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Britain's Hidden Role in the Rwandan Genocide: The Cat's Paw

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Abstract

Britain’s Hidden Role in the Rwandan Genocide examines the role of the United Kingdom as a global elite bystander to the crime of genocide, and its complicity, in violation of international criminal laws during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. As prevailing accounts confine themselves to the role and actions of the United States and the United Nations, the full picture of Rwanda’s genocide has yet to be revealed. Hazel Cameron demonstrates that it is the unravelling of the criminal role and actions of the British that illuminates a more detailed answer to the question of‘why’ the genocide in Rwanda occurred. In this book, she provides a systematic and detailed analysis of the policies of the British Government towards civil unrest in Rwanda throughout the 1990s that culminated in genocide. Utilising documentary evidence obtained as a result of Freedom of Information requests to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as well as material obtained through extensive interviews - with British government cabinet members, diplomats, Ambassadors to the United Nations Security Council, prisoners in Rwanda convicted of being leaders and organisers of genocide, and victims and survivors of genocide in Rwanda the author finds that the actions of the British and French governments, both before and during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, were disassociated from human rights norms. It is suggested herein that the decision-making of the Major government during the period of 1990-1994 was for the advancement of the interrelated goals of maintaining power status and ensuring economic interests in key areas of Africa.
... More importantly, economic realism is useful to highlight the fact that European actors always make sure that their decisions on intervention do not harm their economic interests. I prefer this formulation ('do not harm') to traditional explanations, which overemphasise the influence of geostrategic and economic motives (Bordat 2009: 61;Cameron 2013). The best example for this is when France, less than four weeks into its intervention in Libya in 2011, sent a delegation of businesses to the transitional government to make sure it would be rewarded in economic terms. ...
Chapter
The aim of this chapter is not to trace the development of the EU’s foreign policy or to provide a comprehensive discussion of particular cases. Our objective is to examine some of the challenges that the EU faces in trying to act “strategically” in geopolitical spaces in close proximity and which have been traditionally sources of the types of conflict that led to the reasons for the creation of the Union in the 1950s. The global reach of the EU and its member states inevitably means that it takes on many different roles in its foreign policy and approaches to international relations. However, we will focus on two areas that are particularly useful to illustrate the challenges the EU faces in being a strategic actor as well as the continuing or growing nationalization of foreign policy: its actions in the Balkans and the EU’s relations with Russia. Our argument is that both areas present not only foreign policy challenges but also existential issues that point to the EU’s lack of ontological security. They highlight the tension in the growing need to make strategic choices in both cases while remaining consistent with its narrative of a benign, normative power.
... More importantly, economic realism is useful to highlight the fact that European actors always make sure that their decisions on intervention do not harm their economic interests. I prefer this formulation ('do not harm') to traditional explanations, which overemphasise the influence of geostrategic and economic motives (Bordat 2009: 61;Cameron 2013). The best example for this is when France, less than four weeks into its intervention in Libya in 2011, sent a delegation of businesses to the transitional government to make sure it would be rewarded in economic terms. ...
Book
Russia’s intervention in the Ukraine, Donald Trump’s presidency and instability in the Middle East are just a few of the factors that have brought an end to the immediate post-Cold War belief that a new international order was emerging: one where fear and uncertainty gave way to a thick normative and institutional architecture that diminished the importance of material power. This has raised questions about the instruments we use to understand order in Europe and in international relations. The chapters in this book aim to assess whether foreign policy actors in Europe understand the international system and behave as realists. They ask what drives their behaviour, how they construct material capabilities and to what extent they see material power as the means to ensure survival. They contribute to a critical assessment of realism as a way to understand both Europe’s current predicament and the contemporary international system. Roberto Belloni is professor of political science at the University of Trento, Italy. Vincent Della Sala is associate professor of political science at the University of Trento, Italy. Paul Viotti is professor at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies and Executive Director of the Institute on Globalization and Security, USA.
... More importantly, economic realism is useful to highlight the fact that European actors always make sure that their decisions on intervention do not harm their economic interests. I prefer this formulation ('do not harm') to traditional explanations, which overemphasise the influence of geostrategic and economic motives (Bordat 2009: 61;Cameron 2013). The best example for this is when France, less than four weeks into its intervention in Libya in 2011, sent a delegation of businesses to the transitional government to make sure it would be rewarded in economic terms. ...
... This occurs most obviously with respect to wars initiated by powerful states, as witnessed in recent years during the influential 'PR' campaigns led by the US and UK governments aimed at persuading domestic and international audiences as to the threat posed by Iraq (Herring and Robinson 2014;Mearsheimer 2011). Other recent research has highlighted the ways in which powerful states have sort to shape media and public understandings of conflicts such as the 1994 Rwandan Genocide (Cameron 2013) and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Philo and Berry 2004). ...
