 872 (1993) was more limited than the Secretary-General's proposal to the Council, then it was even more distant from the original broad concept agreed on by the parties in the Arusha Accords. The difference was not without importance. The interpretation of the real scope of the mandate given by the Council became a debated issue months before the genocide broke out, as will be shown below. The limitation of the mandate in relation to the KWSA was an early and public sign of the limits to the engagements which the Security Council was prepared to assume in Rwanda. The United States presented a number of amendments to the draft resolution which weakened the mandate, including in relation to the disarmament of civilians. The original wording in relation to the KWSA was also weakened with the specification that the weapons secure area be established by the parties.

The responsibility for the limitations of the original mandate given to UNAMIR lies firstly with the United Nations Secretariat, the Secretary-General and responsible officials within the DPKO for the mistaken analysis which underpinned the recommendations to the Council, and for recommending that the mission be composed of fewer troops than the field mission had considered necessary. The Member States which exercised pressure upon the Secretariat to limit the proposed number of troops also bear part of the responsibility. Not least, the Security Council itself bears the responsibility for the hesitance to support new peacekeeping operations in the aftermath of Somalia, and specifically in this instance for having decided to limit the mandate of the mission in respect to the weapons secure area.

3. The implementation of the mandate

Further serious difficulties arose with respect to the implementation of UNAMIR's mandate. UNAMIR's mandate was cautious in its conception; it was to become equally so in its application on the ground. Headquarters consistently decided to apply the mandate in a manner which would preserve a neutral role of UNAMIR under a traditional peacekeeping mandate. This was the scope of action that was perceived to have support in the Security Council. Despite facing a deteriorating security situation which would have motivated a more assertive and preventive role for the United Nations, no steps were taken to adjust the mandate to the reality of the needs in Rwanda.

The cable sent by Dallaire to Baril on 11 January regarding contacts with an informant brought into focus key aspects of how UNAMIR implemented its mandate. The Inquiry believes that serious mistakes were made in dealing with the cable.

Firstly, the information contained in the cable, and in particular the information indicating the existence of a plan to exterminate Tutsi, was so important that it should have been given the highest priority and attention and shared at the highest level. Mistakes were made both in UNAMIR and in the Secretariat in this regard.

Dallaire should have addressed the cable not only to Baril: it clearly warranted the immediate attention of – at the very least - the Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping and Political Affairs. In fact, despite being sent only to Baril, the cable was then shared by him with the rest of the leadership of DPKO. Annan's and Riza's instructions to UNAMIR – and the caution which dominates those instructions - show that they did realize that the cable contained very significant information. However, they did not brief the Secretary-General about it. And the Security Council – which a week before had conditioned its continued support for UNAMIR on progress in the peace process - was not informed. Informing the three embassies in Kigali was not enough in this regard: the seriousness of the threats in the cable justified informing the Council as a whole. At the very least the Security Council should have been informed when UNAMIR reported in early February that the President had done nothing to act on the information and that the situation on the ground was deteriorating. The veiled retroactive reference to the Dallaire cable which is contained in the report by the Secretary-General to the Council on 31 May 1994 is a case of too little, and certainly far too late.

Secondly, it is incomprehensible to the Inquiry that not more was done to follow-up on the information provided by the informant. Having decided to share the information with President Habyarimana with the aim of getting him to act on it, constant pressure should have been put on the President to see to it that he took the action he had promised.

This applies to all three main aspects of the cable. Information received by a United Nations mission that plans are being made to exterminate any group of people requires an immediate and determined response, in this case certainly action more forceful than the meetings which were held with President Habyarimana and with the leadership of the MRND by Booh Booh and Dallaire.

The information on the existence of arms caches was also serious. While the quantity of arms in that particular cache, which Dallaire had stated contained at least 135 weapons, was not of a magnitude or a nature to determine the outcome of the genocide later that year, the instructions from New York certainly gave the signal to the Interahamwe and other extremists that UNAMIR was not going to take assertive action to deal with such caches.

