A Critical Assessment to the Failure of UN Peacekeeping and Security Council in Preventing the 1994 Rwandan Genocide


The Security Council and peacekeeping considered as a unique and dynamic instrument which is developed to help nations torn by conflicts, in order to create the situations for lasting peace. It is also known as peacemaking or peace-building enforcement that is made on three main principles. It includes consent of parties, non-use of force despite in self-defence or defence of mandate. Here, countries act as peacemakers and actively engaged in preventing and protecting civilians, reducing violence, eradicating conflicts and strengthening security as well. It compromises with near about 25 countries with five permanent nations (China, Russia, France, United Kingdom and United States) and 10 elected members.

These members meet on regular basis to assess the conditions which may create threats for international security. But they utterly failed to prevent and stop the most cruel and atrocity case- 1994 Rwandan genocide. Here, more than 750,000 Hutu and Tutsi were killed in this incident due to peacekeeping fatigue, a misguided view of African conflicts and bureaucratic nature of United Nations.

The present essay is going to examine efforts of UN Peacekeeping and Security Council in the Post-Cold War era. It identifies reasons behind such an inhumanity act, theories of idealism, realism, pluralism and constructivism, are examined. In order to provide a historical context for reviewing the earliest peacekeeping mission, critical analysis is also done on case study of Rwanda genocide. This genocide has occurred after international peace agreements and fallen within confines of civil war. This article is mainly divided into two major sections, where part one make a discussion on whether there is any kind of recognized principle which is intervention in international society on humanitarian grounds.

Therefore, drawing on such conceptions of international society in terms of solidarist and pluralist, arguments are also made in critical manner, with the support of United Nations (UN) Charter and International law. After examining this general theory, another part of this article deals with main case i.e. Rwanda Genocide. Here, principle of humanitarian intervention is examined and also made some arguments on response of UN towards Rwandan crisis. Under this essay, a detailed analysis on different ways the United Nation Security Council has been held responsible for such incident i.e. fail to mitigate and prevent the genocide, also carried out. It includes four major areas that are- failures in decision-making, communication, deliberation and implementation.

A Critical Assessment to the Failure of UN Peacekeeping and Security Council in Preventing the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

The Security Council of United Nations is mainly established to impose binding obligations on near about 193 member states, in order to resolve conflicts and maintain peace in the aftermath of Second World war. This council includes five permanent nations, where elected members meet on regular basis to address issues which include civil wars, terrorism, inhumanity activities, assess threats on international security and more. These five countries have powered to take veto actions for a resolution where ten elected members of councils serve 2-year, are not afforded such power. Along with this, Soviet Union and The United Kingdom were outright victors of war and provide support to shape postwar political order.

The elected members of P5 (France, Russia, United Kingdom and Unites States) have exercised this veto power to make peace in the world. In this regard, when Soviet Union held its seat, at that time Russia has been the first country who frequently use veto to block near about one hundred resolutions after founding of councils. Further, United States has become second one and China as third for vetoing a resolution. In order to maintain the international peace and security, presidency of council rotates on monthly basis. This criteria is considered as financial or troop contribution for peacekeeping operations on different matters of regional security, which likely to be appeared before the council.

Increase Your Odds of Success With Our

  • Scholastic academic documents
  • Pocket friendly prices
  • Assured reliability, authenticity & excellence

For maintaining or restoring international peace and security, members of Security Council take more assertive actions like authorising the use of force, imposing sanctions etc. In context with Rwanda genocide case of 1994, here members of Hutu belongs to ethnic majority of east-central African states, were murdered where mostly belongs to Tutsi minority also. It has been concluded from this article that resident government or armed conflict itself is main cause of suffering which poses a threat to human lives.

The armed intervention within a sovereign state has seen as an extreme and most crucial act under extreme conditions, where actions less than military force have demonstrated as less commitment as well as resolve on the basis of intervener. Under this article, military interventions on humanitarian grounds is majorly  focused to analyse the reasons behind failure of UN Security Council, in preventing civilians from Rwanda Genocide.