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After the 'CNN Effect' concept was coined two decades ago, it quickly became a useful shorthand to understand media-conflict interactions. Although the connection has probably always been more complex than what was captured in this concept, current research even more so reflects the need to have updated mechanisms to better understand the complex contemporary environments of both media and conflict. There are growing numbers and types of media sources, and more nuanced interactions between media and conflict actors, policymakers and engaged publics from the local to the global and back. Understanding the impact of media reporting on conflict requires a new framework that is better equipped to understand the multi-level and hybrid media environments of contemporary conflicts. This paper provides a roadmap of how to systematically unpack this environment. It accounts for how different levels, interactions, and forms of news reporting shape conflicts and peacebuilding in local, national and regional contexts, and for how international responses interact with multiple media " narratives ". With these tools, comprehensive understandings of contemporary local to global media interactions can be incorporated into new research on peace and conflict.
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This paper broadly examines the continued nuancing of the practice of democracy in Africa with a focus on how Africa's democratic governance is increasingly getting influenced by new actors in the international system, who are driving the formation of a new world order that challenges the current unipolar liberal global order. The paper traces the origins and rationale of the democratization project in Africa and uses this as a basis to delve into some issues around which many African countries have increasingly been engaging with new actors. These broad aspects include: Africa's international relations, peace and security; civil liberties as well as investments and trade. This paper contends that some states in Africa are charting middle grounds that increasingly, specifically align with their national/ elite interests, and broadly, is in tune with the consolidating discourse on Africa Rising.
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Black Earth Rising includes only one brief reference to Hamlet, albeit in a decisive moment concerned with unearthing the covered grave of forgotten parents whom the protagonist has only just begun to remember. It is thus a highly self-reflexive moment in which the link to a hitherto neglected antecedent is introduced, a link that invites viewers to reconsider the action of Black Earth Rising in the light of Hamlet. This chapter discusses how the series translocates Hamlet’s detection of a hidden political crime to post-genocide Rwanda in its international relations. It focuses on the tension between remembrance, revenge, and reconciliation, on the ghostly apparitions of the dead father, on the different endings of the revenge tragedy and the series, and on the meta-adaptational plant imagery in Black Earth Rising.
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This article uses a case study to interrogate the politics of French in Africa. It examines French involvement in the Rwandan Civil War (1990–1994), and argues that by conceptualising institutions such as La Francophonie as “cultural” bodies, we risk obscuring their properly political functions. Through a consideration of the history of language in French colonial thought, and the translation of that history into the post-colonial idea of francophonie, the article foregrounds the political and economic benefits that France has received as a result of the spread of its language and culture. The article also provides an account of the role played by language and culture in France's decision to support the Habyarimana government in a war that culminated in genocide. Ultimately, it argues for the importance of recognising linguistic organisations as political entities.
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We live in a visual age. Images and visual artefacts shape international events and our understanding of them. Photographs, film and television influence how we view and approach phenomena as diverse as war, diplomacy, financial crises and election campaigns. Other visual fields, from art and cartoons to maps, monuments and videogames, frame how politics is perceived and enacted. Drones, satellites and surveillance cameras watch us around the clock and deliver images that are then put to political use. Add to this that new technologies now allow for a rapid distribution of still and moving images around the world. Digital media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, play an important role across the political spectrum, from terrorist recruitment drives to social justice campaigns. This book offers the first comprehensive engagement with visual global politics. Written by leading experts in numerous scholarly disciplines and presented in accessible and engaging language, Visual Global Politics is a one-stop source for students, scholars and practitioners interested in understanding the crucial and persistent role of images in today’s world.
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This chapter argues that the realist approach, with an emphasis on the concepts of fear and uncertainty, supplemented with neo-colonialist approaches, provide the best way to understand European military intervention in Africa since the end of the Cold War. European military intervention in the region is essentially French intervention. It mostly takes place in former colonies, and for security and prestige motives. French foreign policy in Africa is moving away from some aspects of neo-colonialism. British military intervention has been very rare, but it is now increasing with the fight against terrorism and the desire to promote British prestige with the United States. Motives for EU intervention have changed. In the 2003–2008 period, it was to acquire prestige, but since 2008 it has been to bring stability to African regions in conflict, protect EU economic interests and show a humanitarian face to the world. The first section of the chapter analyses the realist and neo-colonial approaches to motives for intervention. The second looks at the rhetoric related to relations with Africa of France, the United Kingdom and the European Union and argues that these actors emphasise the importance of humanitarianism because of their fear of uncertainty and instability. The third gives an overview of motives for intervention of these three actors and demonstrates that security and prestige interests matter for all actors, whereas neo-colonialism is waning.
