Genocide in the Twentieth Century: Rwandan Case

Table of Contents


The genocide in Rwanda officially called the genocide against Tutsi, is the massacre of Rwandan Tutsis by local Hutus in 1994, carried out by order of the Hutu government. Pre-colonial Rwanda was not a caste society; there were no rigid social categories. However, over time, the concept of “Tutsi” more often began to mean the possession of absolute privilege, which aroused indignation from the Hutus (Destexhe 621). Therefore, the paper’s purpose is to study the Rwandan genocide and other twentieth-century massacres and identify the reasons behind them.

Main text

Since 1885, the German Empire dominated the territory of Rwanda, believed that the Tutsis were closer to the Caucasians, and, therefore, had racial superiority over the Hutus and were better suited to serve the authorities. From 1926 to 1962, Belgium colonized Rwanda, patronizing the Tutsi and exploiting powerless Hutus. In 1935, identity documents that registered citizenship were presented in Rwanda (Destexhe 623). Thus, interclass division after the colonial system caused outrage, and aggression from the Hutu increased.

The ethnic confrontation escalated with the country’s socio-economic situation; at the same time, there was an invasion of the 1990s Rwandan patriotic front. In the late 1980s, a financial crisis ensued, which was associated with changes in coffee prices on the world market, the struggle for resources within the ruling elite began (Behuria 10). Against the backdrop of ethnic, economic, social, and ethnic problems, the Habyarimana plane crash led to the beginning of mass killings (Destexhe 621). Opposition parties arose inside the Hutu camp, and this reached the level of armed struggle.

The Khojaly genocide was a tragedy of the twentieth century due to the aggressive and criminal policy of the Armenians. The Azerbaijanis were expelled from their historical lands and became refugees (Abilov and Isayev 293). The Armenians wanted to destroy Khojaly, which is a settlement reflecting the historical and cultural traditions of the Azerbaijani people. On the other hand, they aimed at eliminating strategic obstacles in the mountainous part of Karabakh.


In conclusion, the Rwandan genocide was the result of a conscious encouragement of fear and hatred by the elite, who sought to stay in power. Interethnic contradictions exacerbated by the country’s low socio-economic situation and the conflicts with the government cause brutal mass killings. In history, there have been many events in which some races are subjected to ethnic cleansing, and one of them is a system of genocide by Armenian chauvinists.

Works Cited

Abilov, Shamkhal, and Ismayil Isayev. “The Consequences of the Nagorno–Karabakh War for Azerbaijan and the Undeniable Reality of Khojaly Massacre: A View from Azerbaijan.” Polish Political Science Yearbook, 2016, pp. 292-303

Behuria, Pritish. “The Politics of Upgrading in Global Value Chains: The Case of Rwanda’s Coffee Sector”, 2018, pp.1-34

Destexhe, Alain. Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Pluto Press, 1995.

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