Economic and SocialDistr.
28 June 1995
Original: FRENCH

Fifty-second session
Item 10 of the provisional agenda


Report on the situation of human rights in Rwanda submitted by Mr. René Degni-Ségui, Special Rapporteur, under paragraph 20 of resolution S-3/1 of 25 May 1994


1. In accordance with the mandate entrusted to him by the Commission on Human Rights in resolution S-3/1 of 25 May 1994, which was extended by resolution 1995/91 of 8 March 1995 (para. 19), the Special Rapporteur visited Rwanda from 27 March to 3 April 1995 and again from 25 to 28 May 1995. The first visit formed part of the follow-up to his mission, its purpose being to ascertain the progress made in the deployment of the human rights observers in the field and in the inquiry into the genocide during the period before the first anniversary of the beginning of the massacres and the war. The second visit was made in response to the need to gather information on the recent tragic events which occurred when the displaced persons' camp in Kibeho was forcibly closed by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army.

2. The Special Rapporteur also travelled to Belgium, France, Canada and the United States.

3. During his visit to Rwanda and the four other countries, the Special Rapporteur was able to speak with members of the Rwandan Government, representatives of the various United Nations agencies working in Rwanda, foreign diplomats accredited to Rwanda, representatives of non-governmental organizations, judicial authorities and a number of witnesses of the massacres of April­June 1994, detainees, judges, officers, various foreign personalities, human rights activists and journalists.

4. Among the prominent persons whom the Special Rapporteur met, mention should be made of:

(a) Prominent persons (Rwandan)

Mr. Pasteur Bizimuongu, President of the Republic; Mr. Faustin Twangiramumgu, Prime Minister; Mr. Seth Sendashonga, Minister of the Interior; Mr. Alphonse­Marie Nkubito, Minister of Justice; Mr. Anasthase Gasana, Minister for Foreign Affairs; the prefect of Kibuye.

(b) Prominent persons (non-Rwandan)

In Rwanda: Mr. Shaharyar Khan, Special Representative of the Secretary­General in Rwanda; Major-General Claude Toussigant, Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR); the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Rwanda; the Chargé d'affaires of the Apostolic Nuncio in Rwanda, the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for Rwanda, Judge Rakotomanana; the Ambassadors of Belgium and the United States; the chief of the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kigali; the delegates of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation on mission in Rwanda.

In Belgium, France, Canada and the United States: Mr. Andries, Military Auditeur, and Mr. Van Winsen, former Military Auditeur in Brussels; General Dallaire, former Commander of UNAMIR; Mrs. Prudence Bushnell, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs; Mr. Reed Fendrick, Deputy Director of the Central Africa Office in the United States Department of State; members of the Canadian League of Human Rights and several other leagues affiliated to the International Federation of Human Rights; Mrs. Iris Almeida, Programme Director in the Centre for the Rights of the Individual and Democratic Development in Montreal.

5. The Special Rapporteur would like to express his sincere thanks to all these persons who supported him in the preparation and conduct of his mission. He is particularly grateful to the Special Representative of the Secretary­General in Rwanda and the Commander of MINUAR for their assistance, logistical support and generous cooperation.

6. The conversations he held and the visits he made in the field and in prisons enabled the Special Rapporteur to assess the situation in Rwanda, stressing the progress of the inquiry into the genocide, the monitoring of the human rights situation and the problem of the return from the exodus.


7. The Special Rapporteur wishes to place special emphasis on this crime against humanity, which has particularly affected the people of Rwanda. Notwithstanding the reference to genocide, the inquiry covers all violations of human rights. As a result of the field visit, it was possible to assess the deployment of the observers and the progress made in the inquiry.

A. The deployment of observers

8. In his third report (E/CN.4/1995/70 of 11 November 1994) the Special Rapporteur criticized the delay in the deployment of the observers. The situation at that time was characterized first by the absence of observers in the field, and later by the presence of a group of observers in Kigali who were unable to move into the field through lack of practical resources and logistics. Since then, substantial progress has been achieved, but the conduct of the human rights operation is beset with a number of difficulties.

1. The conduct of the human rights operation

9. This operation, which began in mid­August 1994 with four observers, has developed considerably, judging from the number of observers and their formation in teams and operational units.

(a) The number of observers

10. Following the Special Rapporteur's recommendations in his second report (E/CN.4/1995/12 of 12 August 1994) for the deployment of 150 to 200 observers, the Centre for Human Rights, by agreement with the Government of Rwanda, set a figure of 147. This figure roughly corresponded to the number of Rwandese communes (143). Having started with four observers, the operation slowly but steadily grew in size, increasing from 22 to 38 observers in October 1994, to 127 in April 1995, but falling to 122 in May. As at 22 June, the number of observers stood at 112.

11. This result was achieved thanks to various contributions: apart from the 51 observers recruited by the Centre for Human Rights, 27 were recruited by the United Nations Volunteers Programmes and 31 by the European Union.

It should be pointed out that the target figure of 147 observers has still not been achieved and that recruitment has had to be slowed down if not completely stopped at certain times through lack of resources. Thus, from 1 to 22 June 1995, the number of observers fell from 119 to 112. According to forecasts, it will drop again in the near future.

(b) The formation of teams

12. The observers are deployed in teams comprising some four to eight persons per unit. Eleven teams are assigned to regional offices in the various prefectures as follows: Butaré (9 members), Cyangungu (9), Gikongoro (8), Gisenyi (8), Gitarama (6), Kibungo (3), Kibuye (6), Kigali (7), Rilima (4), Ruhengeri (6) and Rwamagana (4). A sub-office has been opened in Nyamasheke in the prefecture of Cyangungu. Two human rights observers have been deployed in the north-east of the prefecture of Byumba to assess the possibility of opening an office in that region.

13. At the time of drafting the present report, all the prefectures in Rwanda, with the exception of Byumba, have a team of observers. Each team is headed by a team leader, who reports to the chief of the operation. In the light of their various activities, the observers are assigned to operational units.

(c) The operational units

14. The mission has set up three units: the legal analysis and coordination unit, the monitoring unit and the technical assistance unit.

(i) The legal analysis and coordination unit

15. In the context of the inquiries into the genocide and other serious violations of human rights, a special investigation unit was set up back in September 1994 to assist the Commission of Experts on Rwanda and the Special Rapporteur on Rwanda. The Commission of Experts having completed its work, this unit has continued to carry out inquiries as needed by the Special Rapporteur. As mentioned in the operational plan of the operation, experts from Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the United States have undertaken far-reaching inquiries into the genocide (forensic examination of massacre sites and charnel-houses, interviews with survivors and witnesses) and compiled documents and other tangible evidence which have been transmitted, by agreement with the Special Rapporteur, to the International Tribunal for Rwanda. As a result of the establishment of an investigation unit of a judicial character within the Tribunal, the special investigation unit has been disbanded and replaced by the legal analysis and coordination unit. The latter unit is to continue inquiries into the genocide and other crimes against humanity in response to the needs of the Special Rapporteur.

(ii) The monitoring unit

16. The monitoring unit is undertaking the inquiry into past and present violations of human rights. The observers assigned to it and deployed in various regional offices report, in accordance with the above-mentioned operational plan, on the following:

(i) Progress made towards national reconciliation;

(ii) The existence of courts or magistrates responsible for settling disputes between Rwandan nationals;

(iii) The availability of housing and other structures for persons returning to Rwanda;

(iv) Measures taken by the local authorities or the Rwandan Patriotic Army concerning Rwandan returnees and the administrative practices to which the latter are subjected;

(v) Security conditions in their zone;

(vi) The availability of basic foodstuffs and services; and

(vii) The formulation of education and information programmes on human rights intended for Rwandan officials and the population as a whole.

(iii) The technical assistance unit

17. This unit deals with the assistance to be given to the Government in restoring the rule of law and confidence in civil society. It is participating in the efforts to rebuild the Rwandan judicial system, through the contribution of judicial personnel and through the training of magistrates and other court officers.

18. This unit, which is still very small in size (two members as of 2 April 1995), is due to expand, especially since on 22 February 1995 the Rwandan Minister of Justice addressed a letter to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Rwanda indicating the human resources needs of his Ministry, which were estimated at 678 persons (including magistrates and police investigators).

2. The difficulties encountered by the operation

19. The human rights operation in general and the Special Rapporteur in particular are encountering difficulties which are placing the mission in jeopardy. The difficulties are of two types: practical and political.

