Security Council authorizes UNOMUR, Arusha peace talks, UNAMIR recommended, Humanitarian assistance

UNAMIR established, UNOMUR activities in the border area, Deployment and delay, Extension of UNAMIR mandate

APRIL 1994-JUNE 1994
Mass murder and civil war, Effect on UNAMIR, The humanitarian response, Secretary-General seeks further action, Adjustment of tasks, Arms embargo and expansion of mandate, Special mission visits Rwanda, UNAMIR's mandate extended, Decision to close UNOMUR

Operation Turquoise, RPF establishes control, Signs of stabilization, Conclusion of UNOMUR

Operation Turquoise, RPF establishes control, Signs of stabilization, Conclusion of UNOMUR

OCTOBER 1994-MAY 1995
UNAMIR fully deployed, Security in the camps, Displaced persons camps, Commission of Experts, International Tribunal, Security Council mission, The Kibeho tragedy, Humanitarian aspects, Security measures in the refugee camps, HRFOR, UNAMIR activities

New situation, Arms embargo lifted, August 1995 refugee crisis, Political situation in Rwanda UNAMIR downsized, Other developments, Security Council welcomes progress, Regional conference




Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is located in central Africa, bordered on the north by Uganda, to the northwest and west by Zaire, to the south by Burundi and to the east by Tanzania. The country was a German colony from 1884 to 1916 and was then placed by the League of Nations, and subsequently by the United Nations, under Belgian trusteeship from 1918 to 1962. Rwanda became independent in 1962.

Its population of over 7 million was divided into three ethnic groups, the Hutu (about 85 per cent), the Tutsi (about 14 per cent) and the Twa (about 1 per cent). The three groups speak the same language and share the same culture. Transition from the Hutu group to the Tutsi group, and vice versa, was possible. The Belgian colonial authorities, however, required that identity cards specify ethnic group. From then on, membership of an ethnic group was strictly defined for administrative purposes, and social categories became increasingly rigid. The Tutsi dominated the country's political and economic life until 1959, when the Hutu "social revolution" put an end to the monarchy. With the ensuing ethnic violence, a large number of Tutsi left Rwanda and sought refuge in neighbouring countries, especially in Uganda, although they repeatedly attempted to stage an armed comeback. There were about 10 such attempts until 1967, each giving rise to renewed ethnic violence and retaliation.

In 1973, when ethnic unrest and violence were at their height, Major-General Juvénal Habyarimana took power in a military coup d'état. He founded the second Republic, dominated by a single party, the National Revolutionary Movement for Democracy and Development. Previous practices of ethnic discrimination were institutionalized during this period through a policy known as "establishing ethnic and regional balance". Most of the country's political and social life became subject to quotas established according to "ethnic proportions", which determined the posts and resources allocated to the various ethnic groups (10 per cent for the Tutsi). As from 1973, regional rivalries were added to this ethnic antagonism (President Habyarimana was from the north).

A few months after the announcement by the President that the country would be opened to multi-party rule and democratization, an attack was launched across the Rwanda-Uganda border in October 1990 by the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), an armed force consisting mainly of Tutsi refugees living in Uganda. The result of this attack, and of a policy of deliberately targeted government propaganda, was that all Tutsi inside the country were collectively labelled as accomplices of RPF. In addition, some members of the opposition parties, though Hutu themselves, were also accused of betraying their country because of their opposition to the Government in power and their attempts to enter into a dialogue with RPF.


A number of ceasefire agreements followed the outbreak of fighting in 1990, including one negotiated at Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, on 22 July 1992, which arranged for the presence in Rwanda of a 50-member Neutral Military Observer Group (NMOG I) furnished by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Hostilities resumed in the northern part of the country in early February 1993, interrupting comprehensive negotiations, supported by OAU and facilitated by Tanzania, between the Government of Rwanda and RPF.

Meanwhile, Rwanda continued to accuse Uganda of supporting RPF; Uganda denied the allegations. On 22 February 1993, both countries asked the United Nations to help establish the facts. In separate letters to the President of the United Nations Security Council, the two countries called for the deployment of United Nations military observers along their 150-kilometre common border in order to prevent the military use of the area, especially the transportation of military supplies.

Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali decided to send a goodwill mission to Rwanda and Uganda from 4 to 18 March 1993. Meanwhile, efforts by OAU and Tanzania led to a meeting between the Government of Rwanda and RPF from 5 to 7 March in Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. In a joint communiqué, the Government of Rwanda and RPF agreed to reinstate the ceasefire on 9 March and to resume peace talks in Arusha. On 12 March 1993, the Security Council, by its resolution 812 (1993), called on the Government of Rwanda and RPF to respect the renewed ceasefire and requested the Secretary-General to examine the requests of Rwanda and Uganda for the deployment of observers.

A technical mission dispatched by the Secretary-General to the border area visited Uganda from 2 to 5 April and Rwanda on 6 April. The mission reported that it would be possible to deploy United Nations military observers to monitor the border between Uganda and Rwanda and verify that no military assistance was being provided across it. Because RPF control of the border area was extensive, the military observers had to be deployed on the Ugandan side of the border.

Security Council authorizes UNOMUR

On 22 June 1993, the Security Council, by its resolution 846 (1993), authorized the establishment of the United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR) on the Uganda side of the common border, for an initial period of six months, subject to review every six months. The Council decided that the verification would focus primarily on transit or transport, by roads or tracks which could accommodate vehicles, of lethal weapons and ammunition across the border, as well as any other material which could be of military use.

The Council welcomed the Secretary-General's decision to support the peacekeeping efforts of OAU by putting two military experts at its disposal to help expedite the deployment of OAU's expanded NMOG to Rwanda. It also urged the Government of Rwanda and RPF to conclude quickly a comprehensive peace agreement, and requested the Secretary-General to report on the contribution the United Nations could make to assist OAU in implementing this agreement and to begin contingency planning in the event that the Council decided that such a contribution was needed. On 29 June 1993, the Secretary-General informed the Council of his intention to appoint Brigadier-General Romeo A. Dallaire (Canada) as Chief Military Observer (CMO) of UNOMUR.

As requested by resolution 846 (1993), the United Nations undertook consultations with the Government of Uganda with a view to concluding a status of mission agreement for UNOMUR. The agreement was finalized and entered into force on 16 August 1993. This opened the way to deployment of an advance party which arrived in the mission area on 18 August. UNOMUR established its headquarters in Kabale, Uganda, about 20 kilometres north of the border with Rwanda. By the end of September, the Mission had reached its authorized strength of 81 military observers and was fully operational. Observers were provided by the following countries: Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Hungary, Netherlands, Senegal, Slovak Republic and Zimbabwe.

Arusha peace talks

Meanwhile, the Arusha talks reconvened on 16 March 1993. The United Nations Secretary-General was represented by Mr. Macaire Pédanou, head of the United Nations goodwill mission that visited Rwanda earlier that month. On 11 June, the two parties called5 on the United Nations to send a reconnaissance mission to Rwanda to prepare for the quick deployment of a neutral international force as soon as the peace agreement was signed, and welcomed the OAU suggestion that the United Nations assume responsibility for the force. The force would assist in the maintenance of public security and in the delivery of humanitarian aid and in searches for weapons caches, neutralization of armed bands, de-mining, disarmament of civilians and the cessation of hostilities. The parties also requested that the international force oversee the demobilization of existing armed forces and of all aspects of the formation of the new National Army and National Gendarmerie.

The talks in Arusha were finally concluded on 4 August 1993. The comprehensive peace agreement called for a democratically elected government and provided for the establishment of a broad-based transitional Government until the elections, in addition to repatriation of refugees and integration of the armed forces of the two sides. Both sides asked the United Nations to assist in the implementation of the agreement. In early August 1993, NMOG I was replaced by an expanded NMOG II force, composed of some 130 personnel to operate as an interim measure pending the deployment of the neutral international force.

UNAMIR recommended

A United Nations reconnaissance mission visited Rwanda from 19 to 31 August 1993. Its senior officials also consulted with the Government of Tanzania and the Secretary-General of OAU. On the basis of the mission's findings, the Secretary-General recommended to the Security Council the establishment of a United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), with the mandate of "contributing to the establishment and maintenance of a climate conducive to the secure installation and subsequent operation of the transitional Government".

The principal functions of UNAMIR would be to assist in ensuring the security of the capital city of Kigali; monitor the ceasefire agreement, including establishment of an expanded demilitarized zone (DMZ) and demobilization procedures; monitor the security situation during the final period of the transitional Government's mandate leading up to elections; and assist with mine-clearance. The Mission would also investigate alleged non-compliance with any provisions of the peace agreement and provide security for the repatriation of Rwandese refugees and displaced persons. In addition, it would assist in the coordination of humanitarian assistance activities in conjunction with relief operations.

The Secretary-General proposed that the military observers of UNOMUR come under the command of the new Mission, while maintaining their separate monitoring tasks on the Uganda-Rwanda border. UNAMIR would also incorporate elements of NMOG II which was mandated by OAU to supervise the ceasefire until 31 October 1993.

The operation would be conducted in four phases. The first phase would begin on the day the Security Council established UNAMIR and would end on the day the transitional Government was installed, estimated in late 1993. UNAMIR's objective would be to establish conditions for the secure installation of such a Government, and its strength, by the end of phase one, would total 1,428 military personnel. During phase two, expected to last 90 days or until the process of disengagement, demobilization and integration of the Armed Forces and Gendarmerie began, the build-up of the Mission would continue to a total of 2,548 military personnel. UNAMIR would continue to monitor the DMZ, to assist in providing security in Kigali and in the demarcation of the assembly zones, and to ensure that all preparations for disengagement, demobilization and integration were in place.

During phase three, which would last about 9 months, the Mission would establish, supervise and monitor a new DMZ and continue to provide security in Kigali. The disengagement, demobilization and integration of the Forces and the Gendarmerie would be completed in this stage, and the Mission would reduce its staff to approximately 1,240 personnel. Phase four, which would last about four months, would see a further reduction of the Mission's strength to the minimum level of approximately 930 military personnel. UNAMIR would assist in ensuring the secure atmosphere required in the final stages of the transitional period leading up to the elections.

In order to verify that law and order were maintained effectively and impartially, the Secretary-General proposed to deploy a small United Nations civilian police unit in Kigali and the nine prefecture capitals of Rwanda and in specific police installations.

Humanitarian assistance

In early 1993, there had been a threefold increase in the number of displaced persons. Local capacity was overwhelmed. As the result of a request by the President of Rwanda to the Secretary-General, the United Nations launched an inter- agency appeal on 15 April 1993 for international assistance to Rwanda to cover the period from April to December 1993, amounting to $78 million to meet the needs of over 900,000 war-displaced people, or approximately 13 per cent of the nation's population.

Most of the displaced people were living in and around 30 camps, where serious malnutrition and disease were prevalent. The situation was exacerbated by Rwanda's already precarious economic condition, overpopulation and rapidly declining agricultural production. An inter-agency mission was fielded between 18 and 25 March 1993 to prepare a consolidated appeal focusing on food, nutrition, health, water and sanitation, shelter and household items and education. By late 1993, contributions in cash and in kind amounting to some $33 million had been made available to the United Nations agencies carrying out humanitarian activities in Rwanda. With the signing of the Arusha Peace Agreement, it was estimated that some 600,000 individuals returned home, thus easing the emergency situation. The emphasis of the humanitarian assistance efforts then shifted to meeting the needs of the displaced returning home. At the same time, some 300,000 people who remained displaced continued to rely on emergency assistance in the camps.


UNAMIR established

UNAMIR was established on 5 October by Security Council resolution 872 (1993) for an initial period of six months with the proviso that it would be extended beyond the initial 90 days only upon a review by the Council. UNAMIR's mandate was to end following national elections and the installation of a new government in Rwanda, events scheduled to occur by October 1995, but no later than December 1995. The Council then authorized the Secretary-General to deploy a first contingent to Kigali, which would permit the establishment of the transitional institutions and implementation of the other relevant provisions of the Peace Agreement.

The Council also urged the parties to implement the Arusha Agreement in good faith and called upon Member States, United Nations specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to provide and intensify their economic, financial and humanitarian assistance. It welcomed the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative who would lead UNAMIR in the field and exercise authority over all its elements.

On 18 October 1993, the Secretary-General informed the Council that he would appoint Brigadier-General Dallaire, then CMO of UNOMUR, as UNAMIR Force Commander. General Dallaire arrived in Kigali on 22 October 1993, followed by an advance party of 21 military personnel on 27 October. A status of forces agreement was signed by the Government on 5 November 1993, and a copy was forwarded to RPF, which confirmed its readiness to cooperate in its implementation. On 12 November, the Secretary-General informed the Council that he had decided to appoint as his Special Representative for Rwanda Mr. Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, former Minister for External Relations of Cameroon. Mr. Booh-Booh arrived in Kigali on 23 November 1993.

