The Rwandan Genocide: Lessons and Legacy

Talk Wednesday 9 April 2014, 7:00 PM

On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down over Kigali airport. The events that followed saw bitter ethnic divisions engulf the country: neighbour turned on neighbour and in the space of 100 days an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsis, were killed.

At the time the international community was heavily criticised for its slow response and now declassified diplomatic cables have revealed that the US, Britain and the United Nations were explicitly warned that a “new bloodbath” was imminent in Rwanda.

Twenty years on we will look at how communities in Rwanda have been reconciled, the political, social and economic strides the country has taken and what more still needs to be done. We will also ask if the international community has learnt its lessons and if it can ensure that such a failure to react will never occur again.

Chaired by foreign affairs editor of Sky News, Sam Kiley. Through the 90’s he served as Africa bureau chief for The Times, covering the genocide in Rwanda and its aftermath in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).

The panel:

David Belton worked as a producer at BBC Newsnight in the 1990s where, amongst many foreign assignments, he covered the civil war in Bosnia and the genocide in Rwanda. In 2002, he co-wrote the story and produced the award-winning feature film Shooting Dogs based on real events that had taken place during the Rwandan genocide. He has since produced and directed many critically acclaimed and award-winning documentaries for British and American television. When The Hills Ask For Your Blood: A Personal Story of Genocide and Rwanda is his first book.

Eric Murangwa Eugene is a Rwandan survivor of the 1994 genocide and former Rwandan international football player who founded Football for Hope, Peace and Unity (FHPU Enterprise) an initiative which uses sport and football in particular to assist the transformation of Rwandan community for social change and reconciliation here in the UK and in Rwanda itself.

Mukesh Kapila, CBE is professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs at the University of Manchester. Previously he was Under Secretary General at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan. He was the first UK government official to enter Kigali in 1994 after the genocide. He is author of Against a Tide of Evil.

His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza is the high commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Kingdom and non-resident ambassador to Ireland. His previous posting was as high commissioner to India. Prior to his diplomatic career, he served as director general of the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotional Agency (RIEPA), during which time he worked to reposition post-genocide Rwanda in the international marketplace as an ideal investment destination and a reliable trading partner. During this time, he also served on President Paul Kagame’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council.