Whether the decision to raid the arms cache was within the mandate of the mission or not is of key importance. Views diverge. While Dallaire maintained that it was, Baril, Annan, Riza and Annabi firmly believed that the raid would not be within the mandate. The key is the interpretation of the words "weapons secure area established by the parties" in the mandate. It should be recalled in this context that the Security Council had deliberately weakened the role of UNAMIR in relation to the KWSA as compared with the role foreseen by the Arusha Agreement. In this instance, Headquarters advocated a cautious interpretation of the mandate which the Security Council had adopted on the KWSA issue. The instruction cables from the Secretariat show concern about the possibility that the information might be a trap, and a concern for the safety of the mission: "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. Given the context, the Inquiry does not see reason to criticize the decision taken by the Secretariat on the mandate issue. As will be seen below, however, the Inquiry believes serious mistakes were made in the follow-up to the cable.

The concern expressed by the leadership of UNAMIR throughout January and February about the consequences of the arms distribution is very clear. Given that Headquarters had determined that raiding the arms caches and conducting deterrent operations was not within the scope of the mandate, the Inquiry feels that this issue should have been raised with the Security Council as a fundamental weakness in the mandate of the mission, which the Council should consider rectifying because of the dire risks involved. The Inquiry has no evidence that the issue was raised in this way with the Council.

The premise of the démarche to the President was that it should be assumed that he was unaware of the activities mentioned by the informant. However, it is clear from the archives that Dallaire had raised the issue of the distribution of arms to the President's supporters at a meeting with the President only a week earlier, stating that this distribution was unacceptable as it was contrary to the Arusha Agreement. The President then said that he was unaware of this, but would instruct his supporters to desist if the information was correct.

Lastly, the threat against the Belgian contingent should have been followed up more clearly, not only in relation to the security of that particular contingent, but equally as part of the strategic discussions within the Secretariat and with the Security Council on the role of UNAMIR in Rwanda. The United Nations knew that extremists on one side hoped to achieve the withdrawal of the mission. Therefore, the strategy of the United Nations to use the threat of withdrawing UNAMIR as leverage in relation to the President to achieve progress in the peace process could actually have been one which motivated extremist obstructions rather than prevented them.

Questions have been raised as to the wisdom of inviting Belgium, a former colonial power, to participate in UNAMIR. The threats against the Belgian contingent described in the Dallaire cable as well as on the radio and through other forms of propaganda, show the difficulties inherent in that participation. In the case of UNAMIR it must be said, however, that Belgium was providing well-equipped troops which were not being offered by others, and that both parties had accepted that they participate in the mission.

4. Confusion over the rules of engagement

The Force Commander submitted a draft set of Rules of Engagement for UNAMIR to Headquarters on 23 November 1993, seeking Headquarters' approval. Headquarters never responded to that request. The Inquiry was told by General Baril that the Rules were considered guidelines. While General Baril stated that he considered the draft a good one, he also said that at the time, Headquarters did not have a procedure in place for the formal approval of draft Rules of Engagement. To the Force Commander, in the absence of a formal reply, the Rules of Engagement must be considered approved and in effect, a conclusion which the Inquiry believes was reasonable. At the same time, another senior member of the UNAMIR command told the Inquiry that the Rules of Engagement did not conform to reality and he ignored them.

The same draft was sent again to Headquarters after the genocide began, under the description "the different permutations of the rules of engagement". Headquarters did not object to para. 17 concerning crimes against humanity. This paragraph was, however, removed from subsequent versions of the rules of engagement applicable to UNAMIR II. In actual fact, however, UNAMIR I did not put this particular element of the rules of engagement into effect when the situation on the ground fit the description in para. 17. Other problems, such as lack of resources and problems related to command and control, have been cited by the Force Commander and others to explain why UNAMIR did not stop the massacres. It is disturbing, however, that there was such a lack of clarity in the communications between UNAMIR and Headquarters regarding which rules were in force.