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Rogers pays close attention to the underlying material conditions and the more immediate circumstances that gave rise to a second pair of tribunals designed to prosecute mass atrocity. This chapter argues that the consensus within the UN Security Council to establish ad-hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda reflects the rise of US global hegemony in the aftermath of the Cold War. The chapter reveals the real purpose behind these ad-hoc tribunals was the UN Security Council’s wish to reassert its primacy in world affairs. Casting light on contemporaneous peace-building efforts, this chapter suggests these tribunals are best understood in the context of neoliberalism’s spread from the 1970s up until the 1990s. Rogers goes as far as to claim these prosecutions of mass atrocity are a continuation of the politico-cultural civil war fought for control over the modernity project.
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In Rwandan genocidal discourse, there is an overwhelming memory of Tutsi deaths in the public domain but less for the Hutu. In fact, Hutus are grouped together as genociders even though some of them were victims of the genocide. Privately, individualized accounts of Hutus possibly points to a potential disconnect between the public memory of the genocide and personalized accounts. Perhaps, a greater deal of focus on private memory is necessary to delve into the complexities. Individual narratives are useful in providing answers to questions regarding political, societal and economic contexts of mass atrocities such as genocides. Through memory scholarship, a diversification of public understanding courtesy of personal stories is perhaps possible. An acknowledgment of other stories does not minimize conventional stories but open up spaces for more inclusive discourses.
Thesis
Full-text available
In Rwandan genocidal discourse, there is an overwhelming memory of Tutsi deaths in the public domain but less for the Hutu. In fact, Hutus are grouped together as genociders even though some of them were victims of the genocide. Privately, individualized accounts of Hutus possibly points to a potential disconnect between the public memory of the genocide and personalized accounts. Perhaps, a greater deal of focus on private memory is necessary to delve into the complexities. Individual narratives are useful in providing answers to questions regarding political, societal and economic contexts of mass atrocities such as genocides. Through memory scholarship, a diversification of public understanding courtesy of personal stories is perhaps possible. An acknowledgment of other stories does not minimize conventional stories but open up spaces for more inclusive discourses.
Article
Full-text available
After the ‘CNN effect’ concept was coined two decades ago, it quickly became a popular shorthand to understand media-conflict interactions. Although the connection has probably always been more complex than what was captured in the concept, research needs to be updated in order to better understand the multifaceted contemporary environments of both media and conflict. There are growing numbers and types of media sources, and multiple interactions between media and conflict actors, policymakers and engaged publics from the local to the global and back. We argue that understanding the impact of media reporting on conflict requires a new framework that captures the multilevel and hybrid media environments of contemporary conflicts. This study provides a roadmap of how to systematically unpack this environment. It describes and explains how different levels, interactions, and forms of news reporting shape conflicts and peacebuilding in local, national and regional contexts, and how international responses interact with multiple media narratives. With these tools, comprehensive understandings of contemporary local to global media interactions can be incorporated into new research on media and conflict.
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The study of victims of crime is a central concern for criminologists around the world. In recent years, some victimologists have become increasingly engaged in positivist debates on the differences between victims and non-victims, how these differences can be measured and what could be done to improve the victims' experience of the criminal justice system. Written by experts in the field, this book embraces a much wider understanding of social harms and asks which victims' voices are heard and why.
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Featuring contributions by many of the leading scholars in the field, this seminal text explores the key themes and debates on state power today, in relation to crime and social order. It critically evaluates a range of substantive areas of criminological concern, including terrorism, surveillance, violence, and the media. In 1978, with the publication of Hall et al's Policing the Crisis and Poulantzas's State, Power, Socialism, the complexity of the state's interventions in maintaining a capitalist social order were laid bare for critical criminological analysis. State, Power, Crime offers an up to date and comprehensive examination of the challenges posed by state power, in relation to both criminal and social justice.
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In the annals of foreign military intervention in independent Africa, it has been French forces that have been involved far more often than any other outside power. At least eighteen times in the last twenty-five years French troops have invaded African soil. But equally significant, and indeed providing the platform for the more dramatic interventions, are the extensive networks of regular military co-operation. Several single explanations of France’s militarism in Africa are explored: that it preserves French capital’s interests; that it protects multinational, especially US, interests; that it promotes the interests of a military-industrial complex; that it cements alliances with African states, but particularly with certain ruling classes and regimes. An effort is made to situate these perspectives in a more nuanced view of French imperialism and the French state. Finally, the new departures and the continuities of policy under the Socialist government are reviewed.
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The twentieth century has been well described as an “age of extremes.” There were two world wars, major revolutions, colonial and anticolonial conflicts, and other catastrophes. All too often mass murder of noncombatant civilians marred these conflicts. The murders were usually state-sponsored or officially sanctioned. Indeed, by midcentury the pattern struck some scholars as so alarming that they began groping for new words to describe it. The Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin introduced the concept of genocide in a small book published during the Second World War. Later he helped prod the United Nations into formulating its Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. The convention defined genocide broadly as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” These acts included killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group and also deliberately inflicting conditions on a people such as “to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” The convention condemned measures like the prevention of births so that a people would die out and forcible transfer of a group’s children to another group. Because the Genocide Convention is a good starting point for discussion of the phenomenon, we analyze both its nature and its implications.