The genocide incident was started firstly in Hutu nationalists (Kigali's capital) then throughout the whole nations with shocking speed and brutality. Here, civilian people were incited by local officials and Power government of Hutu also take up arms against their neighbours. Meanwhile, Tutsi-led Rwandese Patriotic Front had gained entire control of nations through a military offensive, thereafter, millions of Rwandans were barbarously killed as well as 2 million refugees fled Rwanda. All these things led to create the biggest humanitarian crisis. For historically evaluation about causes that led to failure of prevention of Rwandan Genocide, it is essential to understand the concept of humanitarian intervention.

It is defined as forced military intervention that is sanctioned by UN and primarily based on humanitarian grounds in sovereign state. As per historical view, it has evaluated that Rwanda's civilian people has first become a target of European influence during 1800s. It was happened when a German count had informed Rwanda's King about control of East Africa by German powers. They also united with some small tribunal groups like Tutsi, when colonial rule was descended onto soil of Rwanda in order to quell any kind of uprising.

German force that time seek more to get economic profit as British and Belgian colonies therefore, for this purpose their leader named by Richard Kandt had promoted coffee as a cash crop. Along with this, they had also introduced money into currency or Rwandan economy. This decision lead to crate disputes the Rwandans as its cattle were considered as main Tutsi-dominated asset and wasn't thought as wealth.

After the World War I, German State has been collapsed and a League of Nations mandate placed Rwandan into Belgian trusteeship. Thereby, responsibility of Government of Belgian was promoting and maintaining peace, order, social progress and good administration. But mostly they were in favoured with Tutsi and against the mandate as well as created hierarchical system of racism. Here, races were ranked on the basis of similarities and difference with Caucasian people.

Therefore, every civilian of Rwanda had given an ethnic identity card where they were known either as Tutsi or Hutu. Due to replacement of Hutu Chief with Tutsi has aid Tutsi to become ethnically superior then Hutu. Hereby, considering the political institutionalizationn related to racist hierarchy, it has analysed that educational policy in Rwanda is also asymmetrical that much favoured with Hutus by excluding Tutsis to receive education.

The population of Rwanda during that period was composed with near about 14% Tutsi, 85% Hutu and 1% Twa. But Hutu men were not much educated therefore, they only become farmers or priests in Rwanda. In this regard, actions to replace Hutu chief by Tutsi led to hatred spurred that cause further conflict. Hutu and Tutsi were major groups and both are identical with each other on the basis of linguistic, sociological and political characteristics. Therefore, due to colonial industrialisation and increasing difference among these two major groups, Rwanda had become the battleground and an Epicentre of ethnic violence for one of its bloodiest /genocides of 20th century.

Thus, all such situations lead to the major and historical cruel incident within Rwanda i.e. Genocide. Here, within a period of 100 days, more than 800,000 civilians including men, women and children were murdered. It states that per hour approximate 333, 6 per minute and 1 per second was killed. Among these people, 75% were belong to Tutsi population and 10% from Rwandan. Therefore, genocide case of Rwandan is also known as genocide against Tutsi, which has begun in 1990.

This fight has directed by majority government of Hutu and run till 100 days from 7 April to mid of July 1994. In this war, 70% people belong to Tutsi was murdered badly and 30% of Pygmy Batwa. It was ended when Tutsi has backed up and armed by Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

Here, after this war, more than 2,000,000 people were also displaced, who further became refugees. Through literature review, it has evaluated that genocide plan was organized and executed by core members of Hutu political elite. Many people have occupied the top positions of national government.

