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SOME KILLINGS IN RWANDA ARE GENOCIDE, U.S. OFFICIALS SAY

SHARE SOME KILLINGS IN RWANDA ARE GENOCIDE, U.S. OFFICIALS SAY

The U.S. State Department says it has every reason to believe that acts of genocide have occurred in Rwanda, but it is stopping short of using the term more broadly.

"Clearly not all of the killings that have taken place in Rwanda are killings to which you might apply that label," Christine Shelly, a State Department spokeswoman, said. "There are obligations which arise in connection with the use of the term."The 1948 Genocide Convention, an international accord, defines genocide as acts committed against members of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group with the intent of destroying that group, she said.

Many of the killings in Rwanda have been between members of the Hutu and Tutsi peoples. There have also been reports of killings within each group of individuals who are thought to want reconciliation with the other group.

Most of the estimated 200,000 people killed in the past two months were civilians slaughtered by government-trained Hutu militias.

Rebel leaders have admitted to the recent killing of 13 clergymen, including the Roman Catholic archbishop of Kigali and two other bishops, but they claim they were carried out by undisciplined fighters.

Asked to detail the obligations that arise in connection with the term "genocide," Shelly said the accord on genocide calls for punishing it either in local courts or an international tribunal.