Edition: AHRLJ Volume 9 No 1 2009
Pages: 356 - 357
Citation: (2009) 1 AHRLJ 356-357
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Rwanda: Death, despair and defiance is a book about the 100 days’ genocide in Rwanda that was unleashed on 6 April 1994 and that is one of the most horrific episodes of modern history. This is the first detailed account of the mass killing, its causes and consequences. The reality behind the genocide and mass murder is recounted by the survivors themselves. In words of haunting simplicity, they detail the terror and pain, the cruelty of those who possessed the power of life and death over them, the misery and degradation to which people were reduced, and the betrayal of friends and neighbours. The dozens of detailed first-hand accounts also describe the solidarity in the face of a genocidal state — the courage, compassion and resilience of so many ordinary Rwandese. This book builds up a comprehensive picture of the genocide, at a personal, communal and national level. It names those guilty of planning and implementing the killing, details their methods, and analyses the ideology of Hutu extremism. It examines violence against children and the rape of women; attacks against churches and hospitals, and the efforts of the extremists to reorganise in refugee camps. The book also examines the failure of the international community to respond effectively to the murder and genocide.
For 22 years, Dr Susan Allen has been the director of an HIV research organisation, the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group, and through this experience she has taken part in the international war crimes tribunal established by the United Nations for the Rwandan genocide criminals. On 27 November 2008, the organisation hosted a panel discussion including Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr Deborah Lipstadt, members of the Department of Justice and the Rwandan ambassador to talk about the state of post-genocide Rwanda and what is being done to capture the criminals today. Information and a full transcript may be viewed at http://www.rzhrg.org/genocide.htm .
From this, we have set up the Genocide Prevention and Justice Foundation to continue hosting such seminars and work with human rights experts to seek justice for Rwandans.