The world failed dismally to halt genocide in Rwanda, and its painful legacy will endure for at least a generation, an independent human-rights group said Thursday.
In a 440-page report on the slaughter, the London-based African Rights organization warned that a failure to bring to trial the architects of the genocide would only lead to more violence in revenge.In particular, it hit out at the United Nations, France, Zaire, Belgium and the United States for repeatedly failing to respond to stop the killings in Rwanda from April to July.
"The legacy of the 1994 apocalypse will live on in Rwanda for at least a generation," said the report, the first lengthy review of the massacres.
It said it was impossible to gauge how many people were killed, but aid agencies and U.N. officials estimate one million people, mostly minority Tutsis, were killed by the Hutu majority.
"A cycle of violence, fear and impunity has become entrenched; there is now an opportunity to break that cycle and to put principles of justice at the base of the new Rwanda," it added.
The report hit out at what it said was "foot dragging and an evident lack of seriousness" in the top ranks of the United Nations to provide enough resources for an official investigation into the genocide leading to trials of accused.
Contrary to U.N. and U.S. proposals for an international war-crimes tribunal, it recommended that the main architects of the slaughter should be tried before the Rwandan people in their own courts which should be swiftly rebuilt with international aid.
The report names President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose assassination April 6 sparked the killings, his wife and top officials as responsible for plans to eliminate their opponents.
Africa Rights condemned the French government for failing to denounce the Hutu Rwandan government for the massacres and for taking its side by insisting a cease-fire was a priority.