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An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

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Latest update : 2014-04-04

Rwanda: The last genocide of the 20th century

On April 6 1994, the Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down by a missile. Within a day, the country was gripped by a murderous wave of violence. Between April 6 and July 4 1994, in just 100 days, between 800,000 and one million people, mainly ethnic Tutsis, were murdered. In other words: around 70% of the Tutsi population living in Rwanda at the time. France 24 looks back at the origins and circumstances that led to the last genocide of the 20th century.

Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, the extermination of Rwanda’s Tutsis in 1994 is still too often described as the result of an ancestral hatred between two ethnic groups, a civil war between the Hutu government and the Tutsi rebels that went wrong.

In this report, I wanted to highlight how the ideology of genocide spread progressively.

The roots can be found in the colonial period, and the role of foreign powers such as Belgium and France but also the United Nations. This moral bankruptcy of the international community and these successive failures led to the horrifying genocide.

In this report, I meet key players from this period (genocide survivors as well as perpetrators, humanitarian workers and former ministers) in order to try to understand how such a horrifying turn of events could have been allowed to happen.

By Pauline SIMONET

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