UNOMUR activities in the border area

Meanwhile, UNOMUR established observation posts at two major crossing sites and three secondary sites on the Ugandan side of the border. The mission monitored the border area through mobile patrols enhanced by airborne coverage. It also facilitated the transit of vehicles transporting food and medical supplies to Rwanda. The Secretary-General noted on 15 December 1993 that UNOMUR was" a factor of stability in the area and that it was playing a useful role as a confidence-building mechanism". Upon his recommendation, the Security Council, by its resolution 891 (1993) of 20 December 1993, extended UNOMUR's mandate by six months. The Council expressed its appreciation to the Government of Uganda for its cooperation and support for UNOMUR and also underlined the importance of a cooperative attitude on the part of the civilian and military authorities in the mission area.

Deployment and delay

UNAMIR's demilitarized zone sector headquarters was established upon the arrival of the advance party and became operational on 1 November 1993, when the NMOG II elements were absorbed into UNAMIR. Deployment of the UNAMIR battalion in Kigali, composed of contingents from Belgium and Bangladesh, was completed in the first part of December 1993, and the Kigali weapons-secure area was established on 24 December.

At a meeting initiated by the Special Representative, the Government and RPF issued a joint declaration on 10 December 1993 reaffirming their commitment to the provisions of the Arusha Peace Agreement. They agreed to set up a broad-based transitional Government and the Transitional National Assembly before 31 December 1993. Most of the projected tasks of phase one of the implementation plan were accomplished by 30 December 1993. Despite signs of intransigence, the parties showed good will and cooperation with each other and with the United Nations. The Secretary-General therefore recommended to the Council that UNAMIR continue to implement its mandate. In this regard, he intended to proceed with the implementation plan, including the early deployment of the second battalion in the DMZ. The Security Council endorsed these proposals by its resolution 893 (1994) of 6 January 1994.

With the arrival of the UNAMIR Police Commissioner, Colonel Manfred Bliem (Austria), on 26 December 1993 and of the police units in January and February 1994, the UNAMIR civilian police contingent (CIVPOL) set up its headquarters in Kigali and reached its authorized strength of 60 civilian police monitors. In carrying out its mandate, which was to assist in maintaining public security through the monitoring and verification of the activities of the Gendarmerie and the Communal Police, CIVPOL worked closely with both bodies in Kigali.

The Arusha Peace Agreement provided that the incumbent head of State would remain in office until the elections. Accordingly, Major-General Juvénal Habyarimana was sworn in as President of Rwanda on 5 January 1994. However, the transitional Government and the Transitional National Assembly were not installed because the parties could not agree on several issues, including the lists of members of those bodies. This failure delayed the completion of phase one and contributed to a deterioration of the security situation. January and February 1994 saw increasingly violent demonstrations, roadblocks, assassination of political leaders and assaults on and murders of civilians. In late February, two prominent political leaders were assassinated and a UNAMIR-escorted RPF convoy was ambushed. The Government then imposed a curfew in Kigali and in a number of other cities. UNAMIR provided increased support to the National Gendarmerie, and the security situation began to stabilize.

Notwithstanding the increased tensions and insecurity, the ceasefire generally held. UNAMIR forces, whose operational capacity was enhanced with the deployment of additional personnel and equipment, continued to play a stabilizing role. UNAMIR forces earmarked for phase two were in place and ready to begin operations on short notice. Preparations for phase three were also under way.

Extension of UNAMIR mandate

The Secretary-General told the Security Council on 30 March 1994 that, in spite of increasing tensions, he was encouraged that the parties had maintained the process of dialogue. He believed that UNAMIR should continue to support that dialogue. Therefore, he recommended that the Council extend the mandate of UNAMIR for a period of six months, during which time he would keep the Council informed of the pace of progress. However, if the transitional institutions were not installed within two months and sufficient progress had not been achieved, the Council should then review the situation, including the role of the United Nations.

On April 5, 1994, the Security Council, by its resolution 909 (1994), decided to extend the mandate of UNAMIR until 29 July 1994. At the same time, it expressed its deep concern at the delay in the establishment of the transitional institutions and at the deterioration in security. It noted that, lacking progress, it would review the situation within six weeks.

APRIL 1994-JUNE 1994

Mass murder and civil war

On 6 April 1994, an aircraft carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda and President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi crashed at Kigali airport, killing all those on board. The two Presidents had been attending a regional meeting at Dar es Salaam. It was not possible to carry out a full investigation of the causes of the crash, which remain unknown.

The crash was followed over the next three months by a series of events whose speed and ferocity taxed to the utmost the attempts of the international community to respond. The horror that engulfed Rwanda during this period was threefold: mass murders throughout the country amounting to genocide; a brief but violent civil war that swept government forces out of the country; and refugee flows that created a humanitarian and ecological crisis of unprecedented dimensions.

The genocide in Rwanda claimed between 500,000 and one million victims, primarily members of the Tutsi minority and "moderate" Hutus, including the intelligentsia, suspected of sympathizing with the Tutsi. The killers included members of the Rwandese government forces, but in the main were drawn from the Presidential Guard and the youth militias, primarily the interahamwe, recruited and formed by the late President's party.

Beginning in Kigali and then throughout the country, civilian men, women and children were shot, blown up by rockets or grenades, hacked to death by machete or buried or burned alive. Many were attacked in the churches in which they had sought refuge. Tens of thousands of bodies were hurled into the rivers and carried downstream. These facts were independently and overwhelmingly attested to by eyewitnesses belonging to governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental sources, as well as the international media, and were fully reported by an impartial Commission of Experts established by the Security Council [see below].

Victims included Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers assigned to protect her.

The Secretary-General condemned the acts of violence in the strongest terms

The crash of the Presidents' aircraft and the massacres which followed also spurred the civil war into a new, more violent and decisive phase. On the second day after the crash, RPF launched an offensive from the positions they occupied in Rwanda and attacked the "interim government" which had been set up on 8 April 1994 in the wake of President Habyarimana's death. The "interim government" left Kigali on 12 April 1994 as fighting between the armed forces and RPF intensified, establishing itself in Gitarama, 40 kilometres to the south-west. By the end of May 1994, RPF had occupied about half of the territory of Rwanda, including strong positions in and around Kigali.

Effect on UNAMIR

The Government of Belgium then decided to withdraw its battalion from UNAMIR. Finding it impossible to carry on with its original mandate, UNAMIR concentrated on securing a ceasefire to be followed by political negotiations; protecting civilians; negotiating a truce to permit the evacuation of expatriates; assisting in evacuations; rescuing those trapped in the fighting; and providing humanitarian assistance to large groups of displaced persons under UNAMIR protection.

Despite direct contacts under the auspices of UNAMIR, both sides adopted rigid positions, undermining negotiations for a ceasefire. Violence continued in the streets, as did fighting between Rwandese Government Forces (RGF) and RPF forces. UNAMIR headquarters was hit on 19 April, although there were no casualties. On 20 April, the Secretary-General informed13 the Council that UNAMIR personnel could not be left at risk indefinitely with no possibility of performing the tasks for which they were dispatched. With the departure of the Belgian contingent and non-essential personnel, UNAMIR strength stood at 1,515 military personnel, down from 2,165, and 190 military observers, down from 321.

Three alternatives were put forward. Assuming no realistic prospect for an effective ceasefire agreement, combat and massacres could only be averted by an immediate and massive reinforcement of UNAMIR. This would require several thousand additional troops and could require that UNAMIR be given enforcement powers under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Alternatively, a small group, headed by the Force Commander, would remain in Kigali to act as an intermediary between the two parties. This effort would require 270 military personnel. Finally, the Secretary-General noted that UNAMIR could be completely withdrawn. He did not favour this alternative since the cost in human lives could be very severe.

On 21 April 1994, the Security Council decided in its resolution 912 (1994) to reduce UNAMIR to the numbers recommended by the Secretary-General in his second alternative. According to its adjusted mandate, UNAMIR would act as an intermediary between the parties in an attempt to secure their agreement to a ceasefire; assist in the resumption of humanitarian relief operations to the extent feasible; and monitor developments in Rwanda, including the safety and security of civilians who sought refuge with UNAMIR.

On 22 and 23 April, the Secretary-General's Special Representative participated in the Arusha talks at which a ceasefire statement was presented. Although ceasefire negotiations could not take place, the meeting contributed to a unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by RPF.

The humanitarian response

Although the evacuation of humanitarian personnel was recommended on 9 April 1994, and humanitarian activities were temporarily suspended, the United Nations agencies participating in the United Nations Disaster Management Team in Rwanda recommenced their coordination efforts in Nairobi within days of the evacuation, under the aegis of the newly created United Nations Rwanda Emergency Office (UNREO). There was limited cross-border humanitarian assistance, primarily from Uganda but also from Burundi. The World Food Programme (WFP) was able to carry out limited food distribution from existing WFP stocks in southern Rwanda.

As the massacres continued, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Peter Hansen led an inter-agency Advance Humanitarian Team (AHT) into Kigali on 23 April 1994. Composed of members of the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the team assessed needs in the Kigali area and in most RPF - controlled areas as well. AHT immediately initiated aid efforts in Kigali, in close collaboration with UNAMIR, but efforts to obtain access to WFP food stocks held in warehouses were repeatedly blocked by hostile fire.

A suboffice of UNREO was then set up in Kabale, Uganda. Staffed with personnel seconded by UNHCR and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Kabale office helped coordinate cross-border relief efforts. Uganda-based efforts to provide humanitarian aid in RPF-controlled areas expanded rapidly as security conditions allowed. These efforts included a number of international NGOs and were coordinated closely with the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Access to most of the needy population in RGF-controlled areas, where the number of internally displaced people was estimated to be as many as a million, continued to prove virtually impossible. United Nations agencies based in Burundi, especially UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP, continued efforts to obtain first-hand information on needs in these areas, and to provide aid whenever the security situation allowed. On 25 April, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs launched a "flash appeal" for $8 million. This appeal received a mixed response from donors.

The humanitarian situation subsequently changed dramatically. In the most rapid exodus of this scale UNHCR had ever recorded, more than 250,000 Rwandese refugees entered Tanzania over the Rusumo Falls border-crossing point within 24 hours. Although UNHCR had pre-positioned food, blankets, and other relief supplies for 50,000 persons, the continued exodus along this border forced the creation of a massive relief operation. The international relief community, with overall coordination by UNHCR, rushed to help the Tanzanian Government and local residents cope with the massive influx of refugees. UNHCR made an urgent appeal to donors for an additional $56 million to meet the needs of refugees in the region, and particularly those crossing into Tanzania.

Secretary-General seeks further action

By the end of April 1994, Kigali was effectively divided into sectors controlled by RGF and RPF, with frequent exchanges of artillery and mortar fire. UNAMIR reported strong evidence of preparations for further massacres of civilians in the city, while massacres continued on a large scale in the countryside, especially in the south. The developments raised serious questions about the viability of UNAMIR's revised mandate. In the Secretary-General's view, it had become clear that UNAMIR did not have the power to take effective action to halt the continuing massacres and would be unable to protect threatened people in Kigali if a new wave of massacres were to start. According to some estimates, as many as 200,000 people had died over the previous three weeks.

While some of the massacres were the work of uncontrolled military personnel, most were perpetrated by armed groups of civilians taking advantage of the complete breakdown of law and order in Kigali and many other parts of Rwanda. Convinced that massacres could be prevented only if law and order were restored, the Secretary-General urged the Security Council to consider again what action, including forceful action, it could take or could authorize Member States to take. Such action, however, would require a commitment of human and material resources on a scale which Member States had so far proved reluctant to contemplate. The Secretary-General nevertheless felt that the degree of human suffering and its implications for regional stability left the Security Council with no alternative but to examine this possibility.

On 30 April 1994, the Security Council demanded that the interim Government of Rwanda and RPF take effective measures to prevent any attacks on civilians in areas under their control and recalled that persons who instigate or participate in such acts are individually responsible. The Council noted that the killing of members of an ethnic group with the intention of destroying such a group in whole or in part constitutes a crime punishable under international law. The Council also asked the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Secretary-General of OAU, to report further on how to help restore law and order in Rwanda and provide security for displaced persons and to explore urgently ways of extending humanitarian relief assistance to refugees and displaced persons.

On 4 May, the Secretary-General publicly called the situation genocide and warned that the United Nations, if it did not act quickly, might later be accused of passivity. On 6 May, the Security Council asked the Secretary-General to prepare contingency plans to deliver humanitarian assistance and support of displaced persons, and indicated that the Council might later seek indications on logistics and financial implications of an expanded United Nations or international presence in Rwanda.

Adjustment of tasks

When it was initially deployed, UNOMUR restricted its monitoring activities in Uganda along the area of the border with Rwanda controlled by RPF. After RPF gained control of the entire Uganda-Rwanda border, the Mission extended its observation and monitoring activities to that area. This necessitated the readjustment of tasks and the reassignment of military observers. UNOMUR carried out its tasks essentially through patrolling, monitoring and surveillance of the whole stretch of the operational area, involving both mobile and fixed observations as well as on-site investigations of suspected cross-border traffic.

As for UNAMIR, its strength stood at 444 all ranks in Rwanda by early May 1994, with 179 military observers at Nairobi pending repatriation or redeployment to the Mission.