(a) The practical difficulties

20. The practical difficulties essentially amount to the shortage of financial resources. Apparently, the Centre for Human Rights receives the financial resources to be allocated to the operation in very small amounts at a time; consequently, there is constant uncertainty and anxiety about the survival of the mission beyond the following three months.

21. This has at least two unfortunate consequences. The first is the shortage of human rights observers; despite the increase in their number, they have not yet reached the target figure of 147, even though a period of more than six months has elapsed since the commencement of the operation. What is

more, the already inadequate number of observers is tending to decrease since, through lack of resources, the contracts of some observers are not being renewed. This situation is particularly regrettable because these people will have to leave at the very time when they are beginning to adapt to their socio­cultural environment and above all are gaining experience. The second consequence derives, despite the progress achieved, from the lack of certain equipment: thus some regional offices have neither telephones nor fax, which results in the disruption of communications between several offices and headquarters.

(b) The political difficulties

22. The human rights operation in general and the Special Rapporteur in particular are encountering difficulties that are preventing them from fulfilling their mission in the most effective manner possible.

23. As regards the operation, much criticism has been directed at its inefficient functioning, due notably to lack of experience, to the fact that it is directed from Geneva and to the contradictory orders given by the Geneva offices. Some of this criticism is very harsh and is in some cases poorly formulated, but the substance remains.

24. Not all the difficulties will be outlined. Reference will be made only to the political difficulties, those affecting relations between the operation and the Rwandan authorities, on the one hand, and the relations between the Special Rapporteur and the Special Procedures Branch of the Centre for Human Rights, on the other.

(i) Relations between the operation and the Rwandan authorities

25. The Rwandan authorities, both national and local, complain about the behaviour of the human rights observers. They accuse them of putting too much emphasis on the human rights violations being committed at present and accordingly neglecting the inquiry into the genocide. They maintain that the observers' action is "very police-oriented" and that the observers use legal terms such as "arbitrary arrests and detentions", the word "arbitrary" being, in the view of the authorities, equivalent to "unlawful".

26. Among the consequences of these complaints, which have been officially addressed to the chief of the operation, have been searches of the observers and their exclusion from certain detention centres, including solitary confinement cells, despite the headquarters agreement governing the activities of the operation in Rwanda and the authorizations duly issued by the Minister of Justice. The dialogue with the national authorities entered into by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur has made it possible to assess the situation and to dispel certain misunderstandings, but certain obstacles remain, including those relating to access to solitary confinement cells.

(ii) Relations between the operation and the Special Rapporteur

27. The relations between the operation and the Special Rapporteur remain very theoretical and practically non-existent. They are filtered by the Special Procedures Branch, which forms a kind of screen blocking access to information needed by the Special Rapporteur.

28. The operation is planned and executed, without any participation by the Special Rapporteur, by the Special Procedures Branch, which directs all activities from Geneva. Moreover, the hierarchical system in the Centre requires that the observers and other investigators deployed in the field should address their reports not to the Special Rapporteur through the chief of mission, but along a chain which runs from the team leader to the High Commissioner and passes through the unit chiefs, the coordinators, the chief of mission and the chief of the Special Procedures Branch. In the other direction, the Special Rapporteur is obliged to transmit his instructions to the operation through the Office of the High Commissioner, who forwards them via the Special Procedures Branch, going down through the various levels of the hierarchy. The chief of mission is forbidden, even in urgent situations, to contact the Special Rapporteur directly.

29. This situation has three consequences. The first is the slow movement of information in both directions. This was the case with the distressing events which occurred at Kibeho on 22 April 1995; the written reports on those events remained in the files of the chief of the Special Procedures Branch, despite the Special Rapporteur's urgent request to see them. The Special Rapporteur was unable to obtain a copy of the report until 6 May, when he received it from the chief of the operation, bypassing the hierarchical procedure. The press release drafted by the Special Rapporteur on the events at Kibeho met with a similar fate. The second consequence is that there is a sifting of information within the Special Procedures Branch, which communicates to the Special Rapporteur only what it sees fit to give him. The documents transmitted amount to no more than insubstantial summaries of reports, which are accordingly of no interest to the Special Rapporteur. The third consequence is that the withholding of information has been accompanied by the disappearance of documents. Strangely, three sets of very important documents have disappeared in succession, and the Special Rapporteur's urgent appeals for proper investigations to find the documents have had no effect. It is as if there were a lack of willingness to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, in breach of Commission on Human Rights resolution S-3/1 of 25 May 1994 on the situation of human rights in Rwanda. Under paragraph 25 of this resolution, the Commission "Requests the Secretary-General to provide all necessary assistance to the Special Rapporteur to fulfil his or her mandate".

B. Progress achieved

30. The progress made in the inquiry should be measured in terms of both fact­verification and the contribution of the International Tribunal.

1. Fact verification

31. The investigations conducted by observers deployed throughout Rwanda have verified, on the basis of eyewitness accounts and other evidence, the commission of acts constituting human rights violations.

(a) Eyewitness accounts

32. Human rights observers have gathered many eyewitness accounts from survivors and military observers present during the hostilities, from soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR), staff of non­governmental organizations and members of the clergy. These accounts concern both the genocide and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

(i) Genocide

33. Concurring eyewitness accounts of the massacres were gathered and systematically selected prefecture by prefecture. Incidents which occurred in a number of prefectures are described below by way of illustration.

34. In the prefecture of Butaré, eyewitnesses reported that almost 10,000 refugees were attacked with machetes in the stadium and massacred on 18 April. In Nyakibanda, 5,000 refugees were attacked over a four­day period beginning on 23 April. The survivors identified a number of individuals who had organized and carried out the massacres, including a senior political official of the former regime, who is thought by some eyewitnesses to have organized and coordinated the attacks.

35. In Cyangungu prefecture, more than 5,000 Tutsis were penned up in the stadium, without protection from the sun and rain. Many were struck with machetes. Soldiers came periodically to fetch persons to be massacred on the basis of pre­established lists. At 4 a.m. on Friday, 29 April, the terrorized hostages tried to break out of the stadium en masse and the soldiers fired into the crowd. Witnesses report having seen prisoners from Cyangungu burying three truckloads of bodies not far from the Hôtel des Chutes in the afternoon of 29 April.

36. In Gisenyi prefecture, from 7 April 1994 onwards the families of Tutsi teachers from various the schools in Nyundo (small seminary, art school, etc.) began to take refuge in the seminary with the staff. At 5 p.m., a mob of assailants armed with machetes and clubs attacked the seminary, but were dispersed by gendarmes. However, they returned about 8 p.m. and attacked again, massacring everyone hiding in one of the seminary chapels. On 8 April, the gendarmes guarding a number of Bagogwe asked them and the survivors of the massacres to go into the cathedral where, they claimed, they would be safer. On 9 April, militiamen attacked the cathedral and killed everyone inside. More than 300 persons are reported to have been massacred. On 1 May, 218 survivors of the massacres of 9 April were themselves executed.

37. In Kibuye prefecture, on 15 April 1994 the population of Gitesi took refuge in the town stadium, the church and the Saint­Pierre Home, together with refugees from other communes. On the orders of the former mayor, the stadium was guarded by gendarmes. There were about 6,000 people in the stadium, 3,250 in the church and approximately 200 in the Home. On 16 or 17 April, massacres took place in the church and Saint­Pierre Home. Three days later, the massacres spread to the stadium. As the gendarmes who had been guarding the stadium had withdrawn, the massacres were carried out methodically and systematically, beginning with the most prominent individuals. Survivors who succeeded in escaping to the Karongi hills were also attacked. Many of them died and the few survivors fled to Bisegiro.

38. In Kigali prefecture, eyewitnesses reported seeing militiamen and gendarmes carrying out massacres of Tutsis between 9 and 13 April. A number of Tutsi leaders were massacred by units of the Presidential Guard. Groups of militiamen belonging to the Coalition pour la défense de la République (CDR) armed militia were organized in each district of Kigali. In Cyahafi district, the massacres began in the morning of Thursday 7 April.

(ii) Other grave violations of humanitarian law

39. The genocide of the Tutsis, the massacres of moderate Hutus and the renewed fighting in the civil war which followed were marked by many grave violations of international humanitarian law. These ranged from the burning of houses and property of victims or fugitives, to the taking of women hostages, rape, torture of prisoners and summary executions. The massacres mentioned as examples in the section on genocide also involved, mutatis mutandis, instances of such violations.

