'Statelessness' and the Batutsi refugee's invasion of Rwanda 1990-1994
Among the interpretations of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, those stressed
within this dissertation have received little emphasis in previous analyses. Ethnic
cleavages between the Hutu and the Tutsi resulting from colonial policy, or earlier
history, or both; the racialization of the Tutsi as an alien people; the role of
international actors and the withdrawal of the UN protection on the eve of genocide;
the economic and political difficulties caused by structural adjustment programmes
(SAPs)-all these been stressed strongly by analysts.
Here two other interpretations are stressed: the statelessness of Batutsi
refugees in the asylum countries of Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zaire, are given
greater salience in explaining why the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded
Rwanda in October 1990 and how this invasion itself indirectly contributed to the
subsequent genocide of April - July 1994.
For the preceding 30 years, the Batutsi refugees had been denied the right to
return to their country of origin as rightful citizens while those remaining inside it had
been subjected to discrimination. The government of Gregoire Kayibanda (1961-
1973) purged Batutsi who had not fled from earlier pogroms from all positions of
authority in the political, civil, and educational sectors of the Rwandan government.
The regime of Juvenil Habyarimana (1973-1994), stepped up the policy of systemic
discrimination against Batutsi under the policy of ethnic proportionality.
In addition to harassment, intimidation, expulsion and persecution in their
countries of asylum, particularly in Uganda and Zaire, Batutsi refugees became pawns
in the internal politics of these countries. This study considers the RPF's invasion
additionally as an armed response to these problems. The invasion and the RPF's
imminent success fuelled extremist tendencies inside Rwanda, which, in turn,
masterminded and executed the genocide of between 500,000 and 800,000 Batutsi
and Bahutu moderates.