UNAMIR, UNREO, the operational United Nations agencies and NGOs working in Rwanda agreed on a division of labour for humanitarian assistance and on a set of principles to serve as the basis for operations. These included ensuring the security of relief efforts; joint identification of distribution sites by responsible authorities and United Nations humanitarian organizations; clear identification of interlocutors to represent the authorities for discussion of humanitarian operations; acceptance by authorities of the monitoring and reporting responsibilities of the United Nations organizations regarding the distribution and use of relief materials; and an understanding that aid should be provided based on need, regardless of race, ethnic group, religion or political affiliation. Both sides subsequently agreed on the principles.

Displaced persons in the interior of the country outnumbered those in border areas or in neighbouring countries by a factor of five. There was a danger that, if humanitarian efforts were concentrated on border areas, the protected sites could act as a magnet to people in need in the interior of the country and increase the number of displaced persons.

On 13 May 1994, the Secretary-General recommended a new mandate for UNAMIR, which would include 5,500 troops. Among other things, the new force would support and provide safe conditions for displaced persons and other groups, help with the provision of assistance by humanitarian organizations, and monitor border- crossing points and the two parties' deployment. While its rules of engagement would not envisage enforcement action, it could be required to take action in self-defence against those who threatened protected sites and populations and the means of delivery and distribution of humanitarian relief.

Deployment would be conducted in three phases over a one-month period. During the first phase, lasting one week, one full-strength battalion would ensure the protection of Kigali International Airport and other sites in the city. In the second phase, extending for two weeks, two more battalions would be deployed, along with advance elements of a support battalion and all of the force headquarters and signal squadron. The rest of the support battalion and two other infantry battalions would be deployed during the third phase.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. José Ayala Lasso, who had assumed office only a day before the outbreak of hostilities in Rwanda, also introduced a number of timely initiatives to address the crisis. He acted immediately to spur an urgent response from a wide range of United Nations agencies and mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights, OAU and the NGO community. On 4 May 1994, he called for the convening of an emergency session of the Commission of Human Rights to address the human rights situation in Rwanda. After having visited Rwanda in May 1994, the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged that a Special Rapporteur on Rwanda be appointed to examine all human rights aspects of the situation, including root causes and responsibilities for the atrocities. The Commission subsequently designated Mr. René Dégni-Ségui as Special Rapporteur for Rwanda. The High Commissioner also proposed that the Special Rapporteur should be supported by a field operation, staffed with specialists to investigate past human rights abuses and to monitor the ongoing situation, to deter human rights violations and to promote national reconciliation. These proposals were endorsed by the Commission and the Economic and Social Council.

Arms embargo and expansion of mandate

On 17 May 1994, the Security Council in resolution 918 (1994) imposed an arms embargo on Rwanda. It also expanded UNAMIR's mandate to enable it to contribute to the security and protection of refugees and civilians at risk, through means including the establishment and maintenance of secure humanitarian areas, and the provision of security for relief operations to the degree possible. It authorized the expansion of UNAMIR to 5,500 troops, and requested the Secretary-General to redeploy immediately, as a first phase, the UNAMIR military observers from Nairobi to Rwanda, and to bring up to full strength the infantry battalion then in the country. The Secretary-General was asked to report as soon as possible on the next phase of UNAMIR's deployment and to present a report on the investigation of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda during the conflict.

In response to the latter request, the Secretary-General subsequently transmitted to the Security Council a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Special mission visits Rwanda

By the latter part of May, the RPF zone was virtually empty. In the zones controlled by the Rwandese government force, increasing numbers of displaced persons were fleeing the RPF advance and were seeking refuge in camps in subhuman conditions. This exodus was in part due to alarming radio broadcasts from Rwandese government forces zones, especially Radio Mille Collines, which also broadcast incitements to eliminate RPF supporters.

To move the warring parties towards a ceasefire, Mr. Iqbal Riza, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Major-General J. Maurice Baril, Military Adviser to the Secretary-General, visited the area from 22 to 27 May 1994. Despite assurances of an informal truce during the visit, firing and shelling continued. During discussions with the mission, both sides recognized that only a political settlement could bring stability to Rwanda. However, while both sides declared that the principles of the Arusha Peace Agreement remained valid as a framework, each stated that the new circumstances would necessitate renegotiation of certain parts of the agreement.

The special mission was informed that those responsible for the genocide included members of the Rwandese government forces, but in the main were drawn from the Presidential Guard and the interahamwe. Allegations by representatives of the interim Government and the Rwandese Armed Forces and the Gendarmerie that the RPF bore equal culpability for the killings were not corroborated by other sources.

The special mission obtained the agreement of the two sides to initiate talks for the establishment of a ceasefire as called for by Security Council resolution 918 (1994). RPF's insistence that it would not deal, directly or indirectly, with the de facto authorities in Gitarama was accepted by the other side. A working paper, to serve as a basis for the talks, was prepared by the special mission and the Force Commander, and the first meeting was held between military staff officers on 30 May at UNAMIR headquarters. The Deputy Force Commander acted as intermediary.

UNMAIR's mandate extended

On 31 May 1994, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that the repercussions of the massacres in Rwanda were enormous, with displaced persons in the range of 1.5 million and an additional 400,000 refugees in bordering countries. These figures would mean that over a quarter of Rwanda's population had been afflicted. There was no effective humanitarian assistance programme, beyond sporadic deliveries, in zones controlled by Rwandese government forces. More systematic humanitarian assistance programmes had begun in the RPF zone, but worked under strict RPF controls.

In the Secretary-General's view, the international community's delayed reaction to the genocide in Rwanda "demonstrated graphically its extreme inadequacy to respond with prompt and decisive action to humanitarian crises entwined with armed conflict". He added that while attempting to redeem the failings in the Rwandese crisis, the entire system required review to strengthen its reactive capacity. There was little doubt that the killing in Rwanda constituted genocide, but the continuing hostilities impeded a full investigation.

Since national reconciliation was unlikely to be swift, the Secretary-General recommended to the Security Council on 31 May 1994 that UNAMIR's expanded mandate be authorized by the Council for at least six months, with the anticipation that at least another six-month renewal would be required. The special mission had secured assurances from both parties of cooperation with the mandate established by resolution 918 (1994). In the Secretary-General's view, the implementation of phase one remained urgent and had to be commenced even before a ceasefire was effected. He informed the Council that the Government of Ghana was prepared to dispatch troops immediately, but these were waiting for necessary equipment, especially armoured personnel carriers, to be made available by other Member States. It was estimated that phase one would not be operational for another four to six weeks. Considering the projected delays, the Secretary-General recommended that phase two should be initiated immediately, in close synchronization with phase one, while urgent preparations for phase three should continue.

The Secretary-General also declared his intention to establish a special trust fund to support effective rehabilitation programmes in Rwanda.

In its resolution 925 on 8 June 1994, the Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendations for the deployment of an expanded UNAMIR, invited the international community to contribute generously to the trust fund for Rwanda and demanded that all parties to the conflict cease hostilities. By its resolution 935 of 1 July 1994, the Security Council expressed its grave concern at reports of violations of international law, including genocide. It requested the Secretary-General to establish as a matter of urgency an impartial Commission of Experts that would provide him with its conclusions about the evidence of these violations. The Council also called on States, relevant United Nations bodies and organizations to inform the commission within 30 days of substantiated grave violations. The Secretary-General notified the Council on 26 July that he had established the Commission of Experts. The Commission was to be based in Geneva and would benefit from the resources of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and, in particular, those already made available to the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva and in the field.

Decision to close UNOMUR

On 16 June 1994, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that UNOMUR had been particularly critical as UNAMIR sought to defuse tensions resulting from the resumption of hostilities. The Mission's activities allowed UNAMIR to address, at least to some degree, the issue of outside interference in the Rwandese civil war. Its presence was a factor of stability in the area. Nevertheless, there appeared to be little rationale for monitoring one of Rwanda's borders and not the others. He believed that UNOMUR should continue its monitoring activities until an effective ceasefire was established. He therefore recommended that UNOMUR's mandate be renewed for a period of three months. During that period, the number of military observers would be reduced by phases, adjusting to operational requirements. UNOMUR would be closed down by 21 September 1994. The Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendations on 20 June 1994 by its resolution 928 (1994).


Operation Turquoise

The Secretary-General informed the Security Council on 19 June 1994 that the United Nations expected, in the best of circumstances, to complete the deployment of the first phase of UNAMIR in the first week of July 1994; deployment of the second phase could not be determined lacking final confirmations of required resources. The Security Council might therefore wish to consider the offer of the Government of France to undertake a French-commanded multinational operation, subject to Security Council authorization, under Chapter VII of the Charter, to assure the security and protection of displaced persons and civilians at risk. Such an operation would last about three months, until UNAMIR was brought up to the necessary strength to take over from the multinational force. The activities of the multinational force and those of UNAMIR would be closely coordinated by the respective force commanders.

On 22 June 1994, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council, by its resolution 929 (1994), authorized Member States to conduct the operation using all necessary means to achieve their humanitarian objectives. The operation would be limited to two months, unless UNAMIR was able to carry out its mandate before then. Costs of implementing the operation would be borne by the Member States concerned. The French initiative, named Operation Turquoise, was launched on 23 June 1994. On 2 July, France announced that Operation Turquoise would establish a "humanitarian protected zone" in the Cyangugu-Kibuye-Gikongoro triangle in south-western Rwanda, covering about one fifth of Rwandese territory. While expressing its strong op- position to the French move, RPF did not seek confrontation with French forces which, on their side, avoided provocation.

From the start, close cooperation at all levels was established between UNAMIR and Operation Turquoise. In the first week of July an UNREO/Department of Humanitarian Affairs officer was dispatched to the French military base of operations at Goma in order to establish communications and ensure liaison between the command of Operation Turquoise, United Nations agencies and some 30 NGOs engaged in humanitarian assistance in the region. On 11 July, the Prime Minister of France informed the Security Council and the Secretary-General of the French Government's decision to commence its withdrawal by 31 July.

RPF establishes control

On 1 July 1994, the Secretary-General called for a halt to military operations in Rwanda. His new Special Representative, Mr. Shaharyar M. Khan (Pakistan), arrived in Kigali on 4 July and immediately established direct contact with the parties, emphasizing the importance of achieving a ceasefire. This was followed on 14 July by a demand by the Security Council for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.

RPF established military control over most of the country in July 1994, taking Kigali on 4 July, Butare (the second largest city) on 5 July and Ruhengeri (the former Government's stronghold) on 14 July. Retreating RGF forces concentrated in and around Gisenyi in the north-west and thereafter withdrew into Zaire. On 17 July, RPF took Gisenyi and on 18 July unilaterally declared a ceasefire, effectively ending the civil war. On 19 July, a Broad-Based Government of National Unity was formed and subsequently extended its control over the whole national territory.

At the same time, the flight of civilians continued, spurred on by inflammatory broadcasts from radio stations controlled by the "interim government". Over a two-week period in July, some 1.5 million Rwandese sought refuge in Zaire. Retreating soldiers urged and forced whole populations to leave their homes and follow them into exile. In some cases, massacres were even perpetrated deliberately in order to create situations of panic, chaos and fear.

The protracted violence in Rwanda created an almost unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Of a total population of approximately 7 million, 3 million persons were displaced internally and more than 2 million Hutus had fled to neighbouring countries. Among those who had fled Rwanda, an outbreak of cholera had already claimed as many as 20,000 lives - and would eventually claim some 50,000. The logistics of arranging the daily supply and distribution of 30 million litres of drinking water and 1,000 tons of food were daunting. As many as 2 million internally displaced Hutus were estimated to be in the humanitarian protected zone in south-west Rwanda. To prevent an outflow of this group into Zaire, it was necessary to ensure the capacity of UNAMIR to take over responsibility in the area and to increase the humanitarian presence and activities there.

A $434.8 million consolidated inter-agency appeal for the Rwandese crisis was launched by the Secretary-General on 22 July 1994. In the Secretary-General's view, the deterioration of the situation was beyond the resources and capacity of the United Nations humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations. The international community was confronted with four basic humanitarian challenges: to respond to the immediate life-saving needs of refugees; to facilitate the early return of those who had fled their homes; to restore basic infrastructure in Rwanda; and to ensure a smooth transition in the humanitarian protected zone established by French forces. The Secretary-General also announced that he was immediately sending the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs to the region.

During his visit to Rwanda from 24 to 28 July, the Under-Secretary-General met with senior officials of the new Government to discuss how humanitarian aid could be delivered to all parts of the country and the urgent steps required to re-establish a climate conducive to the return of refugees and displaced persons. The Government indicated its commitment to encourage people to return to Rwanda, to ensure their protection and to permit full access to all those in need throughout the country. UNREO, headquartered in Kigali and with offices in Goma (Zaire), Kabale (Uganda) and Bujumbura (Burundi), continued to work with the United Nations agencies and the growing number of humanitarian NGOs to identify needs in Rwanda by sector and region.

