Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa

by Christian P. Scherrer, ECPR Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy Newsletter Vol. 3(2), 2002.

 

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Scherrer examines the ethnicized conflicts, periodic war, and genocide in Rwanda and Burundi. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda may have resulted in the murder of a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu, while the mass killings in Burundi, especially in 1993 when some 200,000 Hutu and Tutsi were killed, and the current ongoing war in the Congo appear to have the potential to escalate into another round of genocide in the region. Scherrer explores the background to the conflicts in the Great Lakes Region as well as what the international community might do to break this tragic cycle of violence and despair. Following a chapter on the history of the region before independence in 1960/61, he examines the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the subsequent attempts to promote justice, reconstruction, human rights work, and genocide prevention. Scherrer pays particular attention to the role of the Western powers, the UN, and the aid system – and he is critical of all of these institutions. He also analyzes what is happening in neighboring Burundi and the Congo. An important research for scholars and policymakers involved with Central African affairs and ethnicized conflict.