40. It should also be mentioned that, as the hostilities extended over the whole of Rwanda, and despite the difficulty of establishing the exact nature of violations committed in the areas controlled by the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR), eyewitnesses report seeing several instances of violations of humanitarian law committed by the APR. A few examples are worth mentioning here. The first concerns the massacres committed by APR soldiers in some districts of Kigali, including Kimihura, Kacyiru, Remera and Gikondo. Eyewitnesses gave the names of members of massacred families. The second example concerns the massacre of 250 of the 587 Batwa in Ntongwe commune by APR soldiers. These Batwa, together with a number of Hutu villagers, were said to have responded to an appeal by the Rwandan Patriotic Front at the end of the war to return to their homes. All these facts, together with the genocide of the Tutsis, should be investigated more thoroughly and, if necessary, prosecutions should be brought by the International Tribunal for Rwanda.

(b) Evidence

41. The evidence relates mainly to the identification of sites of mass graves and the discovery of government documents, weapons used in the massacres and tape recordings of genocide propaganda.

(i) Identification of mass grave sites

42. The special investigation unit succeeded in identifying several hundred mass graves throughout Rwanda. The list of these graves, established prefecture by prefecture, has been forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor, who is responsible for ordering any exhumations.

43. However, the extent of the special unit's work was limited in two ways. Firstly, the identification was not exhaustive, giving only an indicative list of the largest graves. Secondly, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the exact location of many graves and the precise number of bodies they contain. The graves mentioned in this report merely give a rough idea of the scale of the massacres perpetrated in Rwanda from 6 April 1994 onwards.

44. In the prefecture of Butaré (Kigembe commune, Nyanza sector, Rugizo district), for example, several mass graves located between the cantonal court and the offices of the commune are thought to contain almost 5,000 bodies. Similarly, in Cyangungu prefecture, a mass grave discovered between the church and the hospital is thought to contain most of the bodies of the 2,000 to 3,000 persons murdered in the church, and in Nyamasheke sector (Kagamo commune) 15 mass graves thought to contain 4,000 to 6,000 bodies were identified around the parish. In Gikongoro prefecture (Kivu commune, Nyabirondo sector and district), a number of mass graves was discovered in the grounds of the Catholic school and church. Also, in Kibuye prefecture (Gitesi commune), mass graves thought to contain about 8,000 bodies were discovered near the Catholic church, as well as other graves containing about 10,000 bodies.

(ii) Documents

45. The members of the special investigation unit also obtained and examined documents as numerous as they were varied. They can be grouped into five major categories: documents of the former Government and the Coalition pour la défense de la République (CDR); documents of United Nations bodies, particularly UNAMIR (daily situation reports); documents of various States, particularly those with embassies in Rwanda: United States, Spain, France (Operation Turquoise); documents of non­governmental organizations, including those which witnessed the massacres at first hand; media documents, i.e. the foreign and national press, newspapers (Kangura) and audio cassettes of the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM).

46. One document, for example, showed the structure and functioning of the militias, as well as information on the training given to them by the Presidential Guard. It also shows that the interahamwe militias ("Those who attack together") were planning to eliminate moderate Hutu opponents as early as 1992. Another document contains the results of a 1992-1993 census of the inhabitants of each commune and gives their ethnic origin, sex and age. It also provides quite detailed information on the planning of massacres in areas with large Tutsi populations. Other documents contain lists of Tutsis and moderate Hutu opponents to be killed, beginning in May 1992. The Special Rapporteur also received lists of the main organizers of the genocide in certain prefectures: Butaré, Gisenyi, Kibungo (Kayonza and Rusumo communes), Kigali-ville (Kicukiro and Nyarugenge communes). All these documents have been made available to the International Tribunal.

2. Contribution of the International Tribunal for Rwanda

47. The establishment of the International Tribunal will help to further the genocide investigation by virtue of the concurrent jurisdiction which it exercises with the national courts and the Special Rapporteur.

(a) The international tribunal and national courts

48. Under article 1 of its Statute, "The International Tribunal for Rwanda shall have the power to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994, in accordance with the provisions of the present Statute". This provision

defines the jurisdiction of the Tribunal in respect of subject matter, as well as its territorial, personal and temporal jurisdiction. With regard to subject matter, the Tribunal is competent to deal with the violations defined in article 2 (genocide), 3 (crimes against humanity) and 4 (violations of article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II). With regard to territorial jurisdiction, the Tribunal may prosecute persons responsible for crimes committed in Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for crimes in neighbouring countries. In his report of 13 February 1995 to the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 955 (1994) (S/1995/134), the Secretary­General states: "In extending the territorial jurisdiction of the Tribunal beyond the territorial bounds of Rwanda, the Council envisaged mainly the refugee camps in Zaire and other neighbouring countries in which serious violations of international humanitarian law are alleged to have been committed in connection with the conflict in Rwanda". The temporal jurisdiction of the Tribunal is limited to the period between 1 January and 31 December 1994. The Secretary­General's report states in this regard: "Although the crash of the aircraft carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on 6 April 1994 is considered to be the event that triggered the civil war and the acts of genocide that followed, the Council decided that the temporal jurisdiction of the Tribunal would commence on 1 January 1994, in order to capture the planning stage of the crimes". Finally, the personal jurisdiction of the Tribunal involves prosecuting those responsible for the violations referred to in articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Statute.

49. Thus, the International Tribunal may prosecute all persons responsible for the acts referred to above. But this is only a principle, or even an ideal, the implementation of which comes up against practical difficulties that considerably limit its scope. In view of the widespread participation of Rwandans in the acts in question, it will be virtually impossible for the International Tribunal to deal with all cases of persons responsible. Consequently, the national courts of Rwanda and other countries will be called on to deal with the cases referred to them. Concurrent jurisdiction is provided for explicitly in article 8, paragraph 1, of the Tribunal's Statute, as follows: "The International Tribunal for Rwanda and national courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute persons for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens for such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994".

50. The International Tribunal will certainly have jurisdiction to prosecute major criminals, i.e. those who planned, organized and gave the orders for crimes against humanity. The national courts, for their part, will prosecute persons responsible found in their national territory. Thus, contrary to an opinion which is widely held, particularly in Rwanda, the International Tribunal will not be the only court empowered to deal with all cases. In his report of 4 June 1995 to the Security Council (S/1995/457), the Secretary­General notes that "investigations will be carried out ... covering 400 identified suspects, most of whom have sought refuge abroad".

51. The shared wish of both the victims and those presumed responsible for the genocide that the International Tribunal should be accorded exclusive jurisdiction will thus not be fulfilled. Their only consolation may be the primacy of the International Tribunal over national courts. Under article 8, paragraph 2 of its Statute, "The International Tribunal for Rwanda shall have primacy over the national courts of all States. At any stage of the procedure, the International Tribunal for Rwanda may formally request national courts to defer to its competence in accordance with the present Statute and the Rules of Procedure".

52. To the satisfaction produced by the primacy of the International Tribunal has been added its long­awaited establishment (see the Secretary­General's report to the Security Council pursuant to paragraph 5 of Council resolution 955 (1994) (S/1995/134 of 13 February 1995)). By resolution 977 (1995) of 22 February 1995, the Security Council established the seat of the Tribunal at Arusha; the Secretary­General has appointed the Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor of the Tribunal, and on 24 and 25 May 1995 the General Assembly elected the six judges of the Trial Chambers of the Tribunal (see A/49/889 of 26 May 1995), from a list of 12 candidates submitted by the Security Council (resolution 989 (1995) of 24 April 1995). They were formally invested on 27 June 1995 at The Hague. On 27 February 1995, the Security Council adopted resolution 978 (1995) concerning cooperation between States and the International Tribunal for Rwanda, in which it urged States to arrest and detain persons found within their territory against whom there is sufficient evidence of involvement in the genocide, pending prosecution by the International Tribunal. Although this resolution is non­binding, States are expected to cooperate in implementing it in good faith.

(b) The International Tribunal and the Special Rapporteur

53. Unlike the International Tribunal, the Special Rapporteur is not invested with legal powers but, as his mandate involves inquiries, both institutions are called upon to conduct investigations of the same events. This requires close cooperation between the Special Rapporteur and the Tribunal, which, after all, belong to the same organization, the United Nations.

54. In order to determine the terms of this cooperation, the Special Rapporteur met the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal at The Hague on 2 March 1995 and his Deputy in Kigali on 29 March. These meetings revealed a firm resolve on both sides to cooperate closely in establishing the facts and preparing reports, in particular by regular exchanges of data, information and documents.