UNAMIR's main tasks in the changed situation were to ensure stability and security in the north-western and south-western regions of Rwanda; to stabilize and monitor the situation in all regions of Rwanda to encourage the return of the displaced population; to provide security and support for humanitarian assistance operations inside Rwanda; and to promote, through mediation and good offices, national reconciliation in Rwanda. UNAMIR had already deployed a company along the border near Goma, as well as a number of observers in that region and in the zone controlled by Operation Turquoise. In the expectation that UNAMIR would eventually receive the 5,500 troops authorized by the Security Council, the Force Commander had planned deployment in five sectors. The Force headquarters would remain at Kigali, with the minimum units required for protection, along with specialized units for communications and logistics, as well as the field hospital. United Nations military observers and United Nations civilian police monitors would be deployed in all sectors according to operations requirements.

The principal areas of concern were in the north-west to resettle returning refugees, and in the south-west to avert possible outbreaks of violence. In the north-west, substantial numbers of the former Rwandese government forces and militia, as well as extremist elements suspected of involvement in the massacres of the Hutu opposition and RPF supporters, were mingled with the refugees in Zaire, and were reportedly trying to prevent their return. In the south-west, a more volatile situation prevailed where armed elements of the Rwandese government forces had sought refuge in the French-protected zone; this situation was particularly pressing in view of the anxiety of the French Government to complete its withdrawal by 21 August. In discussions with UNAMIR, the new Rwandese Government had indicated that it would not insist on taking control of this area immediately, provided that UNAMIR would ensure its stability.

On 3 August 1994, the Secretary-General told the Council that the international community, by failing to intervene sooner in Rwanda, had in fact acquiesced in the horrifying loss of human life and suffering of an entire people. At the very least, the international community should ensure that those individuals responsible in their personal and official capacities for unleashing and instigating the genocide were brought to justice. To avoid problems of coordination, all foreign forces engaged in support of humanitarian efforts in the area should ideally be part of UNAMIR. If this was not possible, deployment of foreign forces should be authorized by the Security Council even if their mandate was purely humanitarian, and formal liaison arrangements should be established between them and UNAMIR, as had been the case with Operation Turquoise.

The need for reinforcements for UNAMIR remained urgent. Two and a half months after the Security Council expanded UNAMIR's mandate, fewer than 500 troops were on the ground apart from a number of military observers.

The Security Council urged the country's former leadership and those who had assumed political responsibility in refugee camps to cooperate with the new Rwandese Government in reconciliation and repatriation efforts and to cease propaganda campaigns inducing refugees to stay in exile. The Council called upon the new Government to ensure that there were no reprisals against returnees and to cooperate with the United Nations in ensuring that those guilty of atrocities were brought to justice. In this connection, it welcomed the Government's statement supporting the establishment of an international tribunal.

Signs of stabilization

The Broad-based Government of National Unity, while suffering from a severe lack of basic resources, undertook efforts to normalize the situation and to put in place civilian structures. It encouraged members of the former Rwandese government forces to join the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA). Land tenure and rival claims to property rights presented a particular problem. Long-standing Tutsi refugees had returned from Burundi and Uganda to reclaim property, and Hutu refugees who had fled more recently were returning home to find their property held by others. Although the Government emphasized that the wrongful occupation of another person's home or property was unlawful, it was encountering difficulty in implementing that policy.

The main objective of UNAMIR deployment during this time was to promote security in all sectors of Rwanda and to create a climate conducive to the safe return of refugees and displaced persons, as well as to support humanitarian operations. Relations between UNAMIR and RPA were cordial and cooperative, although movement restrictions were sometimes imposed on UNAMIR troops. UNAMIR began deploying troops in the humanitarian protection zone on 10 August 1994, and on 21 August it assumed responsibility from Operation Turquoise. As the Government undertook the restoration of civil administration and the gradual deployment of its troops in the zone, it made a concerted effort to reassure the population, averting a renewed major exodus of civilians to Zaire. Members of the Government also made several visits to the refugee camps in Zaire to encourage voluntary return of the refugees.

The Government also urged the Commission of Experts to conclude its work expeditiously and gave assurances that it would make every effort to prevent summary trials, revenge executions and other acts of violence and would arrest those accused of such crimes. In August, during the second visit to Rwanda by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Government concluded an agreement to increase the number of human rights officers deployed to Rwanda to 147. By 30 September, their number stood at 17. In the agreement, the objectives and functions of the operation were defined as follows: (a) carrying out investigations into violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including possible acts of genocide; (b) monitoring the ongoing human rights situation, and helping to prevent such violations through the presence of human rights field officers; (c) cooperating with other international agencies to re-establish confidence and facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons and the rebuilding of civil society; and (d) implementing programmes of technical cooperation in the field of human rights, particularly in the area of the administration of justice, to help Rwanda rebuild its shattered judiciary and to provide human rights education to all levels of Rwandese society.

The Government sought the urgent assistance of UNAMIR in establishing a new, integrated, national police force. On 16 August, UNAMIR initiated a training programme with students selected by the Government as volunteers from different social and ethnic groups. CIVPOL was also charged with monitoring the activities of local police and gendarmerie and those of the civil authorities with regard to human rights violations.

Conclusion of UNOMUR

Reduction of UNOMUR was carried out in four phases with a gradual scaling down of monitoring activities. Phase one took effect on 15 August, and the Mission's total strength of 80 military observers was reduced by 25. In phase two, effective from 30 August, the Mission was further reduced by nine military observers. In phase three, effective from 6 September, an additional 12 military observers left, leaving a total strength of 34. In the final phase, all remaining military and civilian personnel were to leave the area by 21 September. The formal closing ceremony was presided by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Kofi Annan.

The Secretary-General informed the Security Council that, while the tragic turn of events in Rwanda had prevented UNOMUR from fully implementing its mandate, the Mission had played a useful role in efforts to build confidence, defuse tensions and facilitate the implementation of the Arusha Agreement. Following the Security Council's authorization on 17 May to expand UNAMIR, UNOMUR became a forward base to back up the movement of UNAMIR personnel, equipment and supplies into Rwanda. During the closure of Kigali airport, Entebbe airport in Uganda functioned as the only air base from which those personnel and supplies were routed by land to Rwanda. A team of UNOMUR military observers was stationed at Entebbe to coordinate logistic activities, and UNOMUR observers escorted convoys of logistic material and foodstuffs to the Uganda-Rwanda border for use by UNAMIR. UNOMUR also facilitated the transport of UNAMIR and other United Nations personnel between Kabale and Entebbe and between Kabale and Goma and Bukavu in Zaire. The evacuation of UNAMIR casualties was carried out with UNOMUR assistance.

The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation to the Government of Uganda for the cooperation and assistance it had extended to the Mission. He commended both the military and the civilian personnel of UNOMUR for the dedication and professionalism with which they had carried out their tasks.

OCTOBER 1994-MAY 1995

UNAMIR fully deployed

UNAMIR reached its full authorized strength of 5,500 all ranks in October 1994. By 15 November, 80 of the 90 police observers authorized for UNAMIR were also deployed. The troops and military observers were deployed in six sectors: north-east, south-east, south, south-west, north-west and Kigali City. UNAMIR assisted with the transport of refugees and internally displaced persons, maintained protection for populations at risk, and worked with the humanitarian agencies and the Government to develop and implement a strategy to close the displaced persons camps in Rwanda gradually by ensuring voluntary return. UNAMIR troops and observers also intensified their monitoring, observation and patrol duties.

The human rights field operation had about 60 human rights officers and special investigators at seven regional offices. Another 40 human rights observers and teams of forensic experts were expected by the end of December 1994. The Special Rapporteur, Mr. René Dégni-Ségui, visited Rwanda from 15 to 22 October, and the Commission of Experts visited Rwanda from 29 October to 10 November.

Security in the camps

The Secretary-General reported to the Security Council in early October that the first priority in Rwanda remained the resolution of the humanitarian crisis. According to the estimates, Rwanda's pre-war population of 7.9 million had fallen to 5 million and the number of internally displaced persons ranged from 800,000 to 2 million. There were more than 2 million refugees in Zaire, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda. At the same time, it was estimated that some 360,000 refugees had returned to Rwanda spontaneously since the ceasefire on 18 July. The victims of the genocidal slaughter could number as many as 1 million. In the refugee camps, the Government was concerned about elements who continued to incite people to flee from Rwanda, and to threaten those who might return home. In addition, reports and preliminary investigations suggested that returning refugees might have been subjected to reprisals by Government troops.

UNHCR estimated that the camps in Zaire held approximately 1.2 million Rwandese refugees in overcrowded, chaotic and increasingly insecure conditions. The refugees were completely dependent on United Nations and relief agencies for basic needs assistance.

The former Rwandese political leaders, government forces and militia who controlled the camps were determined to ensure by force, if necessary, that the refugees did not repatriate to Rwanda. They were believed to be preparing for an armed invasion of Rwanda and might be stockpiling and selling food distributed by relief agencies in preparation for such an invasion. Security was further undermined by general lawlessness, extortion, banditry and gang warfare between groups fighting for control. The lives of relief workers were repeatedly threatened. The law and order enforcement agents in the countries of asylum were not adequately equipped to cope with the situation. As a result, NGOs responsible for the distribution of relief supplies had begun to withdraw.

It was estimated that there were approximately 230 Rwandese political leaders in Zaire, including former ministers, senior civilian and military officials, members of parliament and other political personalities, many of whom were living in good conditions outside the refugee camps. The number of former Rwandese government forces personnel in Zaire was estimated at about 50,000 persons, including dependants, and some estimates indicated that the armed militia could amount to some 10,000 or more.

The Secretary-General identified for the Security Council three major military options for addressing the worsening security situation in the refugee camps, namely: (a) a United Nations peacekeeping operation to establish security progressively in the camps; (b) a United Nations force, set up under Chapter VII of the Charter, to separate the former political leaders, military personnel and militia from the ordinary refugee population of the camps; (c) a multinational force, authorized by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter but not under United Nations command. Associated with any of the options, foreign security experts could train and monitor the local security forces. A peacekeeping force of 3,000 all ranks would take 24 to 30 months to complete the operation, while a force of 5,000 would require 14 to 20 months. The mandate would be separate from that of UNAMIR but would be under the operational control of, and supported logistically by, UNAMIR. Such an operation, although the most realistic way of progressively improving security in the camps, would be difficult, complex and, to some extent, unprecedented.

The Security Council responded that the options raised complex issues which required further elucidation. It requested the Secretary-General to consult potential troop contributors. Further, the Council encouraged him to assess initial measures for immediate assistance to the Zairian security forces in the camps, including deploying security experts to train and monitor the local security forces.

Challenges remain

On 30 November 1994 in its resolution 965, the Security Council extended the mandate of UNAMIR to 9 June 1995, as recommended by the Secretary-General. It also expanded the mandate to enable the Mission to contribute to the security in Rwanda of personnel of the International Tribunal for Rwanda [see below] and of human rights officers, including full time protection of the Prosecutor's office. UNAMIR would also assist in the establishment and training of a new, integrated, national police force.

On 20 December 1994, the Government of Rwanda was formally renamed the Government of National Unity, a modification which placed primary emphasis on national reconciliation. The National Assembly, officially installed in Kigali on 25 November 1994, opened its first working session on 12 December. On that occasion, the Prime Minister presented an eight-point programme reiterating the goals of rehabilitation and reconstruction that the Government first set out when it was installed on 19 July 1994. To help reunify the army, some 2,242 members of the former RGF were retrained and RGF officers were given new appointments, including that of Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of the Gendarmerie.

The Government also established a commission to finalize and implement a programme for the repatriation and reintegration of refugees, as provided for in the Arusha Peace Agreement, composed of two representatives each of the Government, UNHCR and the refugee community, as well as a representative of OAU. On 14 January 1995, the Government and UNAMIR signed an agreement on the establishment of United Nations radio in Kigali, followed by discussions regarding the necessary technical details. Radio UNAMIR began operations on 16 February, with broadcasts seven days a week in three languages.

Rwanda's court system was not yet functioning, its prisons were overcrowded and thousands of suspects were awaiting trial. The United Nations Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda was active in helping the Government to rehabilitate the justice system, but substantially more technical and financial assistance was required. As a result of a needs assessment mission undertaken in December 1994, the High Commissioner for Human Rights developed a programme of technical assistance in the administration of justice, which included review of criminal cases of detainees, improvement in prison administration, establishment of civil dispute resolution mechanisms and recruitment and training of civilian police.

Furthermore, reports persisted of summary executions, secret detention and torture, as well as reports of banditry and other violent acts against civilians, both in Kigali and in the countryside. In an incident on 7 January, elements of RPA attacked a displaced persons camp at Busanze, killing 18 people, including women and children, and wounding 36 others. The Government condemned the attack and detained some of the soldiers reportedly involved, assuring the United Nations that the isolated act of misconduct did not represent official policy.

In the eight camps in Tanzania, with 600,000 Hutu refugees, a security force created by the refugee population was cooperating with some 310 Tanzanian police to provide security. In the camps in Zaire, with 1.4 million refugees, the Government of Zaire took steps to enhance security, but the situation remained potentially explosive, with the most acute security situation in the camps north of Lake Kivu, in the Goma region, where approximately 850,000 refugees were located. The threat to the safety of international relief workers was also significant.