5. Failure to respond to the genocide

a. After the Presidential plane was shot down, the situation in Kigali quickly descended into chaos. Roadblocks were set up, massacres of Tutsi and opposition and moderate politicians began. Soon, the RPF broke out of its complex, and were strengthened by forces from outside the capital. In addition to the killings of civilians, fighting broke out between the Presidential Guards and the RPF. UNAMIR was faced with hundreds of calls for help, from politicians, staff members and others. Thousands of people sought refuge at sites where UNAMIR was present, including about 5,000 people who had gathered at the field hospital already by 8 April.

When the genocide began, the weaknesses of UNAMIR's mandate became devastatingly clear. The natural question is why a force numbering 2,500 could not stop the actions of the militia and RGF soldiers who began setting up roadblocks and killing polititians and Tutsi in the early hours after the crash. Could UNAMIR not have deterred, by its presence and a show of determination, the terrible sequence of violence that followed?

The correspondence between UNAMIR and Headquarters during the hours and days after the plane crash shows a force in disarray, with little intelligence about the true nature of what is happening and what political and military forces are at play, with no clear direction and with problems even communicating among its own contingents. The mission was under rules of engagement not to use force except in self defence. It had taken upon itself to protect politicians, but then in certain cases did not do so in the face of threats by the militia. Civilians were drawn to UNAMIR posts but the mission proved incapable of sustaining protection of them. The Force Commander found quite early on that he did not have the practical command of all his troops: for all practical purposes the Belgian peacekeepers came under the command of their national evacuation troops, and within days, the Bangladeshi contingent was no longer responding to orders from UNAMIR Headquarters. In short, the correspondence between Kigali and Headquarters, and the information provided to the Security Council in the early days of the genocide, show an operation prevented from performing its political mandate related to the Arusha agreement, incapable of protecting the civilian population or civilian United Nations staff and at risk itself. Furthermore, UNAMIR was sidelined in relation to the national evacuation operations conducted by France, Belgium, the United States and Italy. The responsibility for this situation must be shared between the leadership of UNAMIR, the Secretariat and troop contributing countries.

United Nations archives show that the DPKO very quickly began to discuss the possibility of a withdrawal of UNAMIR as one option which might become necessary. Already on 9 April, Annan (Riza) stated in a cable to Booh Booh and Dallaire that it was impossible for UNAMIR to implement its mandate in the prevailing circumstances. They also indicated that if events moved in a negative direction, it might be necessary to conclude that UNAMIR must withdraw. The instinctive reaction within the Secretariat seems to have been to question the feasibility of an effective United Nations response, rather than actively investigating the possibility of strengthening the operation to deal with the new challenges on the ground.

Soon, however, the unilateral decision by Belgium to withdraw its troops in the wake of the tragic killing of the ten Belgian peacekeepers brought the United Nations mission near the brink of disintegration. The decision by the Belgian Government to withdraw was followed by rapid indications from Bangladesh that it might do the same. In a letter to the President of the Security Council dated 21 April, the Bangladeshi Permanent Representative raised a number of security concerns for which United Nations guarantees were sought. There was therefore a significant risk that the peacekeeping force would disintegrate.

The problems UNAMIR was faced with regarding command and control in the early days of the genocide included the unauthorized evacuation by members of the civilian police component, which were under UNAMIR command, and the embarrassing instance where Bangladeshi peacekeeping troops refused to allow colleagues from the Belgian contingent inside the Amahoro stadium complex where they were seeking refuge.

The Inquiry believes that it is essential to preserve the unity of United Nations command and control, and that troop contributing countries, despite the domestic political pressures which may argue the reverse, should refrain from unilateral withdrawal to the detriment and even risk of ongoing peacekeeping operations.