55. However, while the Tribunal's contribution to the international investigation of the crimes is invaluable, it restricts the action of the Special Rapporteur, who has a political mandate and may, by holding public proceedings, compromise the judicial inquiry which, on the contrary, calls for confidential proceedings. He will thus be obliged to observe confidentiality regarding certain facts and information which, if published, could be detrimental to the inquiry and judicial proceedings and ultimately prevent the truth from coming out. Consequently, the Special Rapporteur should not be expected to publish all information brought to his attention. Information gathered regarding the present human rights situation is another matter.


56. The current human rights situation in Rwanda has barely changed and is still characterized by serious violations of property rights, personal security and the right to life.

A. Violations of property rights

57. In his third report (E/CN.4/1995/70 of 11 November 1994) the Special Rapporteur singled out the illegal occupation of property as one of the most frequent forms of violation of human rights in Rwanda. The Government had envisaged several solutions, the most noteworthy of which seems to be the establishment of a commission to settle property and land disputes. However, that commission has failed, and it cannot be compensated for by inadequate solutions.

1. The failure of the land dispute committee

58. The Inter-Ministerial Committee for urgent action on property and disputes over business establishments, set up in August 1994, is composed of nine ministers and presided over by the Minister of the Interior. It is assisted by a technical committee of experts under the orders of the Minister, who has the power to approve that committee's decisions, the Inter-Ministerial Committee intervening only in serious cases.

59. The Inter-Ministerial Committee has experienced many difficulties in enforcing its decisions. Its eviction measures come up against various obstacles, and several forms of resistance may be cited. Some of them are actually carried out by law enforcement officers entrusted with this task. Gendarmes and soldiers show preference for their families or friends who are illegal occupants by not carrying out the evictions. The strongest resistance comes from the occupants themselves, who use various stratagems, four of which bear mention: being absent on the day the eviction is to be carried out, thereby paralysing the action of the law enforcement officers; leaving older people on the property at the time eviction is due to be carried out, which is intended to prevent forcible eviction, given the respect for older people in Africa in general and Rwanda in particular; appealing to groups of friends to provide physical opposition to the eviction; and seeking the protection of army officers, who sometimes order the arrest of soldiers in charge of the evictions.

60. In total, the actual rate of implementation of evictions, which was initially four every Friday, scarcely exceeds 30 per cent. Furthermore, individuals relocated by the Committee have had to accept the idea of leaving their homes and living in hiding, after receiving threats from evicted occupants. Worse still, individuals who have been reinstated in their property have been arrested or have even disappeared or been murdered.

61. Some examples brought to the observers' attention may be cited. One individual, having been summoned by the head of the Gitega sector to settle the dispute regarding his brother's house, was apprehended between 22 and 24 February 1995 by gendarmes from the Nyamirambo station and accused of belonging to the extremist Democratic Republican Movement (MDR). However, there are reliable indications that he was arrested because he owned two houses and also managed his brother's house. This person is still being held at Nyamirambo gendarmerie station while his two houses have been illegally occupied by a colonel of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR) and a woman, both of whom allegedly took possession of the premises the day after his arrest.

A similar fate was met by a family who succeeded in getting the illegal occupants of their house at Kigali "evicted" but stood helplessly by when, at 6 a.m. on 25 August 1994, the head of the family ("husband and father") was taken away by two soldiers. His wife's attempts to find him have been unsuccessful. This is also the case of Gervais Birekeraho, a Hutu merchant from Kigali, whose story merits a brief summary. Accused of having taken part in the genocide, he was arrested but succeeded in proving, thanks to a number of pieces of evidence - including his passport, which contained stamped foreign visas - that he had been abroad at the time of the hostilities and massacres. He was released, but while he was trying to regain possession of his many properties, he was abducted. His wife notified the Human Rights Field Operation. Inquiries led to the discovery of his body a few days later.

62. Given the failure of the Committee, other solutions have been proposed within the framework of technical assistance to Rwanda.

2. Inadequate solutions

63. The proposed solutions consist basically of measures for building new housing. This project is part of the repatriated refugee resettlement plan and is managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Programme has provided short-term financing for the construction of 500 buildings with local materials near Kigali and a few more buildings at Mutara. Any increase in the number of housing units to be built will depend on the funds available. For the time being, the resources mobilized are still inadequate. As at 1 April 1995, UNDP had received only US$ 40 million out of the US$ 110 million needed to start up the community development programme focusing primarily on the housing sector.

64. Furthermore, this amount is totally inadequate to cope with the immense requirements of reintegrating the nearly 600,000 former refugees whose repatriation had been envisaged. International aid, therefore, remains far from sufficient. Unfortunately, this is just as true for housing construction as, generally, for national reconstruction. In the aforementioned report of 4 June 1995 (S/1995/457), the Secretary­General criticizes the slow delivery of the assistance already pledged. Regarding the economic assistance pledged at the round table held by UNDP at Geneva on 18 and 19 January 1995, he states: "Although US$ 634 million was pledged on that occasion, only US$ 69 million has actually been disbursed, of which US$ 26 million has been utilized for debt repayment." The Secretary­General concludes: "It is important that these problems be addressed." This is all the more true since assistance by the international community remains indispensable to the national reconstruction programme, especially the construction of housing or refugee centres. Such assistance could encourage the refugees to return to their homes and help to reduce, if not put an end to, violations of personal security.

B. Violations of the right to personal security

65. Violations of personal security have unfortunately multiplied over recent months, often in direct relation to violations of property rights, of which they are the immediate cause. The violations consist of arbitrary arrests and detentions leading to distressing conditions of detention.

1. Arbitrary arrests and detentions

66. The arrests and detentions effected by the Rwandan authorities are arbitrary in so far as they blatantly flout both Rwandan legislation and the pertinent international provisions. According to Rwandan criminal procedure, the arrest of a person presumed to have committed an offence must be carried out with an arrest warrant issued by the government procurator. The lawful period of detention is 48 hours. This may be extended, but not beyond five days. Beyond that period, if the prosecutor wishes to keep the arrested person in detention, he must bring him before the court of first instance, which will decide, in chambers, on pre­trial custody, which may extend to one month, or order release on bail or unconditional release if the case is dismissed. Almost all arrests and detentions carried out since the end of the hostilities have flouted the above­mentioned provisions, which in fact reflect the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by the United Nations.

67. The number of people arrested and subsequently detained has been growing for several months. As at 29 May 1995, there were 29,403 detainees in the prisons and detention centres accessible to human rights observers. The total prison population throughout the country was estimated at the end of May 1995 at more than 42,000, as stated in the latest report of the Secretary­General on Rwanda (S/1995/457 of 4 June 1995). In late February 1995, the estimate was 25,000. Thus, between the end of February and the end of May, the number of detainees rose from 25,000 to 42,000, or an additional 17,000 in three months - nearly 6,000 new detainees per month or 1,500 per week. Given the conditions in which these arrests and detentions are carried out, the Rwandan authorities themselves, in particular the former public prosecutor in the Kigali court of first instance, acknowledge that more than 20 to 30 per cent of detainees are innocent.

68. There are several interrelated reasons for the resurgence of massive arrests and detentions. The first reason, which is the one given by the authorities, is the closure of the displaced persons camps, which, according to them, had become a haven for numerous militiamen and others accused of genocide. If the latter had been outside the camps, they would have been recognized and reported by witnesses or successors of the victims of the massacres. The second reason is the slanderous accusations, motivated by hate, jealousy and covetousness for the goods of the people being persecuted. This is illustrated by the above-mentioned examples of occupation of property. The third reason is the practice of blank warrants. The Special Rapporteur was informed of the existence of this illegal practice, which consists of prosecutors signing blank warrants, which are handed to mayors who have limited police powers - and enable them to make arrests. This practice, whose existence has been explicitly confirmed by public authorities, can only contribute to the resurgence of massive and arbitrary arrests. The former public prosecutor of Kigali, who was quick to protest against these arbitrary arrests resulting from slanderous accusations, added, at a press conference in Brussels on 11 May 1995, a fourth reason relating to a statement by the International Tribunal prosecutor, Judge Goldstone. He said: "I must stress the fact that there has been a disturbing increase in these arrests following the announcement on national radio that the International Tribunal would not begin prosecutions before the end of 1995." These massive arrests are even more disturbing given that the conditions of detention leave something to be desired.

