A People Betrayed. The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide.

Events in Rwanda in 1994 mark a landmark in the history of modern genocide. Up to one million people were killed in a planned public and political campaign. In the face of indisputable evidence, the Security Council of the United Nations failed to respond.

In this classic of investigative journalism, Linda Melvern tells the compelling story of what happened.

She holds governments to account, showing how individuals could have prevented what was happening and didn't do so. The book also reveals the unrecognised heroism of those who stayed on during the genocide, volunteer peacekeepers and those who ran emergency medical care.

Fifteen years on, this new edition examines the ongoing impact of the 1948 Genocide Convention and the shock waves Rwanda caused around the world. Based on fresh interviews with key players and newly-released documents, A People Betrayed is a shocking indictment of the way Rwanda is and was forgotten and how today it is remembered in the West.

A People Betrayed contains a full narrative account of how the genocide unfolded.

It describes its scale, speed and intensity. The combination of revelations about the complicity of western nations, the failure to intervene, and the suppression of information about what was actually happening, is a shocking indictment, not just of the UN Security Council, but even more so of governments and individual who could have prevented what was happening but chose not to do so.

The United Nations, which fifty years ago resolved that genocide never happened again, not only failed to prevent it happening in Rwanda, but, as this book shows, international funds intended to help the Rwandan economy actually helped to create the conditions that made the genocide possible.

The best overall account of the background to the genocide, and the failure to prevent it...the investigation is hers, and hers alone. She discovered so much that we did not know.

Lt-.General Romeo Dallaire. Force Commander UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda, (UNAMIR) 1994.

We may soon learn France\'s real role in the Rwanda genocide

www.theguardian.com by Linda Melvern

In a milestone court case in Paris, unprecedented testimony could reveal the Elysée\'s links to the 1994 génocidaires

‘The policy was devised in secret … within the confines of the Africa Unit. At its heart was François Mitterrand.

The trial this week of a Rwandan genocide suspect in a Paris courtroom is a well-earned victory for the French human rights groups who lobbied so hard and so long for justice. The milestone trial signals the end of France as a safe haven for génocidaries. But more than this, the trial is likely to see intense public scrutiny of one of the great scandals of the past century – the role of France in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi of Rwanda, which for 20 years journalists and activists have tried so hard to expose.

Pascal Simbikangwa, the defendant in Paris, is said to have been a member of an inner circle of power in Rwanda that devised genocide as a planned political campaign. Developed by Hutu ideologues, it was intended to prevent a power-sharing system of government that was to include the minority Tutsi. The genocide claimed up to a million lives.

A captain in the Rwandan gendarmerie until 1986, when he was paralysed in a car accident, Simbikangwa – a fanatic who hoped to create what was known as \"a pure Hutu state\" – worked for the security services in the capital Kigali. He was eventually found hiding out in the French department of Mayotte, an island group in the Indian Ocean, with 3,000 forged identity papers – more than enough for the hundreds of Rwandan fugitives still at large. He denies all the charges, and his lawyer says he is a scapegoat.

Until now there has been a complete absence of will in Paris to bring to justice any of the estimated 27 Rwandan genocide fugitives who live on French soil. The country was a staunch ally of the Rwandan government which planned and perpetrated the genocide. The trial may well show the French electorate just how appalling its secret policy towards the central African state really was.

The policy was devised in secret, with no accountability from press or parliament and largely  determined within the confines of a special office in the president\\\'s Elysée Palace known as the Africa Unit. It operated through a network of military officers, politicians, diplomats, businessmen and senior intelligence operatives. At its heart was President François Mitterrand, who had operated through senior army officers: General Christian Quesnot, Admiral Jacques Lanxade and General Jean-Pierre Huchon.

The prosecution testimony in the trial will be unprecedented in the detail it will provide about the genocide. The evidence combines the results of investigations into the Simbikangwa case at the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and details from investigations carried by Rwandan authorities. Never before, not even in the courtrooms of the ICTR, has such an impressive array of witnesses assembled. It is hoped that their combined testimony will put paid to a campaign of denial waged by defence lawyers at the ICTR who claimed the killing in Rwanda was not the result of a conspiracy but was somehow \"spontaneous\".

Simbikangwa\'s prosecutors are concentrating on his role during the killing, when he allegedly encouraged the murder of Tutsi by Interahamwe militia on roadblocks and provided them with weapons. The roadblocks and the Interahamwe were an integral part of the planned killing mechanism and ensured the speed and scale of the slaughter.

But the impact of the Simbikangwa trial will be felt far beyond the courtroom. It is hoped that for the French public the nature of the genocide will be laid bare, and that at long last a debate about France and Rwanda will begin. Twenty years too late, a true reckoning may at last be possible.

French reviews Rwandan genocide

Rwandan genocide: French probe reviews attack that sparked terror

As a new probe reverses an earlier French investigation on the event that sparked the Rwandan genocide, shifting the focus from Tutsi rebels to Hutu extremists, François Picard’s panel argues over whether, in the past, there has been a cover-up.

Buy A People Betrayed

Revised and updated edition: 2009

Zed Books 2000 ISBN 1-85649-831

Buy Complicites de Genocide

French translation of A People Betrayed.

Karthala, Paris. 2010

www.karthala.com

Read the Globe and Mail Article:

Our Rwandan Betrayal