The loss of ten peacekeepers is a terrible blow to any troop contributing country. However, even if the Belgian Government felt that the brutal murder of its para-commandos and the anti-Belgian rhetoric in Rwanda at the time made a continued presence of its own contingent impossible, the Inquiry finds the campaign to secure the complete withdrawal of UNAMIR difficult to understand. The analysis of the situation in Rwanda, which was presented as an underlying argument for withdrawal, painted a picture of ongoing massacres, in addition to the fighting between the parties. However, the focus seems to have been solely on withdrawal rather than on the possibilities for the United Nations to act, with or without Belgium.

Discussions within the Security Council during these first weeks of the genocide show a body divided between those, such as the United States, who were sympathetic to the Belgian campaign to withdraw the mission, and others, with the NAM Caucus in the forefront, advocating a strengthening of UNAMIR. In presenting his three options to the Security Council in a report dated 20 April (S/1994/470), the Secretary-General did state that he did not favour the option of withdrawal. Although the Secretary-General has argued that he made his preference for strengthening UNAMIR clear through a statement by his spokesman to the press, the Inquiry believes that the Secretary-General could have done more to argue the case for reinforcement in the Council.

The decision by the Security Council on 21 April to reduce UNAMIR to a minimal force in the face of the killings which were by then known to all, rather than to make every effort to muster the political will to try and stop the killing has led to widespread bitterness in Rwanda. It is a decision which the Inquiry finds difficult to justify. The Security Council bears a responsibilty for its lack of political will to do more to stop the killing.

The Secretary-General's letter of 29 April, asking the Security Council to reconsider its decision to reduce the mandate and strength of the mission, was a welcome shift in focus towards the need for the United Nations to act to stop the killing. The need to do so was no longer presented as subordinate to the two-party cease-fire negotiations. However, the response of the Security Council took weeks to agree on, a costly delay in the middle of the genocide. Reporting from the Council's consultations in early May show a clear reluctance to contemplate a Chapter VII-style operation. Gharekhan's report to the Secretary-General from consultations on 3 May stated that "There is no support from any delegation for a forceful or enforcement action. They all emphasized that whatever action is contemplated could be implemented only if both the Rwandese parties agree to it and promise their cooperation."

By 12 May, the Council was divided on key issues. The members were discussing a number of issues, including whether an enlarged mission should be given a Chapter VII mandate, on which the Council was split, and the resources required, with both the United States and the United Kingdom requesting more detailed information from the Secretariat on the concept of operations. As has been shown above, attempts were made by non-permanent members of the Council to push for stronger action. The opposition to these efforts proved too strong, however. The delay in decision-making by the Security Council was a distressing show of lack of unity in a situation where rapid action was necessary. Almost three weeks after the Secretary-General's letter, the Council finally authorized UNAMIR II on 17 May.

b. The lack of will to act in response to the crisis in Rwanda becomes all the more deplorable in the light of the reluctance by key members of the International Community to acknowledge that the mass murder being pursued in front of global media was a genocide. The fact that what was occurring in Rwanda was a genocide brought with it a key international obligation to act in order to stop the killing. The parties to the 1948 Convention took upon themselves a responsibility to prevent and punish the crime of genocide. This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. Although the main action required of the parties to the Convention is to enact national legislation to provide for jurisdiction against genocide, the Convention also explicitly opens the opportunity of bringing a situation to the Security Council. Arguably, in this context, the members of the Security Council have a particular responsibility, morally if not explicitly under the Convention, to react against a situation of genocide.

However, as the mass killings were being conducted in Rwanda in April and May 1994, and although television was broadcasting pictures of bloated corpses floating down the river from Rwanda, there was a reluctance among key States to use the term genocide to describe what was happening. The Secretary-General did so in an interview for US television on 4 May 1994, one of the earliest in the international community to do so. The Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on the special mission by Riza and Baril on 30 May 1994 formally included the word genocide. However, when certain members of the Council proposed that the resolution on UNAMIR II include such a determination, others refused.