2. Distressing conditions of detention

69. The situation in the prisons is one of the major concerns of the international community. It remains indescribable and unspeakable; the

former public prosecutor of Kigali calls it "tragic". With reason: it is characterized by overcrowding and inhuman treatment of prisoners.

(a) Overcrowding of the prisons

70. The prison population at 29 May 1995 consisted of 29,403 persons packed into 13 small official detention centres. These centres do not include the isolation cells and other places of detention inaccessible to the human rights observers. At 10 June 1995 the total prison population was estimated at approximately 46,000 detainees, including 1,100 minors.

71. The Rwandan prisons consist of these overcrowded centres, and the extent of overcrowding far exceeds the threshold of tolerability. This is the case in Butaré prison, which has accommodation for 1,500 detainees but on 10 June contained 6,589, four times more than capacity. It is also the case in Kigali prison, which on 3 June housed 9,401 detainees in a space intended for 2,000, or five times more than capacity. Similarly, Gitarama prison housed 6,847 detainees in a space for 800, almost eight times more than capacity.

72. In most prisons the detainees are housed in cramped conditions, most of them barely able to sit down, much less lie down on a floor which is often roughcast. The few beds are sold to the highest bidder or occupied by the strongest. It is extremely difficult for visitors to make their way through this mass of humanity exposed to the sun and the elements. It was impossible for the Special Rapporteur, during his visit on 31 March 1995, to move around within Gitarama prison. Immobilized and at the mercy of bad weather, the detainees eat, drink and defecate on the spot. This "tragic" situation spares neither old people, women, nor even children. Some of the children are under 11 years of age. In Kigali prison, there are 278 minors and 70 children accompanied by their mothers; the Special Rapporteur was particularly moved by the sight of a seven-year-old boy accused of taking part in the genocide.

73. These distressing conditions of detention cause a number of illnesses and deaths are no less common. In Gitarama prison, for example, 48 people died in April 1995. On the day of the Special Rapporteur's visit, two bodies were removed in his presence. He was subsequently informed that the daily average from June 1994 to March 1995 had been four deaths a day. Deaths are also caused by maltreatment.

(b) Inhuman and degrading treatment

74. Although the detention centres do not have a monopoly on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, they are the prime site for such practices. Many cases of torture that have left after-effects on the victims have been reported to United Nations human rights observers. This inhuman treatment takes several forms, ranging from beatings to kandoya and suffocation.

75. The practice of beating, which consists of striking the detainees, is common in a large number of detention centres, including the prison in Gisenyi prefecture, where human rights observers reported receiving 40 complaints from victims in January and February 1995. In several of these cases, the victims were taken to hospital. Two died as a result of their injuries. At Save police headquarters, several detainees who had arrived in early March showed signs of ill­treatment - either open wounds on the back or legs, swollen joints or head wounds. Another detainee had scars all over his back and arms. Observers from Butaré, during a routine visit to the prison in the week of 20 to 25 March, heard noises, shouting, threats and slaps coming from the interrogation room of the criminal police officer.

76. Various other types of blows are struck by means of instruments other than clubs. These include machete blows flat across the shoulders, kicks, screw driver stabs to the back and head, which cause gashes; blows with rifle butts, causing holes in the feet; bludgeoning, leaving marks on the head and back; blows with a chain attached to a padlock, causing lacerations; and blows to the buttocks, leaving open wounds.

77. Kandoya is another torture technique which consists in tying the victim's arms just above the elbows behind his back. It leaves clear marks in the form of wounds which eventually lead to the paralysis of the upper limbs.

78. Suffocation is a form of torture which caused the incident at Muhima police station during the night of 16­17 March 1995. The facts merit a brief description. On the afternoon of 16 March, 75 arrested persons were taken from Gikora community centre to Muhima police station, where they arrived at about 5 p.m. The local police authorities said that it was too late to book them and that they would have to stay in an improvised place of detention until the formalities could be undertaken the next day. The gendarmes forced all 75 people into a room measuring barely 16 square metres, with only one door and no windows. In the middle of the night, the detainees knocked on the door, but no one was able to open it for them. The next morning, 22 of them had suffocated to death; 2 others who had been taken to hospital also succumbed, bringing the death toll to 24. The observers' request to investigate this incident was turned down by the Rwandan authorities, who assured them that they had initiated their own inquiry.

79. To this non­exhaustive list of ill­treatment should be added the rape of women and the malnutrition of detainees.

2. The solutions envisaged

80. The Rwandan Government and the international community have taken a number of short­term measures to end the overcrowding of the prisons and medium­term measures to try those accused of genocide. These measures can be divided into two major categories. The first has to do with sorting the case files and the second with the rehabilitation of the judicial system.

(a) Sorting the case files

81. The first solution advocated and implemented by the Rwandan Government consisted in setting up, on 17 October 1994, a commission to sort the case files of detainees on a prefecture­by­prefecture basis. This sorting operation had two purposes: (a) to separate ordinary criminal cases from those relating to the genocide, and (b) to separate the cases of people against whom sufficient charges of participation in the genocide had been brought from those of other persons. The purpose of this preliminary screening was clearly to arrange for the release of people for whom detention was not necessary so as to reduce the overcrowding of prisons.

82. The case file sorting commission is composed of the public prosecutor of the court of first instance (president), a representative of the gendarmerie, a representative of the army and a representative of the information services. The Kigali commission began its work on 10 January 1995 and, at its first meeting, ordered 5 releases out of the 12 case files considered. In mid­February, 50 detainees would have been released on its orders had it not been for the opposition of the military. The commission subsequently had to stop its work owing to lack of cooperation on the part of the army.

83. It should be stressed that, no matter how praiseworthy, the commissions none the less have limitations which considerably restrict their scope. The first limitation lies in the fact that the small number of releases which the commissions are able to order cannot significantly reduce the number of prisoners or even offset the number of incoming prisoners, which is between 1,300 and 1,500 per week. The second limitation is the lack of guaranteed safety upon leaving prison. The fear of reprisals or private vengeance has led Rwandans, especially Hutus, to give themselves up as prisoners. These persons, as some of the detainees in Butaré prison have told the Special Rapporteur, are not prepared to risk their lives by leaving prison until such time as effective measures are taken to ensure their safety.

84. Following the closure of the displaced persons camps, the Government decided to arrest only those persons against whom sufficient charges of participation in the genocide had been brought. This step does not seem to have produced the expected results, given the continuously mounting number of detentions.

85. The limitations and failure of the classification commissions have prompted the United Nations agencies and humanitarian aid organizations to call for the rehabilitation of the judicial system.

(b) Rehabilitation of the judicial system

86. The rehabilitation of the judicial system is aimed at both the prisons and the courts.

(i) The prisons

87. Since early February 1995, various international organizations working on Rwandan territory have recommended that the Ministers of Defence and Justice should take urgent steps to rehabilitate the prisons. They have themselves proposed at least three solutions.

88. The humanitarian agencies first of all suggested the construction of tents for housing the detainees on sites surrounded by barbed wire. The Government rejected this proposal for reasons both of "security", given the enormous risks of escape, and of "image", as the proposal evoked uncomfortable memories of the Nazi concentration camps. The humanitarian agencies then proposed that the detainees should be transferred provisionally to stadiums. This solution was also rejected, as it brought to mind the fact that the stadiums had served as venues for assembling and massacring Tutsis during the hostilities. The agencies' third proposal was for a prison rehabilitation plan which involved refurbishing the existing detention centres and building new ones.

89. This last solution was selected but not without resistance, as there were two main objections to the idea of building new detention centres. The first was raised primarily by the embassies of Western nations, which are major funders. Without questioning the principle of the arrests and detentions necessitated by the duty to punish those accused of the genocide and other crimes against humanity, they pointed out that increasing prison accommodation might, in this case, encourage the Rwandan authorities to persist in their "arbitrary" activities and not bother trying to relieve the prison overcrowding by releasing the victims of slanderous accusations. In other words, what was being decried and denounced was not the arrests and detentions in themselves, but the way in which they are carried out. The second objection was that building prisons would at best create only a few hundred additional spaces, which would quickly prove inadequate for the growing needs created by the 1,500 weekly arrests and detentions. Nevertheless, given the inhuman conditions of detention and the daily number of deaths resulting therefrom, everyone, or almost everyone, agreed to consider these two latter solutions as the lesser of the evils. Accordingly, a number of sites have been selected for the construction of new detention centres. One such site is at Nsida (Kibungo prefecture), where there are plans to build a prison with a capacity of 5,000. Financing will come from a voluntary fund managed by UNDP.