A joint technical team from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UNHCR was dispatched from 11 to 19 December 1994 to review the situation. The team explored the possibility of deployment in the camps of Zairian security forces, with approximately 150 to 200 United Nations civilian police officers to train and monitor them and about 30 to 50 military observers to liaise with them at the command level. The Government of Zaire indicated that it would be prepared to deploy a national security force of about 1,500 to 2,500 troops to the camps.

Following the team's visit, the Secretary-General reported that nearly 50 Member States had been contacted to ascertain their willingness to provide police personnel. As of 23 January, only four countries had expressed an interest and only one was French-speaking. Furthermore, only one of the countries contributing military observers to UNAMIR would be prepared to allow them to operate in Zaire. As to the camps in Tanzania, the Government indicated that it could increase its force to 500 but required logistic and operational support. Some support in that regard was being provided by the Government of the Netherlands through UNHCR.

The Secretary-General also reported that only one of 60 potential troop-contributing countries had formally offered a unit for a possible peacekeeping operation to ensure security in the camps. That option was thus not feasible. Another proposal, the provision of training and monitoring support to the local security forces through contractual arrangements, would be too costly. UNHCR would therefore conclude appropriate arrangements with the Government of Zaire, and continue to explore means of augmenting support to the Tanzanian Government. In Burundi, UNHCR indicated that the security situation in those camps was being adequately addressed at that time. The close relationship between improving both security in the refugee camps and conditions inside Rwanda to encourage voluntary return was emphasized by the Presidents of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and the Prime Minister of Zaire at their summit meeting in Nairobi on 7 January 1995.

On 27 January 1995, the Zairian Ministers of Defence and Justice and the UNHCR Special Envoy to Countries of the Great Lakes Region signed an aide-mémoire outlining specific measures aimed at improving the security situation. Under that agreement, the Government of Zaire was to deploy 1,500 experienced military and police security personnel to the camps in the Goma region, north of Lake Kivu, and in the Bukavu and Uvira regions, south of Lake Kivu. Those personnel would assist in the maintenance of law and order in the camps; take measures to prevent violence against and intimidation of refugees; provide protection for relief workers and for the storage and delivery of humanitarian assistance; and escort to the border of Rwanda those refugees who voluntarily chose to return to their homes. In accordance with its mandate, UNAMIR would provide assistance in escorting the repatriated refugees to their home communities.

UNHCR, for its part, would ensure liaison between UNHCR and the commanders of the Zairian security units, provide technical advice and, to the extent possible, provide to the local security units some financial and logistic support. The first phase would last from February to June 1995. UNHCR would seek contributions from Member States to defray costs. The Security Council welcomed the agreement and encouraged the Government of Rwanda to continue to provide a framework for the action to be taken to repatriate the refugees, to promote national reconciliation and to reinvigorate the political process.

Displaced persons camps

The violent harassment and misinformation in the refugee camps on the borders, especially in Zaire, paralleled the situation of internally displaced persons in Rwanda. The urgent need to bring these persons back to their home communities was thwarted by intimidation within the camps and fear of reprisals. In addition, a perception that the camp population had a better life than those outside generated tension between local and camp populations. At the same time, the camp sites occupied much-needed farmland and were increasingly an ecological hazard. The Special Representative, in close collaboration with the Government, and through the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, formulated an integrated humanitarian response to address the issue of the internally displaced persons.

UNAMIR undertook an operation in the Kibeho and Ndago displaced persons camps from 13 to 15 December to help create conditions for voluntary return. After screening disruptive elements, a total of 44 people were detained and handed over to the Rwandese authorities. UNAMIR discovered and confiscated caches of grenades, machetes and spears. The operation was undertaken in the presence of human rights monitors and representatives of ICRC. RPA provided liaison officers and established a security perimeter a few kilometres from the camps but did not participate in the actual operation. The success of the operation helped to establish suitable conditions for the launching, on 29 December 1994, of Opération Retour, an integrated inter-agency initiative using the combined assets of the United Nations system aimed at facilitating the safe resettlement of internally displaced persons. Activities included the provision of security to ensure that displaced persons could travel safely to their homes and were protected once they reached them, as well as the provision of medical, food, water, sanitation and other basic assistance in the home communes.

Commission of Experts

On 9 December 1994, the Secretary-General transmitted to the Security Council the final report of the Commission of Experts. Located at the United Nations office in Geneva, the Commission had begun its work on 15 August 1994. The Chairman was Mr. Atsu-Koffi Amega, a former President of the Supreme Court and former Foreign Minister of Togo. Other members were Mrs. Habi Dieng, Attorney-General of Guinea, and Mr. Salifou Fomba, Professor of International Law from Mali and a Member of the United Nations International Law Commission.

During the first stage of its work, the Commission reviewed available information and carried out its own investigations in Rwanda. In its second stage, it drew up its conclusions on the evidence of specific violations of international humanitarian law, and, in particular, of acts of genocide, on the basis of which identification of persons responsible for those violations could be made. In the light of those conclusions, the Commission examined the question of the jurisdiction, international or national, before which such persons should be brought to trial.

On 1 October, the Secretary-General transmitted to the Security Council the Commission's interim report. The Commission recommended that the Security Council take action to ensure that the individuals responsible for crimes under international law were brought to justice before an independent and impartial international criminal tribunal. The Commission further recommended that the Council amend the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia so that it could consider such crimes committed during the armed conflict in Rwanda.

In its 9 December report, the Commission concluded as follows: (a) There existed overwhelming evidence to prove that acts of genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group were committed by Hutu elements in a concerted, planned, systematic and methodical way, in violation of article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948; (b) Crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law were committed by individuals of both sides, but there was no evidence to suggest that acts committed by Tutsi elements were perpetrated with an intent to destroy the Hutu ethnic group as such, within the meaning of the Genocide Convention; the Commission recommended, however, that investigation of violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights law attributed to the Rwandese Patriotic Front be continued by the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for Rwanda.

International Tribunal

By its resolution 955 (1994) of 8 November 1994, the Security Council had decided to establish an international tribunal to prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda and Rwandese citizens responsible for such acts in neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994, and to this end to adopt the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It decided that the Tribunal would consist of the Chambers, the Prosecutor and the Registry. The Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia would also serve as the Prosecutor for the International Tribunal for Rwanda. The Council requested the Secretary-General to make practical arrangements for the effective functioning of the International Tribunal, including recommendations to the Council as to possible locations for the seat of the Tribunal.

The Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for Rwanda, Judge Richard Goldstone, paid his first visit to the country on 19 and 20 December. He held detailed discussions with senior government officials as well as with the Secretary-General's Special Representative, and also met with representatives of United Nations agencies and NGOs operating in Rwanda.

The first stage of the operation of the Tribunal began with the establishment of an investigative/prosecutorial unit in Kigali. The unit's main functions were to establish the Prosecutor's Office, gather documents and information, initiate the process of recruitment, and develop the investigative strategy and field operating procedures. Initially, the Office of the Prosecutor in Kigali was almost entirely staffed by personnel contributed by Member States under agreements concluded between the United Nations and respective Governments.

Mr. Honoré Rakotomanana (Madagascar) was appointed as Deputy Prosecutor to assist with prosecutions before the International Tribunal. In January 1995, he initiated the process of investigations and officially took office on 20 March 1995. Investigations were to be carried out inside and outside Rwanda, notably in other African countries, Europe and North America, covering 400 identified suspects, most of whom had sought refuge abroad. Under article 28 of the statute of the Rwanda Tribunal, States were under an obligation to cooperate with the International Tribunal and to comply with any of its requests, including the arrest or detention of persons and the surrender or transfer of suspects.

The Secretary-General's search for the seat of the International Tribunal was guided by the Security Council's indication of a preference for an "African seat". Among the criteria for choosing the site were justice and fairness, which would require that trial proceedings be held in neutral territory, security and economy. A technical mission to identify suitable premises visited Rwanda and two of its neighbouring countries, Kenya and Tanzania, in the second half of December 1994. In view of the severe shortage of premises in Kigali and the decision by the Kenyan Government that it was unable to provide a seat for the Tribunal, the team concluded that the Arusha International Conference Centre could constitute suitable premises. The Secretary-General therefore recommended to the Security Council that, subject to appropriate arrangements acceptable to the Council, Arusha be determined as the seat of the International Tribunal for Rwanda. He drew the attention of the Council to the position of the Government of Rwanda that the seat of the Tribunal should be located in Kigali for the moral and educational value that its presence there would have for the local population. In a spirit of compromise and cooperation, however, the Rwandese Government had indicated that it would raise no objection to locating the seat of the Tribunal in a neighbouring State.

On 22 February, the Security Council, by its resolution 977 (1995), decided that, subject to the conclusion of appropriate arrangements between the United Nations and the Government of Tanzania, the International Tribunal for Rwanda should have its seat at Arusha. By resolution 978 (1995), adopted on 27 February, the Council urged States to arrest and detain, in accordance with their national law and relevant standards of international law, pending prosecution by the International Tribunal for Rwanda or by the appropriate national authorities, persons found within their territory against whom there was sufficient evidence that they were responsible for acts within the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal for Rwanda. It urged States to cooperate with representatives of ICRC and investigators for the International Tribunal, in order to secure unimpeded access to those persons. It also urged States, on whose territory serious acts of violence in the refugee camps had taken place, to arrest and submit to the appropriate authorities for prosecution persons against whom there was sufficient evidence that they had incited or participated in such acts.

On 7 March 1995, the Secretary-General addressed a letter to all States Members of the United Nations, as well as to non-member States maintaining permanent observer missions at United Nations Headquarters, inviting them to nominate judges for the Tribunal by 7 April 1995. Subsequently, the Security Council, by its resolution 989 (1995) of 24 April 1995, established a list of 12 candidates. On 25 May, six judges for the Trial Chambers were elected by the General Assembly. They were sworn in and their first plenary session was held from 26 to 30 June at The Hague. During that session, the judges elected Judge Laïty Kama (Senegal) President and Judge Yakov A. Ostrovsky (Russian Federation) Vice-President and adopted the rules of procedure and evidence of the Tribunal.

Security Council mission to Rwanda

The Security Council took advantage of its second fact-finding mission to Burundi to visit Rwanda on 12 and 13 February 1995. The mission was composed of China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, Nigeria and the United States. In its report to the Security Council on 28 February, the mission put forward a number of recommendations, including Government action in regard to (a) reinvigorating the political process; (b) a civic education programme; (c) an effective mechanism to protect property rights; (d) a transparent and effective judiciary; (e) a trained police force; (f) effective civil administration throughout the country; and (g) unimpeded access throughout the country for UNAMIR, humanitarian personnel and human rights monitors. The mission considered that, while national reconciliation was principally a task for the Rwandese themselves, the process could be facilitated by promoting repatriation and rehabilitation and by concrete movement in the area of justice.

The Kibeho tragedy

From February through May 1995, the security situation deteriorated, with reports that the armed forces of the former Rwandese Government were training and rearming. A number of those forces were apprehended in Rwanda, carrying arms, grenades and anti-personnel mines, with the result that RPA tightened security. These measures led to incidents involving United Nations and international staff. RPA denied UNAMIR access to parts of the country, searched and seized UNAMIR vehicles and other equipment and participated in anti-UNAMIR demonstrations. UNAMIR personnel were delayed or denied entry at Kigali airport. In addition, the fortnightly meetings between UNAMIR and RPA were suspended. Government authorities at the middle and lower levels were often uncooperative. In March, Radio Rwanda initiated a virulent propaganda campaign against UNAMIR. There were also cases of deliberate and unprovoked attacks on UNAMIR military personnel. Members of the Government expressed regret for the attacks, indicating that they were isolated acts.

Several factors contributed to the climate of tensions and frustrations. The military activities and reports of arms deliveries to elements of the former Rwandese government forces in neighbouring countries were sources of serious concern for the Government. The Government was also concerned that no effective limitations were seen to be placed on military training of those elements or on the delivery to them of arms supplies, while the arms embargo continued to apply to Rwanda. Another factor was the delay in bringing those responsible for the genocide to justice. In the Government's view, many of those responsible for the genocide continued to operate openly from abroad, the Tribunal had not yet begun its work, and the national judicial system, severely short of personnel and resources, was dependent on international support. Delivery of needed economic assistance was slow.

The Kibeho tragedy underscored the tensions and fears. On 18 April, the Rwandese Government took action to cordon off and close the eight remaining camps for internally displaced persons in the Gikongoro region, of which Kibeho was by far the largest. The Government considered the camps to be sanctuaries of elements of the former Rwandese government forces and militia; they were a destabilizing factor and represented a security threat. Negotiations were taking place between the Government and the United Nations for the voluntary closure of the camps when the decision to act was taken without notice or consultation. Seven of the camps were closed without serious incident. However, at Kibeho an estimated 80,000 internally displaced persons attempted to break out on 22 April, after spending 5 days on a single hill without adequate space, shelter, food or sanitation. A large number of deaths occurred from firing by government forces, trampling and crushing during the stampede and machete attacks by hardliners in the camp, who assaulted and intimidated those who wished to leave.