The delay in identifying the events in Rwanda as a genocide was a failure by the Security Council. The reluctance by some States to use the term genocide was motivated by a lack of will to act, which is deplorable. If there is ever to be effective international action against genocide, States must be prepared to identify situations as such, and to assume the responsibility to act that accompanies that definition. The Inquiry hopes that the stronger recognition given today to the need to ensure human security and to guarantee the safety of individual human beings from human rights violations, will also mean that States will not shy away from identifying events as genocide, and responding to them with action.

It is important to add the following: the imperative for international action is not limited to cases of genocide. The United Nations and its member states must also be prepared to mobilise political will to act in the face of gross violations of human rights which have not reached the ultimate level of a genocide. Particular emphasis must be placed on the need for preventive action: the will to act needs to be mobilised before a situation escalates to a genocide.

To an extent the analysis of the ethnic element in the violence may have been affected by the fact that the RPF initially, before the plane crash, preferred to view the conflict with the Government as a political one and wished to avoid being considered an "ethnic" party. This does not, however, reduce the serious nature of the information cited above. Given the conclusions of the human rights reports of 1993, the risk of a genocide could not be disregarded in the deteriorating security situation of 1994. It should also be said that soon after the massacres started, the RPF, in a statement dated 13 April, did identify what was happening as a genocide.

Members of the Interim Government have since been indicted at the ICTR for their roles in the Rwandan genocide. One question that arises from the Inquiry's study of the archives of the UN is whether the accountability of these persons for the ongoing massacres was made sufficiently clear to them at the time. To an extent, this brings into focus a recurrent dilemma in crisis management: whether to negotiate with those in control irrespective of the acts they may have committed. In the view of the Inquiry, the United Nations had an obligation to make absolutely clear to the members of the so-called Interim Government the individual responsibility which accompanies the commission of genocide and war crimes.

6. Peacekeeping overburdened: inadequate resources and logistics

Rwanda was to prove a turning point in United Nations peacekeeping, and came to symbolize a lack of will to commit to peacekeeping, and above all, to take risks in the field. UNAMIR came about following a dramatic expansion of the number of peacekeeping troops in the field after the end of the Cold War. However, by the second half of 1993, the enthusiasm for United Nations peacekeeping of previous years was on the wane among key member states, the capacity of the Secretariat, in particular the DPKO, to administer the approximately 70,000 peacekeepers wearing blue berets was overstretched, and several existing operations were facing severe difficulties.

In a report to the Security Council dated 14 March 1994 entitled "Improving the capacity of the United Nations for peacekeeping", the Secretary-General outlined the unprecedented growth of United Nations peacekeeping during the preceding five years. At the same time, however, he also mentioned that international enthusiasm for peacekeeping was diminishing. He pointed out the difficult financial situation the United Nations was facing, with over $1 billion in outstanding assessments to peacekeeping operations.

UNAMIR's poor quality and lack of capacity had a key effect on the way the mission dealt with the unfolding crisis after 6 April. However, the lack of resources and logistics had been a serious problem for UNAMIR from its inception, and continued to be so during the mission's later stages. It is significant that even the resolution establishing UNAMIR already included an invitation to the Secretary-General to consider ways of reducing the total maximum strength of UNAMIR. The Secretary-General was asked to seek economies in planning and executing the phased deployment, and to report regularly on what had been achieved in this regard. Even the Belgian contingent, which was the strongest in UNAMIR, faced problems with recycled materiel and lack of arms. The Bangladeshi contingent arrived without even the most basic supplies. Troops lacked necessary training in a number of respects.

In his report to the Security Council dated 30 December 1993, the Secretary-General argued against a reduction of resource levels, writing that such a reduction would negatively affect the performance and credibility of UNAMIR in the discharge of its mandate. Although the Council did approve the deployment of the second battalion to the DMZ in its resolution 893 (1994) of 6 January 1994, again the Secretary-General was requested to monitor the size and cost of the mission to seek economies. The same request was reiterated in the Council's last resolution on Rwanda before the genocide, resolution 909 (1994) of 5 April 1994.