90. Building new prisons is, however, no panacea for the grave problem of the overcrowding of prisons. The lasting solution to this problem lies in national reconstruction, which will require greater aid from the international community. In the immediate future, this aid should be earmarked for the rehabilitation of the courts.

(ii) The courts

91. The Minister of Justice of Rwanda, at a symposium held at Lille on 20 May 1995, described the situation of the courts in the following terms: "In Rwanda more than 1 million people have died ... Judges have not been spared. Most of them went with the former leaders, others were massacred during the genocide, while those few who managed to escape are attempting to organize a semblance of justice, a crippled justice in search of itself." In fact, the Rwandan judicial machinery is still defective, if not almost non­existent. It is characterized by a shortage of both human resources and material facilities.

92. Prior to the massacres of April-July 1994, there were 708 judges. A very small number of jurists was recorded, only 45. Today, Rwanda does not have more than about 210 judges, including only 60 trained jurists. These judges can be classified as follows: prosecutors' offices and courts of first

instance, 55; court of appeal, 2; and court of cassation, 3. The 150 other magistrates are with the cantonal courts. Thus, the fact that most of the jurisdictions are not functioning is largely due to the inadequate numbers of judicial personnel. The 55 judges in courts of first instance who deal with criminal matters will have to consider the 46,000 cases currently pending. Since it is not possible to cite all the cases, the example of Kigali will suffice: its prosecutor and his 4 assistants will together have to deal with more than 9,300 cases.

93. To this shortage of human resources must be added the destruction of the infrastructure of the courts themselves, which has entailed a dire shortage of material and logistical facilities. Owing to the lack of financial resources, it has not been possible to replace all of the furniture and buildings which were destroyed. However, it is the lack of basic technical resources for investigation, particularly liaison vehicles, office materials and even paper and ball-point pens, which should be stressed. In these circumstances the judges do not have appropriate working conditions; instead, the entire processing of the cases of those accused of the genocide is slowed down.

94. In order to rectify this situation, the Minister of Justice has sent to the United Nations authorities, including the Centre for Human Rights, a request for aid, particularly in the form of foreign judicial personnel, estimated at 678, including 303 judges, 300 prosecutors and 75 police officers (police investigators).

95. In response to this request from the Rwandan Government, a technical assistance programme for the Rwandan judicial system has been adopted and is now being implemented. The first phase has two parts: rehabilitation of court buildings and rehabilitation of the prisons, including the construction of new detention centres. The second phase comprises three activities: the priority initial recruitment of 50 foreign judges, the training of national judicial personnel and the establishment, within the Ministry of Justice, of a coordination structure for foreign technical assistance and project management. This project will be managed by the Ministry of Justice, with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in charge of recruitment and financing provided by UNDP. The Centre for Human Rights has already selected 16 international jurists, whose personal history files have been sent for approval to the Minister of Justice. Their task will be to assist prosecutors in examining the case files.

96. The Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda has been given the task of assisting the Ministry of Justice in carrying out the project for the rehabilitation of the judicial system. The objectives of this project are as follows: guidance and management of foreign judicial personnel; training of national personnel; deployment of foreign judges in the various prefectures and communes; purchase, distribution and maintenance of vehicles; and medical evacuation of foreign personnel. However, there is at the moment a legal obstacle preventing execution of the programme. For obvious reasons of national security, Rwandan law does not authorize foreign judges to exercise a jurisdictional function on Rwandan territory. It is in order to remove that obstacle, among other reasons, that the Government has submitted to Parliament a bill whose early adoption would undoubtedly help to revive the Rwandan judicial system. This is demonstrated to some extent by the failure of the initiative of the Minister of Justice to start, if only symbolically, the trial of those accused of the genocide of 6 April 1995. The adoption of the bill by the Rwandan Parliament would certainly enable a start, and progress to be made, in the cases pending, not just those relating to the genocide, but also those involving offences currently being committed on Rwandan territory, including violations of the right to life.

C. Violations of the right to life

97. Violations of the right to life, which had decreased somewhat and given way to arbitrary arrests and detentions, are now unfortunately on the increase again, taking the form of summary executions, massacres, and abductions and enforced disappearances.

1. Summary executions

98. The human rights observers have received numerous testimonies of summary executions perpetrated by civilians and above all, by soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR) as acts of reprisal. Some examples may be cited merely by way of illustration. On 12 February 1995, two cyclists, Nteziyaremye and Buseruka, accidentally collided with an APR soldier in the Gakarara sector (Ruhengeri prefecture, Karago commune) and were immediately taken to the military camp at Mukamira. On 15 February, their families were informed that they had been shot by members of the APR while attempting to escape. The bodies, when recovered by the families, revealed marks and wounds which were far from consistent with the official account. On 30 April, three inhabitants of the Gasasa sector (Nyakizu commune, Butaré prefecture) discovered eight dead bodies in a small wood. They were identified as displaced persons who had recently returned from Kamana camp in Gikongoro prefecture. Witnesses said that, on the evening of 29 April - in other words, the previous evening, they had seen the eight victims alive being taken towards the wood by a group of persons, among whom were two soldiers in uniform. The victims died from blows to the head with sticks and stones. Their names were transmitted to the observers. Three persons suspected of having taken part in these executions were arrested. On 4 April, in Gitarama prefecture, a 16­year­old girl informed observers that her father had been killed the previous day in Ntenyo (Tambwe sector) by a group led by two brothers, whose first names were Vital and Aphrodis, and another four persons. This group was allegedly composed of Tutsis who had survived the war.

99. In Cyangungu prefecture, there were also several reports of summary executions. Three persons were killed by members of the APR in Nyamasheke on 24 March. The victims were identified by UNAMIR military observers. On 25 March, a further two persons were killed in Kirambo for resisting arrest. In the same town on the following day, i.e. 26 March, APR soldiers killed two women school teachers and a baby.

100. To this already lengthy list should be added the case of the murder, on 4 March 1995, of the former prefect of Butaré, Mr. Pierre­Claver Rwangabo, in circumstances which have still not been clarified. In addition to these individual killings there have been the massacres of displaced persons in Kibeho.

2. The Kibeho massacres

101. The tragedy of Kibeho constitutes the major event of the period covered by this report and therefore merits some attention. Following the failure of "Opération retour" (Operation Return), the Government of Rwanda decided, on 15 April 1995, to close the displaced persons camps which, owing to the infiltration of militiamen and soldiers from Rwanda's former armed forces, were becoming a "threat to the security of the region". The largest camp, Kibeho, still contained 120,000 persons out of a total of some 250,000 displaced persons. The Rwandan authorities gave orders to close it by force. APR soldiers took up positions round the camp as from 18 April. That day, two APR brigades, or more than 2,000 soldiers, surrounded the camps at Kibeho and Ndago in order, in their words, to carry out a search for criminals and weapons. The displaced persons panicked, and leaving their huts and abandoning all their possessions, they took refuge around the buildings controlled by UNAMIR. Following the jostling caused by the soldiers surrounding the camps and by shots fired into the air, 11 people, mostly children, were trampled to death by the panic­stricken crowd. Similar incidents, causing scores of deaths and many injured, occurred on 19, 20 and 21 April. Some 9,000 displaced persons were registered and evacuated during those three days. However, the operation was hampered by heavy rain, while groups of young civilians, armed with sticks and stones, attacked the displaced persons as they walked along the roads in large groups.

102. It seems that it was in the night of 22 April that the worst occurred; many shots were heard and, next morning, the road between the two UNAMIR posts was strewn with countless bodies. It should be made clear that some were killed by APR fire, others were trampled or crushed by the crowd in the general panic, and still others were executed by militiamen in reprisal against displaced persons who had expressed their intention of leaving the camp.

103. The number of victims of the Kibeho massacres is still undetermined. The Government of Rwanda recorded only 300 deaths, while other sources put the number at 8,000. UNAMIR, for its part, suggests a figure of between 1,500 and 2,000. The exact figure will never be known. What is important and thus to be condemned is not so much the number of deaths as the act perpetrated and the manner of its perpetration. Its unanimous condemnation by the international community is therefore readily understandable.

104. Following these massacres and their subsequent condemnations, the Government of Rwanda proposed that an international commission should be set up to inquire into the events at Kibeho. The commission, officially constituted in Kigali on 3 May, began work on 8 May and submitted its report on 18 May.