UNAMIR reacted immediately to provide transportation to displaced persons, casualty collection posts and emergency medical assistance and road repairs to facilitate movement of humanitarian convoys. Sick and injured internally displaced persons were evacuated by UNAMIR troops to medical facilities operated by NGOs in Butare. This evacuation procedure was at times hindered by restrictions on movement and denial of passage. The presence of UNAMIR troops at open relief centres, way stations and transit centres was increased, and patrols and monitoring were intensified. Senior UNAMIR officials, including the Special Representative and the Force Commander, visited Kibeho and the surrounding areas on several occasions to assess the situation on the ground, urge restraint and help to coordinate the activities of UNAMIR personnel and relief agencies.

The Secretary-General dispatched Mr. Aldo Ajello to Kigali as Special Envoy to convey his concern to the Rwandese leaders and urge the Government to undertake an impartial investigation. On 27 April, the Government announced that an independent International Commission of Inquiry would be set up consisting of representatives of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, OAU, the United Nations and the Government of Rwanda. After 3 weeks of persuasion through the combined efforts of UNAMIR and the Government of Rwanda, the approximately 2,500 internally displaced persons who had remained in Kibeho returned to their communes.

The report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry concluded that the tragedy of Kibeho was neither premeditated nor an accident that could not have been prevented. It recognized the efforts made by the Special Representative, UNAMIR, the Government of Rwanda and other organizations to keep the situation under control. It concluded that there was sufficient reliable evidence that unarmed internally displaced persons were subjected to serious human rights abuses committed by both RPA and armed elements in the camp. The Commission welcomed the initiative taken by the Rwandese Government to carry out an investigation at the national level. It also recommended that the international community continue encouraging and assisting Rwanda in its efforts to achieve justice, national reconciliation and reconstruction.

Humanitarian aspects

The consequences of the forced closure of internally displaced persons camps required a rapid and coordinated response of UNAMIR, UNREO, United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations, in particular the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and NGOs. The efforts were undertaken in cooperation with national and local authorities. Transportation assistance was provided by UNHCR, IOM, UNAMIR and NGOs to over 70,000 people; emergency medical facilities were set up to tend to the sick and wounded, mainly in Butare; way stations and open relief centres, managed and supported by NGOs, served as first-aid points and provided food, water and other emergency items to the former occupants of internally displaced persons camps.

During the month of May, WFP undertook the distribution of food items to a total of 420,000 beneficiaries from vulnerable groups. Emergency non-food assistance was continued to former camp populations. Other programmes of assistance included rehabilitation of hospitals and health centres by UNHCR, health training programmes undertaken by WHO and the United Nations Population Fund, water supply projects undertaken by UNICEF, and assistance by UNICEF to some 2,000 unaccompanied minors, of whom approximately 70 per cent were under the age of 5.

The relief effort was hampered by inadequate funding. As of 15 May, only $80 million was pledged against a total requirement of $219 million. The total contributions actually received amounted to $6.3 million only.

Security measures in the refugee camps

Deployment of the Zairian Camp Security Contingent got under way in early February. It reached 913 troops by 11 April and was operating in Kibumba, Katale/Kahindo and Mugunga/Lac Vert. Experts from the Netherlands and Switzerland arrived in Goma to serve in the Civilian Security Liaison Group, and the Governments of Benin, Burkina Faso and Cameroon each offered to provide between 10 and 20 experts to serve in the Group. UNHCR appointed Brigadier-General (retired) Ian Douglas of Canada as Commander of the Group. General Douglas took up his duties in Goma on 27 March 1995. The total cost of the security operation in Zaire, through the end of June, was estimated at $9.7 million.

A matter of concern was the persistent report of arms shipments into Goma airport, allegedly to arm the former Rwandese government forces, and of the training of these forces on Zairian territory. The allegations were rejected by the Chargé d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of Zaire to the United Nations. Furthermore, on the occasion of the OAU/UNHCR Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region, which took place from 15 to 17 February 1995 in Bujumbura, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zaire requested that an independent commission of inquiry be established to investigate and report on the matter.


During the first few months of 1995, the Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda (HRFOR) became fully operational. As of 1 April 1995, HRFOR was composed of 113 staff in 11 field offices, including 67 fixed-term staff, 34 United Nations Volunteers, and 12 human rights officers contributed by the Commission of the European Communities. In addition, there were 6 experts in investigations provided by the Governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland. The above number grew to 125 by the end of May.

The mandate of HRFOR was designed according to a three-pronged approach to confidence-building with a view towards eventual national reconciliation. First, HRFOR carried out extensive investigations of genocide and other serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law that took place during the April to July 1994 armed conflict. Second, it established a comprehensive presence of human rights field officers throughout the country to monitor the ongoing human rights situation. Third, it initiated a broad-based programme of promotional activities in the field of human rights, ranging from projects for the rebuilding of the Rwandese administration of justice to human rights education.

With regard to the investigation of the genocide, a special investigations unit was established to gather evidence which might otherwise have been lost or destroyed. All collected information was regularly forwarded to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur and the International Tribunal. The information placed before the Special Rapporteur and the Commission of Experts during 1994 was forwarded to the International Tribunal in January 1995. HRFOR continued its genocide-related investigations until the Deputy Prosecutor's Office, with its own investigations unit, was established in Kigali. Thereafter, the emphasis of HRFOR's investigative work shifted to coordinating activities of the field teams with the work of the International Tribunal. Information and evidentiary materials that were collected subsequently were again made available to the Special Rapporteur and personally handed over by the High Commissioner to the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Tribunal on 2 April 1995 in Kigali.

In addition, monitoring and reporting on the prevailing human rights situation constituted essential elements of HRFOR's mandate. It had been considered important for the post-genocide rehabilitation of Rwanda that the ongoing human rights situation be closely observed, that patterns of violations be identified and immediate action taken. During his third visit to Rwanda from 1 to 3 April 1995, the High Commissioner for Human Rights had the opportunity to discuss the most pressing problems confronting Rwanda with Government officials, particularly the establishment of an effective justice system. The Government fully recognized respect for human rights as a prerequisite for genuine confidence-building and national reconciliation and supported HRFOR's efforts in this regard. The Foreign Minister again conveyed the Government's wish that the number of Human Rights Officers be increased to 300.

Moreover, HRFOR played an important role in the process of repatriation and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons. In this context, HRFOR closely coordinated its activities with UNHCR. HRFOR's aim was to ensure that basic human rights were not violated at any stage of return, resettlement and reintegration, including the evaluation of the state of readiness of home communes as regards reception of returnees, as well as assisting these communes in the resettlement process and monitoring the subsequent treatment and security of resettled returnees.

Another priority for HRFOR was the serious situation in prisons and local detention centres. By the end of May 1995, there were approximately 42,000 detainees throughout the country, many of them held in inhumane conditions. Most of those detained were arrested outside the procedures laid down in Rwandese law, on accusations of involvement in the genocide, and there were initially no case files recording the allegations against them. HRFOR actively promoted respect for legal procedures governing arrest and detention, and, as an increasing number of Rwandese judicial officials were trained and deployed, there was gradual progress in this respect.

To cope with the tragedy of genocide and its aftermath and to make possible steps towards national reconciliation and rebuilding the principal organs of State administration, the re-establishment of the administration of justice was seen as a priority. HRFOR worked to assist in the rehabilitation of the justice system at national and local levels. The close contacts developed by HRFOR's field teams with local judicial officials enabled HRFOR to enhance judicial functions despite limitations of the system. HRFOR was thus able to assist in channelling material assistance made available by UNDP and donor countries to meet local needs, and to promote the gradual resumption of judicial functions. Three legal experts worked with the Ministry of Justice, and HRFOR developed, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and UNDP, a plan to deploy 50 foreign legal experts to assist the Government in restarting the judiciary. In September 1995, the Government asked to suspend this project for reexamination.

HRFOR actively supported respect for Rwandese law and human rights standards through efforts focused on establishing or re-establishing the governmental and non-governmental institutions necessary for the protection of human rights. It also provided training in international human rights standards to government officials, the Gendarmerie or RPA.

UNAMIR activities

During the first half of 1995, the UNAMIR military component maintained its authorized strength of 5,500 troops and 320 military observers. By February, UNAMIR's force structure and deployment had been adjusted as a result of security developments in the displaced persons camps and an increase in armed attacks by groups infiltrating across the border with Zaire as well as the additional security tasks under resolution 965. UNAMIR logistic resources were made available throughout the country, particularly to transport internally displaced persons and returning refugees and to help in the restoration of essential services and facilities, including the reconstruction of bridges, the repair of roads and water supply schemes. UNAMIR military observers maintained constant contact and coordination with the Government, human rights observers and United Nations agencies for the purpose of smooth and efficient movement and follow-up monitoring of resettled refugees and internally displaced persons.

CIVPOL had 89 observers on the ground by February. However, only 25 were French-speaking, putting a considerable strain on UNAMIR's ability to carry out its civilian police functions effectively. Additional personnel were also required to meet CIVPOL's expanded functions under resolution 965 (1994). The Secretary-General therefore proposed on 6 February that the component's authorized strength be raised from 90 to 120 police observers. The Security Council subsequently agreed. Notwithstanding this authorization and despite repeated requests to Member States, CIVPOL faced an acute shortage of personnel. By April 1995, CIVPOL strength had fallen to 58 police observers; by May the number had only risen to 64.

A major CIVPOL activity was the training of a new integrated national police force. A group of 300 gendarmes and 20 instructors completed an intensive 16-week training programme on 29 April and arrangements were made to start training 400 additional candidates in June over a period of four months. This was to be followed by the training of 100 instructors selected from the already-trained gendarmes. Other CIVPOL activities included monitoring the increasingly difficult situation in Rwanda's overcrowded prisons and provided monitoring and investigatory assistance to the human rights officers and the military and civilian components of UNAMIR. CIVPOL had teams of 3 to 4 observers in each of the 11 prefectures in the country working in close cooperation with local authorities, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations.


A new situation

On 4 June 1995, the Secretary-General informed the Council that the Government of Rwanda had raised questions about the future role of UNAMIR, whose mandate would expire on 9 June. Designed at a time when Rwanda was in the midst of a devastating genocide and civil war, UNAMIR's mandate included the responsibility of contributing to the security and protection of displaced persons, refugees and civilians at risk. The war and the genocide had come to an end with the establishment of the new Government on 19 July 1994. The Government made it clear that it would insist on a sharp reduction both in the scope of UNAMIR's tasks and in troop levels.

The Secretary-General suggested shifting the focus of the mandate from peacekeeping to confidence-building. This role would entail: (a) tasks specifically required to sustain a United Nations peacekeeping presence, including the protection of United Nations premises, protection of International Tribunal personnel and, as required, of United Nations agencies and NGOs; (b) tasks aimed at assisting the Government of Rwanda in confidence-building and in the promotion of a climate conducive to stability and to the return of refugees and displaced persons. These tasks would entail monitoring throughout the country with military/police observers, as a complement to human rights monitors; helping in the distribution of humanitarian assistance; facilitating the return and reintegration of refugees; providing assistance and expertise in engineering, logistics, medical care and de-mining; and stationing a limited reserve of formed troops in certain provinces to assist in the performance of the above tasks, as required.

The Secretary-General estimated that UNAMIR would require approximately 2,330 formed troops, 320 military observers and 65 civilian police. The proposed force would be structured along the following lines: an infantry battalion of 800 all ranks, based in Kigali and reinforced by essential support units; in addition, one independent infantry company would be deployed in each of the UNAMIR sectors of operation and would include elements from the support units or specialists, as required for specific humanitarian tasks. The reduction in UNAMIR's strength would begin as soon as possible and be implemented gradually, on the understanding that, after 9 June 1995, the infantry battalions currently deployed in the provinces would change over from their present tasks to those outlined above.

In consultations with the Special Representative, the Rwandese Government proposed a more limited role for UNAMIR. In the Government's view, national security and the protection of humanitarian convoys were its responsibility, as was border monitoring. The training programme carried out by CIVPOL should be replaced by bilateral arrangements. The Government proposed that UNAMIR be reduced to a maximum of 1,800 formed troops, deployed in Kigali and in the provinces. UNAMIR's mandate would be extended for six months with no further extensions.

In the Secretary-General's view, UNAMIR would not have the strength under the Government's proposal to perform adequately the tasks he had outlined. Because UNAMIR's continued presence in Rwanda depended on the consent and active cooperation of the Government, he intended to continue consultations with the Government. In the mean time, he recommended that the Security Council renew the mandate of UNAMIR, adjusted to accommodate the tasks he had outlined, for a period of six months ending on 9 December 1995. UNAMIR, in cooperation with UNDP, United Nations agencies and NGOs, would also assist in the implementation of an integrated multifunctional plan of action in the field of rehabilitation, resettlement, repair of infrastructure and the revival of justice. The funds committed to such projects could be channelled by donor countries through the Rwanda Trust Fund.

