April 25, 1994: UN avoids labelling Tutsi killings as genocide

April 25, 1994 was the 19th day of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Killings of Tutsi had spread across the country. In the former Gitarama, Butare and Kibuye prefectures, Interahamwe, government soldiers and local leaders led the killing campaign.

Despite evidence of genocidal killings in Rwanda, the United Nations Security Council failed to label the massacres of Tutsi as a genocide due to France’s push to avoid a more precise terminology.

Since the beginning of the Genocide on April 7, the French authorities were concerned that RPF-Inkotanyi would win the war and ignored the killings of the Tutsi.

On April 21, when the security council discussed the situation in Rwanda, French ambassador Jean Bernard Mérimée made an effort to prevent a resolution that would recognise the killing of Tutsi as genocide.

The Security Council adopted a resolution that referred to the massacres in Rwanda as “unnecessary killings,” even as it was clear who was carrying out the Genocide.

On April 25, in Mbazi Commune in Butare, current day Huye, the Tutsi who had gathered at Byiza Stadium were killed with grenades, guns and traditional weapons like machetes, clubs and spears. In the attacks encouraged by Sylvain Nsabimana, the governor of Butare Prefecture, more than 7,800 were killed at the stadium.

Also on April 25, Tutsi were killed in Muyira Commune in Nyanza. About 500 Tutsi were killed at Mulinja Catholic Church while another 50 were killed in a house.

The next day, about 25,000 Tutsi who had taken refuge at Muyira Commune were killed by an Interahamwe attack led by a businessman called Claver Berinkindi. In 2017, Berinkindi was sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Also in Nyanza, during the night of April 25 about 100 Tutsi were killed at Nkomane, near the bridge connecting Matyazo and Muyaga communes, in current Ntyazo Sector. Killings took place in other parts of Nyanza such as Butatsinda where many Tutsi were killed at roadblocks and thrown in nearby pits.

In the former Kibuye Prefecture, in current day Karongi District, 171 Tutsi were killed in the Pentecostal church EPR Gituntu, where they had fled hoping to be spared. They were killed along with the church leader called Alphonse Rwamuhizi. Their killing was ordered by the mayor of Mwendo Commune Gabriel Muragizi.








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