Since 85% of Rwanda population are Hutus but group which has long time dominated the nation and ruled over people belong to Tutsi minority. In the year 1959, Hutus have overthrown the monarchy of Tutsi. It results to more than millions of Tutsis have fled to nearby nations, including Uganda. This fight between Hutu and Tutsi has been continued till 1993 where both group has signed for peace agreement. After then on late night of 6 April 1994, a plane which was carrying the President named by Juvenal Habyarimana, as well as entire counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira (both Hutus) was shot down by Tutsi. But for this case extremists of Hutu have blamed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) therefore, they immediately have started a campaign for slaughter in a well-organized manner. While, members of RPF have said that they didn’t shoot the plane and had done by Hutus as they wanted to provide an excuse for Rwandan genocide.

Another evidence was reflected by number of dead people where most of them were Tutsis, but they have prepared the entire violence were Hutus. After the plan was shot and leaders of political parties of opposition have murdered, then within an hour, recruits and slaughter campaigns had dispatched all over the nation. Along with this, military officials, army troops, politicians, business man and other organized gang all have joined this fight. Here, politician group and radio propaganda have encouraged the unofficial group named by Militia, also called as Interahamwe and was mobilized completely. Similarly, police and military powers also influenced and forced civilians and residents to take part in this fight. For this purpose, they have given foods, money and other items to convince people to give their support in fighting.

This fight was continued till 100 days and after then in July, Kigali has captured by RPF members. This would have collapsed the government and meanwhile, RPF has also declared a ceasefire.

Want to Join the Circles of


After government has collapsed and before RPF was became victorious, BBC has reported that near about two million Hutus have fled to Zaire, which has now become the Democratic Republic of Congo. Further, a multi-ethnic government has been set up with a Hutu and one of this tribal group become president named by Pasteur Bizimungu and finally killing has been over in Rwanda. But the severe dead scenario didn’t let Congolese Tutsi to lay down their arms and therefore, still they remain active for fight.

They have done this to save their community from the risk of Genocide. Henceforth, the largest peacekeeping force of world i.e. United Nation Security has seemed to be unable for ending up this genocide. Thereafter, genocide case leads to make collaboration among nations in order to establish “The International Criminal Court for prosecuting genocide i.e. crimes against humanity or war crimes”.

On discussing about drastic fight that was started on 6 April 1994, it has analyzed that after second world war this is the most intense genocide happened. It was started in the capital city of Rwanda i.e. in Kigali, where systematic slaughter of Tutsi, an ethnic group had spread all over with a ferocity. This fight was then continued till 100 days where it was consigned that near about 800,000 Rwandans murdered (Preventing the Bloodbath: Could the UN have Predicted and Prevented the Rwandan Genocide, 2015). Here, ethic group and perpetrators have made many meticulous high within government circles.

Along with this, radio station channels have also run program for slaughter against anti-Tutsi hysteria to influence people to give their participation in a bulk. The government soldiers, party militia and core cadre have been used secret arms caches who were trained under tactics of slaughter. Sympathizers of Hutu and Tutsis had also been compiled in order to target genocide therefore, only a trigger or command was needed. By observing this entire scene of tragedy i.e. wave of murdered people which has spread across the country, UN and other international communities have stood by in a stupor.

They have also even sought for avoiding their moral as well as legal responsibilities in order to mitigate this humanitarian and inhumane tragedy. Now, the peacekeeping force, international leaders and more, have also admitted that to prevent people from genocide they must have acted. On 4 May 1994, within a news conference the Secretary-General of peacekeeping force - Kofi Annan have also agreed on above stated. It was discussed here that UNAMIR (Force Commander) have a reinforced brigade i.e. only well-trained and well-equipped 5,000 armies then could have gained success to save thousands of lives.

Along with this, many key international leaders and people of other countries have believed that the international community if take some actions before genocide or after few days then they could save millions of people. But there is no evidence in history whether international communities have taken some actions or not, for preventing people and maintaining peace over there.

It has evaluated from perception of international leaders and people then for prevention- three main things were needed at that time. It includes an intelligence capability, preventive measures and political will. Here, intelligence capability assists for early warning and planning, while preventive measures includes a capability for intervention. Other than this, political will tends to integrate both concept for early prevention. As the first two major things was present at that time in a nascent state, but due to lack of political will, international leaders fail to prevent people or stop this tragically and intensive genocide. However, it has been notified there that peacekeeping force and United Nation Security Council peacekeeping have already deployed their contribution for Rwandan Security with a mandatory. Commander chief at that time, had received secret intelligence related to genocide plot that could be deemed for convincing enough to start a plan for an active intervention.

But due to restrained by superiors present at UN Headquarters in New York, have strongly faced the lack of commitment especially the United Nations and from other major powers of Security Council. Here, lack of communication is considered as characteristic of international media which is reporting of genocide and UN's which reduce information to international public. There are various scholars who are playing role of media at Rwanda, whose attribute increase hate towards media at a Rwanda that is main reason of occurrence of genocide. International media is showing little interest in Rwanda case. That leads to occurrence of conflict in Bosnia at same time duration, most of the media are reporting about European conflict. But security condition at Rwanda impose journalist to leave Rwanda. Along with this security system is was increased and action was taken on behalf of international community.

For contributing the efforts of maintenance of international peace and resolving conflicts all members of UN are assisted to make their presence on its call to Security Council. As per accordance with peacemaking agreement which was undersigned by various countries, to maintain peace and security on international level, it is essential to have proper armed forces, equipment, rights of passage and more. In addition to this, peacemaking agreements also govern the type and number of forces, degree of readiness, nature of facilities, general location, required assistance as well. On the basis of initiatives of Security council, such agreements also need to be negotiated and concluded between the members and Security Council related to ratification through signatory states, according to their respective constitutional processes.

As per BBC news, it is analysed that warnings related to emergence of genocide in Rwanda has manifold already. These information or warning have not got firstly by NGOs, in fact it was received by UN military commanders and third sates of peacekeeping forces. In this regard, in year 1992, many experts including the United States, Belgium, France and registrars of Commission of Human Rights, NGOs (Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch) had warned about possibility of such a major tragedy or deteriorating situation i.e.

Rwanda genocide. But no one reacted to these outspoken warnings. Thus, the most reliable information which has come from UN generals in Rwanda have sent directly to New York's colleagues. After knowing the information about genocide plan, The Force Commander of UN, named by Dallaire in January 1993 have given entire information to Baril (military advisor of UN Secretary General). It includes detailed information about preparatory plans of extremist of Hutu to exterminate people of Tutsi. Furthermore, Dallaire was the one who did not forward the message to special department of UN i.e.

Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO). Instead of this, they decided to forward the news directly General Secretary, who was a fellow Canadian military advisor. Then, Baril decided to inform Annan and Riza of Department of Peace Keeping  Operation. It was the default of Annan and Riza who forget of even didn't want to inform the Secretary-General and also to the member of Security Council on one of the threatening situation. The main issue in this case was that the information must be informed only to the responsible member of the relevant case i.e. Head of the diplomatic mission of Rwanda.  At the end, the statement was given by inquiry commission that “the seriousness of the threats in the cable justified informing the council as whole” (UN Admits Rwanda Genocide Failure, 2000).

Thus, these evidences have reflected that UN and other international communities by having a strengthened intelligence capability got prior information about planned details of genocide. But still due to lack of commitment of major powers they could do anything for preventing the loss of lives. In addition to this, UN also engaged in some diplomacy of prevention and preventive deployment of troops, which have shown the capabilities to stop this senseless killings before it was happened. In this case, the special intelligence-gathering in many area which is working for the betterment of a nation had a great opportunity where they could have informed about genocide at least before the month.

The one whom they can inform was illicit arms flows, insider information on the genocide plots, the training and activities of the interahamewe, the activities and reputations of the plotters and also long standing patterns of ethnically-based human rights violations. It was the fault of United Nation that they didn't realize or even analyze that this small piece of information will be very important as a part of evidence. If they would have taken this matter seriously then it will be very easy for them to collect the information regarding the relevant topic. They also didn't tried to collect any additional information with range of possible preventive measure. But, it was important to know did United Nation had permission or not to access in this matter, if not then it was not so necessary to blame UN in the matter of Rwanda Genocide.

As, it was one of the most serious nature of attack that took place in Genocide where UN was blamed just because they knew that action was going to take place. But, anyone didn't  notice that,UN had the opportunity to save this attack before it started on 7th of April 1994. Now, it this case after doing lots of research it was found that UN did not accept that this attack was going to be such harsh that around 800000 people will  lose their life.

United Nation didn't have lots of evidence regarding the attack on Rwanda so that they need to come across and save the life of common people. But, it can be said that UN actually didn't try to discuss deeply in this matter which was their negligence.

There was an agreement between United Nation and Rwanda in October that they will monitor the cease fire between Rwandan Hutu government and the Rebel Rwandese Patriotic Front and will not use any military force to achieve its aim. SO, it can be said that UN was not allowed to interfere in this case as it was written in the agreement which had taken place between Rwanda and United Nation.

As per the treaty, it was written that they will just look after the investigation breaches in the cease fire, helping humanitarian aid deliveries and contributing to the security of the capital, Kigali. It was clear from the case there should not be any kind of role of UN in the serious nature of crime which had taken place in Rwanda. Still, they should have taken any legal action because they were the one who had relevant information regarding the case.

UN should have increased the number of their member in Rwanda to find detail information regarding the topic because if they had done something related to it, then surely they would have found something relevant which can be very useful for the people of Rwanda. Because, if they had done that then there could have been possibilities to save many life. Only, single conclusive evidence would have been enough to inform the government that there are major possibilities of having major attack.

There was one of the main point that UN didn't want to take out of their mind that they don't have the permission to access in this case so they don't want to to involve in it. Still, if UN would have tried their best, then result could have been different which can be seen now. Mr Annan, the man who was the in charge of UN peace keeping mission in 1994 accepted that they did a major negligence and because of that Genocide attack had taken place. The complete report which was submitted by Annan itself gave the conclusive evidence that UN could have done better but they were unable to do so.

The report which was prepared by UN in the case says that their were insufficient number of UN troops for maintaining peace keeping operation in Rwanda which was the major failure of president to provide protection as per the agreement. Even, UN underestimate the complexity of the condition which was happening in Rwanda. Here, UN should have taken all those safety measure through which they maintain peace at Global Level. But, when complete report was disclose, it was found that Rwandan regime had the support of super power nation (France). The super power nation was ready to provide complete guidance to Rwandan regime which leads towards offensive activity. It was proved that their small-small mistakes leads towards a major attack on Rwanda.

The training which was given by France army to the civilians had been proved as the killing machines at the time of atrocities. It can be clearly seen that France had also played the significant role in Genocide attack. In 1994, France was one of those nation with whom it was never easy to compete just because of their technology which were being used in arm force. But, it was the duty of United Nation to suggest that not involve in this matter because they were also the part of UN. Still, they didn't do anything on this issue. So, from the matter it can be easily understood that UN and France both were involved in the attack as they were working together to help Hutu regime.

As per the reports of local media and newspapers, they were blaming France and United Nation as they were working behind the scenes, to accelerate the ratio of killing innocent public. It was France who supported genocide plan from the first day to the end of mission. In 1994, there were only three super power nation i.e. United Kingdom, United States and France, but other two didn't showed any interest but why France did was the major question which were arising in front of everyone.

One of the recent report which was publish, had some of the major issues related to the roles and responsibilities of UN in Rwanda Genocide. It was clearly mentioned that why did UN  called their more than 2,500 peacekeeper back, just after the murder of 10 Belgian soldiers (What have been the successes and failures of UN peacekeeping missions? 2015) . It was one of the questionable matter in which UN still don't want to give any clarification. It was the situation where around three times of peacekeeper must be available in Rwanda but even limit was also not completed which was also the reason of failure.

