Students Staff

07 April 2014

Rwanda genocide 20 years on - Professor Sir Nigel Rodley on SoundCloud

Chair of the Human Rights Centre Professor Sir Nigel Rodley has discussed his experiences in Rwanda, 20 years after the genocide.

Sir Nigel visited Rwanda as part of a United Nations (UN) joint mission within his role as Special Rapporteur on Torture alongside the Special Rapporteur on Rwanda and the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution.

Between April and June 1994, some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were brutally slaughtered in Rwanda. The UN and Belgium had forces in Rwanda at the time but UN forces were not given a mandate to stop the killing.

This week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon admitted the UN should have done much more to stop the killing during an address to thousands of people in the Rwandan capital Kigali at the beginning of a week of official mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide.

Sir Nigel said progress had been made at an international level. In an interview published today on the University’s SoundCloud channel he said: “We have now gone a little bit further in recognising the responsibility for international intervention in that kind of situation – characterised by war crimes, crimes against humanity and particularly genocide.

“The fact they [the General Assembly and Security Council] have agreed there is a responsibility to protect - coercively if necessary - is a breakthrough.”

However, Sir Nigel emphasised the politics between the permanent members of the UN Security Council often hampered effective action to meet the aspirations of the responsibility to protect.

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