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Opening Paragraph The nature of ethnic interaction has been at the heart of a longstanding debate on the characteristics of Rwanda's precolonial political system. Until recently, the historical referents for such discussion, and in particular the origins of the Rwandan state and its social institutions have been seen as far too remote to base conclusions on empirical data. Consequently the debate has tended to be formulated in terms of logical constructs, rather than in terms of empirical reconstruction of the historical processes involved.
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The culture of the powerful has yet to receive the scrutiny required for social science to build up a full picture of social relations. This paper attempts to examine the problems that confront the researcher in the study of powerful groups and institutions in our society. It is based on the author's experience of working on the first piece of independent social science research commissioned by the British Ministry of Defence — an enquiry into the relations between the military and the media at times of armed conflict, with particular reference to the Falklands conflict of 1982. Powerful interests will not provide the opportunity for social scientists to study their workings at first hand. However with the increased involvement of these interests in the sponsorship of research the social scientist is in a position to relate his or her dealings with the powerful as part of the research process. The paper focusses on four aspects of the research process: the commissioning of the project, the negotiation of access to the key figures and documentary material, the research techniques used, and the response to the findings of the study.
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France is now the world's second largest armsexporter, and the largest supplier of weapons to thedeveloping world. The record of France's involvementin Rwanda from 1990 to 1994 has motivated the NGOlobby within France to subject French governmentpolicy – towards the developing world in general, andon arms supplies in particular – to unprecedentedscrutiny. Accordingly, the level and volume ofcriticism of French involvement in Rwanda resulted inthe first ever parliamentary commission to scrutiniseFrench military activity overseas, although this andother official inquiries stopped short of identifyingarms supplies as instrumental in exacerbating theRwandan crisis. A consideration ofFrench arms supplies to Rwanda can offer a template bywhich to measure the nature and degree of France'ssupport for the Habyarimana regime which planned, andthe Sindikubwabo interim government which oversaw, the1994 genocide in that country. Moreover, French armssupplies after France's own and the UN's arms embargodemonstrate how a process of unchecked militarisationmay involve the supplier as well as the supplied inillegality.
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This article traces the rise of humanitarian interventionist ideas in the US from 1991 to 2003. Until 1997, humanitarian intervention was a relatively limited affair, conceived ad hoc more than systematically, prioritized below multilateralism, aiming to relieve suffering without transforming foreign polities. For this reason, US leaders and citizens scarcely contemplated armed intervention in the Rwandan genocide of 1994: the US 'duty to stop genocide' was a norm still under development. It flourished only in the late 1990s, when humanitarian interventionism, like neoconservatism, became popular in the US establishment and enthusiastic in urging military invasion to remake societies. Now inaction in Rwanda looked outrageous. Stopping the genocide seemed, in retrospect, easily achieved by 5,000 troops, a projection that ignored serious obstacles. On the whole, humanitarian interventionists tended to understate difficulties of halting ethnic conflict, ignore challenges of postconflict reconstruction, discount constraints imposed by public opinion, and override multilateral procedures. These assumptions primed politicians and the public to regard the Iraq war of 2003 as virtuous at best and unworthy of strenuous dissent at worst. The normative commitment to stop mass killing outstripped US or international capabilities—a formula for dashed hopes and dangerous deployments that lives on in the 'responsibility to protect'.
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The Herero were the first ethnic group to be subjected to genocide in the twentieth century. In 2001, the Herero became the first ethnic group to seek reparations for colonial policies that fit the definition of genocide. The Herero are the latest plaintiff to use the procedures of the Alien Torts Claim Act of 1789 to seek reparations in a US federal court for war crimes committed overseas. This article analyzes the legal arguments by Hereros against Germany within the context of current understandings of international law and identifies the challenges that lie ahead for this claim. The article also explores the implications of the Herero claim for other ethnic groups victimized by colonization.
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Any adequate account of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda must acknowledge manipulation by external forces, domestic pressures and psychological factors. Even so, the nature of the Rwandan state must be seen as absolutely central. The genocide took place under the aegis of the state, and Rwandans were the main actors involved. Both precolonial legacies and colonial policies contributed to the formation of this state, whose increasingly autocratic and unpopular government was, by the early 1990s, facing serious threats to its hold on state power, for which genocide represented a last-ditch attempt at survival. Many of the mechanisms through which genocide was prepared, implemented and justi®ed in Rwanda bore striking resemblances to those used during the twentieth century's other major genocide, the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews.