Social and political mechanisms of mass murder : an analysis of perpetrators in the Rwandan genocide / by Charles K. Mironko.
This study is an investigation of the circumstances and motivations that led ordinary Rwandans to participate in the killing of Tutsi civilians in the genocide of 1994. It differentiates these circumstances and motives from those of the genocide's extremist architects, who were committed to preserving the political power of Hutu elites by wiping out all Tutsi. In contrast with this group, interviews with low-level perpetrators in Rwandan prisons reveal that ideologies of ethnic hatred were not the principal reason why ordinary people participated in the killing. Rather, a combination of local political and administrative structures designed to mobilize collective action on the one hand (ibitero) and a related set of discourses authorizing certain forms of action and violence on behalf of higher-level authorities on the other were central to their actions in 1994.The role of radio in disseminating the rhetoric of ethnic hatred, thus motivating Rwandans to violence, is examined through taped radio broadcasts and discussions with perpetrators about the role of radio in their lives. The study concludes that although radio was a prevalent source of information, inflammatory rhetorics and calls to action cannot be held responsible for “causing” the violence.The future of Rwanda, in which the needs and demands of genocide survivors exist in a powerful tension with the needs and demands of alleged perpetrators, is also discussed from the perspective of the perpetrators. These perpetrators' comments reflect a desire for justice and due process, at the same time that they imagine the possibility of social reconciliation between Hutu and Tutsi, an unrealistic scenario in the present context. A traditionally-inspired form of justice called gacaca is discussed in light of its similarities to ibitero, as a positive step towards perpetrators taking an active role in the rehabilitation of Rwanda.
Record last modified: 2018-05-16 16:15:00
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