By its resolution 997 of 9 June 1995, the Security Council extended UNAMIR's mandate until 8 December 1995. It authorized a reduction of the force level to 2,330 troops within three months and to 1,800 troops within four months. It maintained the existing level of observers and police monitors. According to its adjusted mandate, UNAMIR would exercise its good offices, assist the Government in facilitating the voluntary and safe return of refugees, support the provision of humanitarian aid, assist in the training of a national police force, and contribute to the security of United Nations personnel and premises and, in case of need, to the security of humanitarian agencies. The Council also called upon States neighbouring Rwanda to ensure that arms and matériel, as specified in resolution 918, were not transferred to Rwandese camps within their territories. It requested the Secretary-General to consult with the Governments of those States on the possible deployment of United Nations military observers to monitor the sale or supply of arms and matériel as specified in resolution 918 (1994).

In the following weeks, the Government of Rwanda continued its efforts to enhance the administration of justice, establish law and order, promote national reconciliation and encourage the voluntary return of refugees. Steps were taken to improve relations with neighbouring countries, and Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire agreed to organize joint border patrols. Nevertheless, reports of infiltration and sabotage by armed elements, as well as allegations that members of the former government forces and militias were conducting military training and receiving deliveries of arms, had heightened tensions in the border areas and led the Government of Rwanda to enhance security measures. The Governments of Zaire and Rwanda accused each other of involvement. Rwanda requested that restrictions on its acquisition of arms be lifted.

To carry out consultations regarding deployment of United Nations military observers in countries neighbouring Rwanda, the Secretary-General appointed Mr. Aldo Ajello as his Special Envoy. Mr. Ajello visited the region from 20 to 28 June 1995. The countries concerned saw the uncontrolled circulation of arms, including to civilians and refugees in the subregion, as a major cause of destabilization, especially in Rwanda and Burundi. There were mixed reactions, however, to the idea of deploying military observers in neighbouring countries. While Rwanda supported the idea, some countries were reluctant to have such military observers stationed in their territory.

Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali visited Rwanda on 13 and 14 July 1995. During the visit, he held detailed discussions with senior government officials, including President Pasteur Bizimungu, Vice-President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu. National reconciliation, the maintenance of security within the country and along its borders, reconstruction and reports of the growing threat of destabilization beyond Rwanda's borders were high on the agenda in his discussions. The Secretary-General also had discussions in Uganda and Burundi. He reported a clear consensus that instability in any State in the area could have a dramatic effect on all its neighbours; destabilizing influences should be prevented through cooperative efforts. Strong interest was expressed by some countries in the establishment of an international commission, under the auspices of the United Nations, to address allegations of arms flows to former government forces.

The Secretary-General also discussed the idea of convening a regional conference that would consider the interrelated problems of peace, security and development, having in mind the adoption of a specific programme of action. In order to address the more urgent problems facing the repatriation of refugees, he suggested to convene a regional meeting aimed at developing concrete measures to fulfil commitments already entered into by Rwanda, neighbouring countries hosting Rwandese refugees and humanitarian agencies.

Arms embargo lifted

By its resolution 1011 (1995) of 16 August, the Security Council unanimously decided to lift its embargo on the sale of arms and related matériel to Rwanda until 1 September 1996, effective immediately. The flow of arms and matériel would be allowed through certain points of entry to be designated by the Rwandese Government. On 1 September 1996, the embargo would be terminated, unless otherwise decided by the Council. The Council continued its prohibition on the sale and supply of arms and related matériel to non-governmental forces in Rwanda and in neighbouring countries if they were for use in Rwanda.

The Government of Zaire expressed strong opposition to the lifting of the arms embargo on Rwanda, fearing an increase in tension and in the flow of refugees. It would be forced to derogate from the principle of non-refoulement of refugees for reasons of national security and in order to protect its own population. In a letter to the Secretary-General, the Prime Minister of Zaire stated that the adoption of resolution 1011 (1995) left him no choice but to request the Secretary-General to indicate "the arrangements made at the United Nations level in relation to the new country or countries of asylum to which the Rwandese and Burundi refugees should be evacuated". In the absence of any clear indication, the Government would "evacuate them to their country of origin at the expense of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, the United Nations and the Governments of their respective countries".

August 1995 refugee crisis

Despite the Secretary-General's urgent appeal, Zaire began forced repatriation of refugees on 19 August. To calm the crisis, the Secretary-General asked United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata to travel to Zaire. On 23 August, the Security Council called on the Government of Zaire to stand by its humanitarian obligations regarding refugees and to reconsider and halt its declared policy of forcible repatriation. It encouraged all Governments in the region to cooperate with UNHCR to achieve the voluntary and orderly repatriation of refugees.

Strong international pressure helped to avert a new tragedy. On 24 August, the Government of Zaire suspended its expulsion policy. Its announcement followed the forcible expulsion of approximately 13,000 people to Rwanda and the outflow of some 170,000 refugees, many from Burundi, out of the refugee camps into the hills of Zaire to avoid forced repatriation. The Government also welcomed a visit by the High Commissioner.

Mrs. Ogata met with the Prime Minister of Zaire in Geneva on 29 August. The Prime Minister wished the repatriation to be completed by 31 December 1995. The High Commissioner made it clear that a policy of forcible repatriation would not solve the problem. From 31 August to 7 September, the High Commissioner visited Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zaire. Mrs. Ogata found a strong convergence of interest on the importance of a safe, accelerated, organized and voluntary return of refugees. UNHCR would be able to set in motion such a repatriation if all commitments made during the High Commissioner's mission were respected. At the same time, there was need for immediate support from the international community for the efforts of UNHCR.

A meeting of the Tripartite Commission involving Rwanda, Tanzania and UNHCR met from 18 to 21 September at Arusha, at which practical measures were agreed for starting large-scale repatriation of the more than 600,000 Rwandese refugees in Tanzania. A meeting of the Tripartite Commission involving Zaire, Rwanda and UNHCR was held at Geneva on 25 September. In a joint communiqué, the parties reaffirmed commitments to create conditions for repatriation to Rwanda in a safe and organized manner. In anticipation of an increased rate of return, UNHCR augmented its facilities at official border entry points and, in cooperation with UNDP, expanded activities in the communes of origin.

Meanwhile, repatriation of Rwandese refugees from Burundi gained momentum. Between 5 and 25 September 1995, more than 4,000 refugees were repatriated under UNHCR auspices, bringing to a total of some 18,000 the refugees assisted by UNHCR since June 1995. UNHCR further estimated that an equal number had repatriated spontaneously. The number of Rwandese refugees remaining in Burundi was 155,000. From Zaire, which as of September 1995 hosted 1 million Rwandese refugees, UNHCR believed that a realistic target for voluntary repatriation was between 500,000 and 600,000 persons by the end of 1995.

Political situation in Rwanda

In August and September 1995, the political situation and the process of national reconciliation in Rwanda were influenced by two additional major events. The first was the departure of Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu, who left office on 28 August together with four other Cabinet Ministers. The second event was the killing of 110 villagers at Kanama, in north-western Rwanda, on 11 and 12 September, another in a spate of killings which had taken the lives of local and provincial government officials, clergymen and judges. The Government reacted quickly and managed to contain and counteract those events: first, it appointed a new Prime Minister, Mr. Pierre Celestin Rwigema, and replaced the departing Cabinet Ministers; secondly, the Vice-President and Defence Minister, Major-General Paul Kagame, visited Kanama the day after the killings, acknowledged RPA excesses and promised punishment of the guilty.

In the second part of October and November, a climate of relative security and stability continued to prevail within Rwanda. Some improvement in the socio-economic sectors also occurred, and the first effective steps towards the revival of the national judicial system were taken by the Government, with the appointment of the Supreme Court on 17 October.

At the same time, the former Rwandese Government Forces and armed militia continued their infiltration and sabotage campaigns along the Zaire-Rwanda border. These attacks, which usually triggered counter-measures and retaliation by Rwandese security forces, remained the most disturbing security problem facing Rwanda.

UNAMIR downsized

In accordance with the adjusted mandate, the activities of UNAMIR's military component shifted from providing security to assisting in the normalization of the country. The component also assisted in the delivery of humanitarian aid and the provision of engineering and logistical support. Furthermore, its strength was drawn down. As at 3 August 1995, there were 3,571 UNAMIR troops, all ranks; by 31 October, the force stood at 1,821 troops and 286 military observers.

During this period, UNAMIR helped construct and renovate detention centres to relieve the overcrowding in jails and assisted in the construction or repair of bridges, roads and schools and in the transport of humanitarian assistance, including food and medicines. Between 19 and 24 August, when Rwandese refugees were forced across the border from Zaire, UNAMIR troops and military observers, in coordination with UNHCR and other United Nations agencies, supported the Government's resettlement efforts by helping to construct transit camps. UNAMIR provided vehicles to help transport the returnees and contributed to a sense of confidence by its presence at the border checkpoints, in transit camps and in communes of destination.

As for CIVPOL activities, some 900 of the estimated 6,000 gendarmes needed had been trained. However, the training of the communal police was delayed because of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Communal Police Training Centre. CIVPOL also continued to carry out monitoring duties, together with the military observers, in areas including the prisons and other places of detention. As at 31 October 1995, a total of 85 police observers from 12 countries were deployed.

Other developments

A Headquarters Agreement relating to the seat of the Tribunal was signed on 31 August between the United Nations and Tanzania and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Rwanda covering the Prosecutor's office at Kigali was under negotiation. The President of the International Tribunal, the Prosecutor and the Registrar travelled to Rwanda for a three-day visit to discuss the Tribunal's operations, including the functioning of the Prosecutor's office in Rwanda. They also visited the seat of the Tribunal at Arusha, to inspect the premises designated for it, as well as a proposed prison site and accommodation arrangements for the Tribunal's staff.

By August, over 50,000 people were incarcerated in 12 prisons and various places of detention, although the prison capacity was only 12,250. At the beginning of October 1995, more than 52,000 people were incarcerated. As part of the working group established by the Special Representative, Mr. Khan, the Human Rights Field Operation worked to facilitate the processing of detainees' cases and to coordinate short- and medium-term initiatives for rehabilitating the judicial system. A Plan of Action, drafted by representatives of the Government of Rwanda and UNDP, for urgent action on prisons and in the justice sector was circulated to the international community. It was estimated that more than $43 million would be required for these purposes.

In September, the Nsinda detention centre, built with the assistance of UNAMIR, UNDP and ICRC, was completed. Two of seven temporary sites were near completion, and, in view of the gravity of the situation, WFP made five warehouses available as temporary detention sites.

As at 12 July 1995, the United Nations Trust Fund for Rwanda had received contributions amounting to $6.54 million. The Fund financed projects aimed at meeting emergency and rehabilitation needs, as well as the urgent requirements of essential government ministries. As at 1 August, a total of $116 million had been pledged against the sum of $219 million outlined in the 1995 Consolidated Inter-Agency Emergency Appeal for Rwanda.

In the field of economic and social assistance, donor countries and United Nations agencies met at Kigali on 6 and 7 July for a mid-term review of the Round-Table Conference held at Geneva in January 1995. Progress in rebuilding the country's infrastructure was reported, as was an increase in agricultural production. Formidable challenges remained, however, in the areas of resettlement, budgetary support, national capacity-building and industrial production. Following the mid-term review, there was a sizeable increase in the commitment and disbursement of funds pledged for the Government's Programme of National Reconciliation and Socio-Economic Rehabilitation and Recovery. As at 14 September, $523 million had been committed (up from $345 million in July) and $252 million disbursed (up from $86 million in July) against total pledges of $587 million made at Geneva in January 1995. In fact, since the Geneva Conference, total pledges had risen to $1,089 million. Some of these additional funds were to be disbursed over the period 1996-1997.

A joint programme of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and UNDP was developed to strengthen the Government's capacity to manage its economic, financial and human resources. By October 1995, through several food-for-work and income-generating activities, WFP was providing food for some 100,000 persons and assisting Rwanda's agricultural recovery, rehabilitation of destroyed infrastructure and construction of new houses, schools and water facilities. UNICEF, ICRC and several NGOs were also training local communities to manage their own water points. In addition, the international community continued to pursue a series of initiatives designed to help reinvigorate the Rwandese judicial system.

The United Nations Rwanda Emergency Office structure was officially closed at the end of October 1995. The United Nations Resident Coordinator subsequently assumed the responsibilities of United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and a support office was established to facilitate operations. It was foreseen that one of the principal activities of the Humanitarian Coordinator would be to ensure the continuity of humanitarian assistance to Rwanda following the departure of UNAMIR.51

During September and October 1995, a total of 32,190 refugees returned to Rwanda, mainly in UNHCR-organized convoys. The rate of return from Tanzania increased from 1,000 returnees in September to 2,000 in October, of whom 1,144 were new caseload refugees. Approximately 19,000 refugees returned from Zaire, 94 per cent of whom came under UNHCR auspices. Voluntary repatriation from Burundi, however, fell from 7,773 in September to 1,012 in October. According to most observers, the low number of returnees was to be attributed to the continuing campaign of intimidation and misinformation in the refugee camps.