105. In its report, the commission drew a number of conclusions, of which we shall mention three. The first is that the Kibeho massacres were neither the result of a planned action to kill a specific group of people nor the result of an incident which could have been prevented. Secondly, there is sufficient evidence to establish the fact that serious human rights violations were perpetrated against unarmed displaced persons, causing their death or serious wounding. Thirdly these violations are attributable both to APR military personnel and to armed individuals among the displaced persons themselves. The Government of Rwanda, in a statement on 26 May, took note of the conclusions and recommendations of the commission and reiterated its commitment to put them into practice.

3. Abductions and enforced disappearances

106. The human rights observers have also received a great many reports of persons abducted and missing whose families have neither news nor any trace of them. The abductions and enforced disappearances would seem to be mainly the work of members of the APR. A few cases will be mentioned as examples.

107. On 4 August 1994, between 10 and 11 p.m., Mr. Ladislas Benhimana (aged 47), an inspector of finances, was arrested along with his two children, Jean­Claude and Rosine, by three APR soldiers, apparently without a warrant. According to the information received, the representations made by his wife produced no results. On 25 August, at 6 a.m., Mr. Leodomir Baguliyoro (aged 47), a Ministry of Finance official, was abducted from his home in Kigali by two soldiers who bundled him into a vehicle. There again, the official steps taken by his wife to find him were unsuccessful. The same occurred with Mr. Ndagimana (aged 31), a driver and mechanic, who was abducted in the evening of 25 July 1994 while he was returning home from King Faisal Hospital. His car was found in front of Gikoro police station. A witness said he had seen him three days after his arrest, in handcuffs, in the compound of the national gendarmerie headquarters in Kimihurura. The investigations carried out by his family to find him yielded no results. This was also the case with Mr. Marcel Ntirenganya, who left his home on 20 October 1994 to take a soldier friend of the family back to his post. His car was found in front of Muhima police station, but he himself was never found.

108. During his most recent visit to Rwanda, the Special Rapporteur met a delegation of Rwandan women whose husbands and, in some cases, children had been missing since July 1994. They presented him with a file containing several items. The first was made up of five reports on cases of enforced disappearances. The second was a non­exhaustive list of 49 persons reported missing, abducted by APR soldiers. The list was sent to the Minister of Justice from the "Persons reported missing since July 1994 - wives' group" on 25 May 1995. To date, however, all the steps taken by these women vis­à­vis the competent authorities to find their husbands have been fruitless. The third contained a list of 149 men reported missing, addressed by the women's group in the Masoro sector (Rutongo commune, Kigali prefecture) to the chief of the human rights operation in Kigali. Their husbands have been reported missing since May 1994 in Byumba, when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took them away to the zone it controlled for "their protection". They have been without news since then.

109. All these abductions and enforced disappearances, and particularly the events in Kibeho, can only create further obstacles to the return from the exodus.


110. As to the problem of the return from the exodus, another major concern of the international community, there has been no obvious progress towards a solution. On the contrary, the situation of those concerned has deteriorated. However, this judgement is tempered by the fact that the problem of the return takes on different dimensions according to whether it involves displaced persons or refugees. The former have been subjected to enforced repatriation, while the latter remain blocked in the camps.

A. The forcible repatriation of displaced persons

111. It was to resolve the situation of displaced persons that "Operation Return" was launched; regrettably, it has ended in failure.

1. "Operation Return"

112. The problem of the return of the displaced persons, has fomented discord between the United Nations and the Government of Rwanda. The United Nations recommended the voluntary repatriation of displaced persons and the agreed closure of the camps, while the Government opted for their forcible closure. In support of its position, the Government invoked various arguments, including the violation of State sovereignty, the infiltration of the camps by militiamen who took refugees as hostages, and the frequent raids by militiamen on national territory. While regarding the Government's position as legitimate, the United Nations asked it to adopt the solution of the voluntary and peaceful return of the displaced population.

113. The agreement obtained from the Government to implement the strategy proposed by the United Nations made it possible to launch "Operation Return". The purpose of this operation, initiated by the United Nations Rwanda Emergency Office (UNREO), was to repatriate displaced persons from the camps to their habitual place of residence. The operation was accompanied by a food rehabilitation programme (including seed distribution) managed by ICRC. The operation began on 28 December 1994 and enabled nearly 150,000 displaced persons to be "repatriated". This solution did not prevail, however, and was implemented only from December 1994 to March 1995.

2. The failure of the operation

114. According to UNREO, some 170 families had arrived in Kibeho camp in March 1995, bringing the number of displaced persons in the camp to over 130,000. Some displaced persons left for Burundi by the Ntongwe road; others left for camps situated in the south of Gikongoro. The chief of Munini camp estimated in March 1995 that at least five families of displaced persons were leaving the camp every day to go not to Rwanda but to Burundi. According to UNAMIR the number of displaced who travelled from south­west Rwanda to Burundi between 13 and 19 March 1995 was approximately 510.

115. These observed movements arose from the fact that the repatriated persons were apprehensive and afraid of being arrested or killed. Some told officials of humanitarian agencies that they were ready to return home and be arrested

if they were accused of having taken part in the genocide, but not because they wanted to claim their property. The number of repatriations had thus considerably decreased by April 1995.

116. It was in this context that the Government decided to close the camps by force, particularly Kibeho camp; the result of this was the massacres described above. Following the brutal and forcible closure of the camps, large numbers of displaced persons were transported back to the communes from which they had come. Many others returned on foot, in difficult circumstances. Many of them were surrounded, harassed, stripped of their goods and beaten by gangs of civilians armed with sticks and stones. Thus, for example, on 21 April, five kilometres from Runyinya, over a 100 displaced persons could be seen running in terror, covered with wounds. Two youths beat to death a woman carrying a baby on her back.

117. By 25 April, with the exception of Kibeho where fewer than 2,000 persons still remained, all the camps had been evacuated and were deserted. The final movements of displaced persons took place in the south of Butaré prefecture, from Kamana towards the communes of Nyakizu, Gishamvu, Kigembe and Runyinya. On 25 April there were still a few hundred displaced persons who refused to leave the camps. On 26 April, the total number of displaced persons registered was 60,177.

118. From 19 to 28 April, when the camps were totally evacuated, the number of repatriated displaced persons was estimated to be 61,855. It should be pointed out, however, that many displaced persons did not register out of fear of the communal authority. During his visit to the Kibeho site, the Special Rapporteur observed that the camps were empty and under the supervision of APR soldiers, while the UNAMIR posts had been completely evacuated.

119. The enforced return of the displaced persons and, above all, the Kibeho massacres can only create further obstacles to the return of the refugees.

B. The Blocking of refugees

120. Despite the efforts of the United Nations and the humanitarian non­governmental organizations to improve the situation in the camps, and in spite of some progress which has been made, the refugees continue to exist in a state of permanent insecurity. They are the victims of a dilemma which, in fact, gives them no choice; on the one hand, they find their difficult life in the camps hard to bear and on the other, they cannot go home because of the lack of security in Rwanda and because they are held hostage in the camps. The various solutions envisaged to release them from this situation have not led to satisfactory results.

1. The solutions envisaged

121. The Secretary­General of the United Nations has envisaged several solutions not only to put an end to the insecurity, but also to encourage the refugees to return voluntarily and peacefully. Among these measures, mention may be made of the plan to set up a peace­keeping operation; this has failed and been replaced by the deployment of local troops.

(a) The failure of the planned peace-keeping operation

122. In his report of 25 January 1995 to the Security Council (S/1995/65), the Secretary­General proposed the setting­up of a peace­keeping operation composed of 5,000 men, to ensure that political and other refugees are kept separate.

123. This plan, which was based on an integrated approach to the various problems, was aimed at several objectives simultaneously. Its purpose was to put an end to the acts of banditry and the harassment of humanitarian personnel, to protect the storage and distribution of humanitarian aid, and to enable refugees who had applied to return to go back to Rwanda without being subjected to intimidation by the former rulers. However, the peace­keeping operation does not seem to have received the support of the States Members of the United Nations. Despite appeals by the Secretary­General, the States have almost unanimously refused to supply national contingents for the operation. In this connection, the Secretary­General reports that of the 60 States approached only one agreed to make a unit available for the operation. He therefore decided to turn towards alternative solutions - the setting­up of a group of police/military observers and contracting arrangements with private security agencies.

124. These proposals, too, have had to be dropped because they are too costly. The solution which finally prevailed was recourse to local security forces.