The logistical problems facing UNAMIR run like a constant thread throughout the correspondence between the Force Commander and Headquarters. Contingents arrived without normal materiel, which instead had to be brought in from the United Nations operations in Somalia and Cambodia. UNAMIR only received 8 APCs out of 22 requested, of which only five were road-worthy. The mission had a medical unit, but complaints were raised against the quality of the care.

In the weeks before the genocide, UNAMIR was still facing serious logistical problems. When the Secretary-General was to present his report to the Council in late March, the draft sent to Headquarters by Booh Booh highlighted both logistical difficulties and the need for more military observers. The Inquiry notes in this context that the final version of the resport did not include the request from the field for an increase in the number of military observers by 48 which was contained in the original draft from Kigali.

The weaknesses of UNAMIR have been outlined above in relation to the mandate of the mission. The dire logistical situation facing the mission once the genocide started was summarized in a cable from Booh Booh and Dallaire to Annan and Goulding dated 8 April. Even as early as this, the cable described developments as a "very well planned, organized, deliberate and conducted campaign of terror initiated principally by the Presidential Guard". The cable went on to describe "aggressive actions" taken against opposition leaders, against the RPF, the massacre of Tutsi, against the general civilian population as well as direct and indirect fire against UNAMIR. The RPF had by then broken out of their compound, and UNAMIR describes full hostilities between the Presidential Guards and RPF. The cable asked the question "Is the mandate of UNAMIR still valid?"

The infantry in Kigali is described as being separated into camps isolated by fighting , and separated from their logistical support. "The mission is desperately short of life and operational sustaining support. The reserves required by the UN for this mission were either not brought by troop contributing countries or have not been provided to this mission." Most units are described as having between 1 - 2 days of drinking water, between 0 to 2 days of rations, and about a 2 – 3 day reserve of fuel. Furthermore, the lack of ammunition and small arms was described as the largest single deficiency. In a summarizing paragraph, UNAMIR wrote that "UNAMIR was designed, established and developed logistically as a peacekeeping force. It therefore does not have the reserves of critical items for a long conflict scenario."

Finally, a more determined effort should have been made to provide the United Nations with its own radio facility in Rwanda. Moreover, the political will and financial means should have been mustered to jam the notorious inciting radio station Radio Mille Collines. In the future, however, counteracting hate radio may not be enough. Attention must also be paid to the distribution of genocidal messages of hate over the internet.

The responsibility for the logistical problems faced by UNAMIR lies both with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in particular its Field Administration and Logistics Division (FALD), and with individual troop contributors. FALD should not have allowed UNAMIR to have the dire lack of resources described above. By April, six months after the establishment of the mission, these fundamental logistics problems should have been dealt with. However, the Inquiry also finds that troop contributors to UNAMIR did not provide their contingents with basic weaponry and other materiel for which they were responsible. The constant pressure by the Security Council on UNAMIR to save money and cut resources also created problems in a situation where the mission was too weak to start with.

7. The shadow of Somalia

It has often been said that UNAMIR was an operation which was created in the shadow of Somalia. In particular the deaths of the Pakistani and US peacekeepers in Somalia in 1993 had a deep effect on the attitude towards the conduct of peacekeeping operations. For instance, the UN commission of inquiry set up to study these tragic deaths in Somalia, whose report came out just as preparations were being made to strengthen UNAMIR in the wake of the genocide, concluded that "the UN should refrain from undertaking further peace enforcement actions within the internal conflicts of States" (S/1994/653)

For the Government of the United States the events in Mogadishu were a watershed in its policy towards UN peacekeeping. By May 1994, when the genocide in Rwanda began, President Clinton had enacted PDD25, a directive which placed strict conditions on US support for United Nations peacekeeping. The killings of the peacekeepers in Somalia also had a restrictive effect on the UN Secretariat, in particular with regard to the risks that could be assumed during peacekeeping operations and in respect to the interpretation of mandates. This legacy of Somalia was of particular importance to the conduct of UNAMIR.

Part I  Part Ia  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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