Security Council welcomes progress

On 17 October, the Security Council welcomed progress made by the Government of Rwanda in the reconciliation process. To foster that process, an effective and credible national judiciary had to be established. At the same time, the Council reaffirmed its view that genuine reconciliation and long-lasting stability in the region as a whole could not be attained without the safe, voluntary and organized return to their country of all Rwandese refugees. The Council also called on Member States to comply with their obligations regarding cooperation with the International Tribunal for Rwanda, which should begin its proceedings as soon as possible.

The Council underlined that sound economic foundations were vital for achieving lasting stability in Rwanda. At the same time, it reiterated its concern at reports about continuing cross-border infiltrations from neighbouring countries, and at the danger for peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region which would be caused by uncontrolled arms flows. As for UNAMIR, the Council reaffirmed the Mission's important role in Rwanda and the subregion and was ready to study any further recommendations on the issue of force reductions in relation to the fulfilment of the mandate of UNAMIR.

Regional conference

The Secretary-General, convinced that stability in Rwanda went beyond its borders, continued his efforts to prepare the Regional Conference on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. His Special Envoy on the matter, Mr. José Luis Jésus (Cape Verde), held high-level consultations with OAU and the Governments of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

OAU and most of those Governments supported the idea. The Government of Rwanda, on the other hand, expressed strong opposition, and the Government of Uganda indicated that it was not keen to have the United Nations actively involved in this process. In the mean time, the Secretary-General welcomed a regional conference with similar objectives organized by former United States President Jimmy Carter in Cairo, Egypt. The conference was attended by the heads of State of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zaire and a representative of Tanzania. In a final declaration on 29 November 1995, the parties pledged to take concrete actions to advance peace, justice, reconciliation, stability and development in the region. Zaire and the United Republic of Tanzania pledged to isolate those elements in the camps who were intimidating refugees, and Rwanda guaranteed the safety of the returning refugees. The parties believed that the number of returning refugees should rise to 10,000 a day within a short time.


The Secretary-General advised the Security Council on 1 December 1995 that national reconciliation in Rwanda required the rapid creation of conditions to facilitate the safe return of refugees. Forced repatriation could well result in another humanitarian disaster. Efforts to induce a large-scale return would need a time-frame extending over three to six months. A large part of the international community therefore believed that a further six-month extension of UNAMIR's mandate was desirable. This view was shared among donor countries, most UNAMIR troop contributors, UNHCR, the International Tribunal, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations agencies, the Secretary-General of OAU, NGOs and Rwanda's neighbours. They felt that if UNAMIR was to be perceived as abandoning Rwanda at a critical time, it would send a discouraging message to the refugees, to the region and to the international community at large.

The Government of Rwanda, however, officially informed the Secretary-General that it did not agree to an extension of UNAMIR's mandate beyond its expiration on 8 December on the basis that, as a peacekeeping mission, UNAMIR did not respond to Rwanda's priority needs. However, the Government indicated that it would be receptive to a continued United Nations presence, provided its purpose was to assist Rwanda in its pressing tasks of rehabilitation and reconstruction, including the provision of technical expertise, financial assistance and equipment.

Since UNAMIR could not remain in Rwanda without the consent of the Government, the Secretary-General stated his intention to initiate the drawdown of the operation as of 8 December. He estimated that the withdrawal process would take two to three months to complete. During this period, UNAMIR would no longer be able to fulfil its mandate but would concentrate on ensuring its smooth and peaceful departure.

In the Secretary-General's view, the overarching objective of the United Nations was the restoration of peace and stability not only in Rwanda but in the region as a whole. The United Nations still had a useful role to play in political efforts to this end. He recommended, therefore, that the United Nations should maintain a political presence in Rwanda after the withdrawal of UNAMIR. A United Nations office, headed by the Special Representative, could be established with a view to furthering, in consultation with the Government of Rwanda, the search for peace and stability through justice and reconciliation. The Special Representative would continue to have overall authority for the coordination of international assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Following an extension of UNAMIR's mandate from 8 to 12 December 1995, the Security Council, by its resolution 1029 (1995) of 12 December, extended the mandate for a final period until 8 March 1996. During that time, UNAMIR would exercise its good offices, assist in voluntary and safe repatriation of refugees, support the Government's efforts to promote a climate of confidence and trust, and assist UNHCR and the agencies in the provision of logistical support for repatriation. It would also contribute to the protection of the International Tribunal as an interim measure until alternative arrangements agreed with the Government could be put in place. The Council requested the Secretary-General to withdraw CIVPOL and to reduce the force level to 1,200 troops and 200 military observers and military support staff. Final withdrawal of all UNAMIR elements was to take place six weeks after the end of the mandate.

The UNAMIR Force Commander, General Tousignant, left the mission area on 15 December 1995 upon completion of his tour of duty, and Brigadier-General Siva Kumar (India) was designated as Acting Force Commander. By January 1996, the civilian police component of UNAMIR ceased its activities and all remaining CIVPOL personnel were repatriated.

On 16 January 1996, the Permanent Representative of Canada formally notified the Secretary-General that his Government had decided to withdraw its participation in UNAMIR. The Government considered that the UNAMIR mandate, as adjusted in December 1995, was not viable in the light of the reduction of the force level. With the departure of this key logistic support unit, and unable to make alternative arrangements in the time remaining, the Acting Force Commander took steps to restrict the remaining UNAMIR strength to a garrison mode in Kigali.

The reduction of the UNAMIR force level to 1,200 formed troops and 200 military observers and headquarters staff was achieved by early February. In addition to the formed troops in Kigali, UNAMIR logistic bases, consisting of about 40 personnel each, were deployed at Nyundo, near Gisenyi, and Shagasha, near Cyangugu, to assist in the return of refugees. The troops stationed in Kigali were tasked, among other things, to contribute to the security of the Tribunal, the provision of humanitarian assistance and the protection of United Nations property and assets. A small contingent was also deployed at Kibuye for the protection of members of the Tribunal working in that town.

When the Burundi authorities closed the camp of Ntamba in the first week of February, UNAMIR troops and military observers, working in support of UNHCR and other agencies, provided assistance to resettle the returnees. Tasks performed by UNAMIR also included the construction and improvement of transit camps, transportation on behalf of United Nations agencies and other partners, and engineering work, including road and bridge repair. UNAMIR assisted RPA in transporting a number of weapons systems and major pieces of equipment belonging to Rwanda, which were returned by Zaire on 13 February. Military observers continued to patrol and monitor the situation. However, the reduction in the number of military observers curtailed the Mission's reporting and investigation capabilities.

UNHCR, Rwanda and the countries hosting some 1.7 million Rwandese refugees, namely, Zaire, Burundi and Tanzania, made a concerted effort to accelerate the voluntary return of refugees. From an average of around 5,000 a month through much of 1995, January 1996 saw the number of returnees increase to more than 14,000. In the first three weeks of February alone, refugee returns topped 20,000.

The pace of return, however, was not uniform. Following intensive discussions among Zaire, Rwanda and UNHCR to implement decisions taken by the Tripartite Commission at its meeting in December 1995, which included a proposal for targeted voluntary repatriation leading to the closure of camps, an operation launched by Zaire began on 13 February. However, the number of refugees returning from Zaire remained very low.

Refugee returns from Burundi increased dramatically in February in the wake of fighting in the northern part of the country, which emptied two Rwandese refugee camps. Following the abandonment of the Ntamba camp in Burundi by some 14,000 refugees fearing the spread of ethnic fighting, on 27 January a delegation led by Rwanda's Minister for Rehabilitation and Social Integration visited Ntamba to urge refugees who had returned to the camp to go back to Rwanda. Members of the Burundi/Rwanda/UNHCR Tripartite Commission and a second delegation from Rwanda also made efforts to persuade those remaining to repatriate rather than follow the bulk of the camp's residents into the United Republic of Tanzania. As a result, more than 4,400 Rwandese decided to repatriate during the first two days of February and the camp was subsequently closed.

Commission of inquiry

On 13 March 1996, the Secretary-General transmitted to the Security Council the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry. Under the terms of its resolution 1011 (1995) of 16 August 1995, the Security Council had requested the Secretary-General to make recommendations on the establishment of a commission mandated to conduct a full investigation of alleged arms flows to former Rwandese government forces in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. The Secretary-General did so on 25 August.

According to the recommendations, the proposed commission would collect information and investigate reports relating to the sale or supply of arms and related matériel to former Rwandese government forces and attempt to identify parties aiding or abetting the illegal acquisition of arms and recommend measures to curb their illegal flow. It would also investigate allegations that such forces were receiving military training. The Secretary-General noted that the proposal to establish such a commission had initially been made by the Government of Zaire. He therefore recommended that the commission commence its work in Zaire. In the mean time, he would pursue consultations with the other concerned countries in the region, so that the commission could extend its work to those countries.

The Security Council, by its resolution 1013 (1995) of 7 September, requested the Secretary-General to establish the commission, as a matter of urgency. On 16 October 1995, the Secretary-General informed the Council that arrangements had been completed. The Commission consisted of six members, as follows: Ambassador Mahmoud Kassem, Egypt (Chairman); Inspector Jean-Michel Hanssens, Canada; Colonel Jürgen G. H. Almeling, Germany; Lt. Colonel Jan Meijvogel, Netherlands; Brigadier Mujahid Alam, Pakistan; Colonel Lamek Mutanda, Zimbabwe. The International Commission of Inquiry began its work in the Great Lakes region on 3 November and submitted an interim report to the Council on 26 January 1996.

In its final report, the Commission found that a "highly probable" violation of the arms embargo had taken place in June 1994 involving more than 80 tons of weapons purchased in Seychelles by Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, a high-ranking officer of the former Rwandese government forces. Since Colonel Bagosora had bought the weapons on the authority of an end-user certificate apparently signed by the Zairian Vice-Minister of Defence, had signed for the weapons on behalf of the Forces Armées Zaïroises and had chartered an Air Zaire DC-8 aircraft to transport them to Goma airport in Zaire before delivering them to the Rwandese army in Gisenyi, the Commission also concluded that the Government of Zaire, or elements within it, had aided and abetted in this violation of the embargo.

The Commission's recommendations concerned mechanisms to monitor, implement and enforce Security Council resolutions, to gather information and preserve evidence; measures designed to foster stability in the subregion; confidence-building measures designed to reduce the flow of arms in the subregion; the further investigation of violations which had or might have taken place; and measures to deter further violations of the embargo.

On 23 April 1996, the Security Council adopted resolution 1053 (1996), requesting the Secretary-General to retain the Commission to maintain contacts with the Governments of the Great Lakes region, to follow up its earlier investigations, to respond to any further allegations of violations and to make periodic reports to the Council on the evolution of the situation with regard to compliance with relevant Council resolutions. The Commission was expected to return to the Great Lakes region for these purposes and to report in September 1996.

UNAMIR's mandate ends

On 8 March 1996, as UNAMIR's mandate was ending, the Security Council, in its resolution 1050 (1996), paid tribute to the work of UNAMIR and to the personnel who served in it. It also took note of arrangements for the withdrawal of UNAMIR starting on 9 March. The Council authorized those elements of UNAMIR remaining in Rwanda prior to their final withdrawal to contribute, with the agreement of the Government, to the protection of the personnel and premises of the International Tribunal. At the same time, the Council encouraged the Secretary-General to maintain a United Nations office in Rwanda for the purpose of supporting the efforts of the Government to promote national reconciliation, strengthen the judicial system, facilitate the return of refugees and rehabilitate the country's infrastructure, and of coordinating United Nations efforts to that end.

Throughout March and April 1996, discussions continued between the United Nations and the Government on modalities of the United Nations presence in Rwanda following the withdrawal of UNAMIR. That withdrawal was completed on 19 April. On 24 April, following a visit by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Marrack Goulding, the Government announced that it had agreed to the establishment of the United Nations Office in Rwanda.

Although the Government consistently supported the presence of the Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda and expressed the wish that it be maintained after the departure of UNAMIR, by mid-March 1996 the number of human rights monitors had decreased to 78 of a total staff on the ground of 95. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights considered that 120 human rights field officers constituted the minimum presence necessary. However the absence of sufficient financial resources made it impossible to maintain that number.


Five years after the event, the United Nations and the whole international community remained accused of not having prevented the genocide. In view of the enormity of what happened, and the questions that continued to surround the actions of the United Nations and its Member States before and during the crisis, in March 1999 the Secretary-General, with the approval of the Security Council, commissioned an independent inquiry into those actions. The members included 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).

The findings of the inquiry were made public on 15 December 1999. The inquiry concluded that the overriding failure in international community’s response was the lack of resources and political will, as well as errors of judgement as to the nature of the events in Rwanda. Expressing deep remorse over the failure to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, the Secretary-General, in a statement on 16 December, said that he fully accepted the conclusions of the report. He welcomed the emphasis which the inquiry had put on the lessons to be learned, and its recommendations to ensure that the United Nations and the international community could and would act to prevent or halt any other such catastrophe in the future.

(c)United Nations


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