(b) The deployment of local troops

125. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in the context of the national solution, signed an agreement on 27 January 1995 with the Government of Zaire, under which this Government undertook to deploy 1,500 soldiers in order to ensure security in the refugee camps. To date, all the 1,500 Zairian soldiers have been deployed, mainly in Goma and Bukavu. According to UNHCR, a further contingent of 400 soldiers may be deployed in the camps located in Uvira.

126. The Zairian soldiers have the support of the international advisers who make up the Civil Liaison Group for security matters. This Group, currently composed of 45 officers, comprises 13 Netherlanders, 2 Swiss, 10 Beninese, 10 Guineans and 10 Cameroonians. Their number should be increased to 50.

2. Unsatisfactory results

127. It is true that the deployment of local troops in the refugee camps has restored a degree of calm, following the improvement in the food and sanitary situation. In his report of 14 April 1995 to the Security Council (S/1995/304), the Secretary-General noted that the presence of local troops in the camps in Zaire had so far yielded positive results.

128. However, the overall picture is still clearly unsatisfactory, as the main objectives are far from having been attained. In fact, the situation remains virtually the same as in previous months, and is characterized both by the renewed flow of refugees and insecurity in the camps. The total number of Rwandan refugees is approximately 2 million.

(a) The return of refugees to the camps

129. According to UNHCR, on 28 June 1995 there were 1,100,400 Rwandan refugees in Zaire, 608,700 in the United Republic of Tanzania, 200,000 in Burundi and 4,000 in Uganda.

130. Since the Kibeho massacres, there has been a threefold phenomenon: the spontaneous and orderly return to Rwanda of a large number of former Tutsi refugees from Burundi and Zaire; the end of the voluntary repatriation, organized by UNHCR, of new Hutu refugees; the renewed flow of displaced persons into the refugee camps in Zaire and of Rwandan refugees from Burundi to Tanzania.

131. The latter phenomenon should be described in greater detail. In early May 1995, 27,000 displaced persons who had survived the Kibeho massacres found refuge in north-east Burundi. Some 16,000 of them, who were not accepted by the Burundi authorities, managed to reach Zaire across the Ruzizi plain and took refuge at Uvira. In addition, between 19 and 25 May, 1,166 Rwandans who had taken refuge in Burundi arrived at the Kitali camp in Tanzania. Only 248 refugees arrived between 26 May and 1 June, after the Tanzanian authorities decided to close Tanzania's borders with Burundi.

(b) Insecurity in the camps

132. The insecurity prevailing in the camps seems to have spread well beyond their boundaries, threatening the stability of Rwanda and the security of the local populations.

133. Rwanda's stability is jeopardized by increasingly numerous forays into Rwanda by militiamen and by members of the former Rwandan government forces. The situation in Rwanda is even more disturbing in view of the reports of the training and arms deliveries received by these groups. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two distinguished humanitarian organizations, identify the countries providing military assistance by name. In its report published in May 1995, Human Rights Watch reveals that arms are being supplied from South Africa, China and France to the camps in Zaire. In the report referred to above on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (S/1995/457 of 4 June 1995), the Secretary-General criticized the situation, which he described as one of the "causes of Rwanda's current tensions and frustrations"; echoing the Kigali Government, he said that the latter was "concerned that no effective limitations are seen to be placed on military training of, and delivery of arms supplies to, elements of the former Rwandan government forces, while the arms embargo continues to apply to Rwanda".

134. The problems of the renewed flow of refugees, the insecurity in the camps and the rejection of refugees by local authorities all require urgent measures.

135. Relations between Rwandan refugees and the local populations are little better. They remain tense on account of the constant attacks on the population by armed refugees. Consequently, in the host countries - Burundi, Tanzania and Zaire - Rwandan refugees are increasingly deemed undesirable by the local population, not only because of the insecurity they generate, but also because of the environmental deterioration they cause. This accounts for the Tanzanian authorities' decision to close their country's borders to Rwandan refugees, particularly those from Burundi. This is also the case with the Zairian authorities, who have adopted a firmer stance vis-à-vis Rwandan refugees. Already in May 1995, the Supreme Council of the Republic (the transitional parliament) of Zaire adopted a resolution calling on the Government to send the refugees back to Rwanda. In a communiqué published on 24 June, the Government of Zaire issued a statement confirming the resolution.


136. The recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur duly take account of the

urgent short­term and medium-term problems. Essentially these are: the repression of genocide, the cessation of human rights violations, the fate of the victims of human rights violations, the fate of refugees and displaced persons, and reconstruction and social harmony.

A. The repression of genocide

137. As recommended in the third report of the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/1995/70 of 11 November 1994), the United Nations should ensure as quickly as possible:

The commencement of the proceedings of the International Tribunal for Rwanda;

Increased technical and financial assistance to rehabilitate the Rwandan justice system, in particular by providing personnel, rebuilding court­houses and constructing new prisons in order to alleviate overcrowding in existing prisons.

138. The United Nations should:

Induce Rwanda to adopt legislative and regulatory measures to facilitate the performance of judicial functions by foreign magistrates in order to rapidly and fairly prosecute and try the alleged perpetrators of genocide;

Demand that Member States give full effect to Security Council resolution 978 (1995) of 27 February 1995 concerning the arrest and detention of the alleged perpetrators of the crimes committed in Rwanda present on their territory, and that they cooperate in good faith with the International tribunal;

Help to ensure the defence of the alleged perpetrators of the genocide with a view to securing equitable justice.

B. The cessation of human rights violations

139. The United Nations should demand that the Rwandan authorities ensure the observance of the following:

The prerogatives and decisions of the judicial authorities, which is an essential condition for the sound administration of justice;

In particular, the forms and procedures laid down by national legislation, and the international standards regulating the arrest and detention of suspected criminals.

140. The United Nations should recommend the following to the Government of Rwanda:

The organization of wide-ranging campaigns to make the population aware of the need to respect the physical integrity and property of others, and to prepare for a life in common and on good terms;

The adoption, as advocated in the third report of the Special Rapporteur, of forceful administrative measures designed to deter acts of reprisal and at the same time to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of anyone who may commit such acts.

C. The fate of victims of human rights violations

141. The United Nations should take appropriate measures:

To identify the victims of the genocide and of other serious human rights violations, assess their needs, and promote and/or organize care for them;

To provide or strengthen protection for vulnerable groups, particularly unaccompanied children, widows and disabled persons. It is imperative to establish a legal framework.

142. The United Nations should:

Induce the Government of Rwanda to grant applications by individuals whose property is unlawfully occupied and punish the occupiers;

Assist the Government of Rwanda to build housing for the returnees, in particular the former refugees, precisely in order to avert the unlawful occupation of property.

D. The fate of refugees and displaced persons

143. As indicated above, the United Nations should recommend that the Governments of countries hosting Rwandan refugees, and particularly the Government of Zaire, which has accepted the greatest number, take appropriate action to ensure that:

(a) The voluntary repatriation of refugees is effectively assured and facilitated;

(b) The refugees are not unduly influenced in one way or another, i.e. either to leave or to remain in the receiving country;

(c) Systematic information campaigns are organized for this purpose so that the people concerned can take a fully informed decision.

144. The United Nations should demand that the Governments in question ensure:

(a) That their territories are not used as a base for destabilizing Rwanda or committing acts of aggression against that State;

(b) That they abide by their international commitments, particularly those deriving from the relevant provisions of international conventions on asylum and refugees.

145. The United Nations should take appropriate measures:

To verify, in particular by means of an international commission of inquiry, information concerning the rearming and training of the former Rwandan government forces;

To strengthen security measures in the refugee camps in order to prevent attacks by refugees against the local populations and forays into Rwandan territory;

To ensure, by agreement with the various States concerned, the repatriation of refugees under proper conditions of security and dignity.

E. Reconstruction and social harmony

146. The United Nations should make a formal and urgent appeal to Member States, particularly the major Powers and African States, to provide substantial assistance for the reconstruction of Rwanda as a matter of urgency.

147. The United Nations should increase the number of human rights observers in Rwanda from 147 (the figure initially planned) to 300.

148. By means of an integrated approach to the problems of the Great Lakes Region, the United Nations should:

(a) Adopt a comprehensive strategy designed to prevent the disintegration of the subregion;

(b) Convene, by agreement with the Organization of African Unity and the permanent members of the Security Council, an international conference to resolve the problems of the subregion, in view of their related, interdependent and transboundary nature, with a view to establishing a permanent peace.