In this case, if UN had taken then responsibility and tried his best to solve the issue to of Rwanda Genocide, then nation might had not face that black day. It was one of the biggest failure which can be seen from United Nation sides because this was totally terrible from worlds point of view. The issue was raised at a greater platform that even some of the other nation had a question on their mind that where they should continue or not with UN for maintaining peace and silence in the country. In this situation, UN had faced various problem to clear out the doubts of all those nations which had fa trust issue with United Nation.

Here, in the case it was found that UN called their peacekeeper back and the reason which was given by the Secretary that planing was being done to kill the family member of every peacekeeper. So, in that situation Secretary-General called back their peacekeeper. But, it was the question to be asked that, can't secretary had given the order to call back only the family member of every peacekeeper. If it was possible then why don't they took that step. As, they had rough idea regarding that Genocide will take place very soon. So, in this situation the action which was taken by Secretary was proved to be completely wrong.

There were many additional point which were used as the evidence that United Nation failed to complete their promise which were done by them at the time of doing agreement with country. The major point was that why don't they stop France army to enter in the territory of Rwanda. Although, it can also be understood that they gave them permission to enter them but it was also the main question that when army was giving training to civilian then in that situation, what need to be done by peacekeeper of UN. Still, they had not taken any action against them. This were the also some of those issues which  helped to prove that UN had face the failure in Rwanda Genocide.

One of the report which was published by the media, stats that at the time Rwanda Genocide the main focus of UN was to save the life of white people which was also one of the major problem. Because of these kind of activities they were unable to save the life of other Rwanda's people. This was one of those failure that took place where people raised question that although there were not sufficient peacekeeper of United Nation were present but why don't they gave priority to other public also. This was also one of those issue through which it can be understood that UN failed to maintain their tag of Peace keeping  international organisation.

At the end, it can be said that United Nations fails to perform their task in which was given to them. It was one of those failure which was never going to be accepted from UN side as their main role is to protect the rights of every nation with whom they have relation of providing securities.  Some of the points and task where were performed by them in that condition was not up to the mark or even standard of UN was also below its level of performance. From the report which was published by Secretary-General that they were unable to prove themselves as one of the peacekeepers nations at the time of Rwanda Genocide.

It can be understood that United Nations failed to stop the Genocide in Rwanda. But, it was never asked that what was the responsibility of general public when France army was giving the training to them. Even it was the responsibility of government authorities they why did they allowed another nation to interfere in their personal manner. Only blaming United Nation will not be the appropriate way to sort out the matter because everyone have the equal rights and authorities to protect the life of people who are staying in particular nation. Here, not only United Nations failed to provide security but even Rwanda themselves were not able to control the activities of their local public who were involved in Genocide.

As, it was not easy to control all those activities but still lots of work could have been at that time by looking at the situation. Also, it can be said that it was one of those failure which was written in the black book of United Nation and after that all matter, they will not even try to repeat this mistake again just because many of the questions have been raised before.

ALSO READ: BAIHH 2 Business Strategy Assignment


  • Failure of Bystanders to Prevent or stop the Genocide in Rwanda. 2014.
  • What have been the successes and failures of UN peacekeeping missions? 2015.
  • UN Admits Rwanda Genocide Failure. 2000.
  • Preventing the Bloodbath: Could the UN have Predicted and Prevented the Rwandan Genocide. 2015. 
Download Full Sample
Cite This Work To export references to this Sample, select the desired referencing style below:
Copy to Clipboard copy icon

Writing a financial accounting assignment is no easy feat. Students should have in-depth knowledge about every concept and formula related to accounting and finance to excel in assignments. Those who lack knowledge seek accounting assignment help from us. We also provide cost accounting assignment writing help as our writers carry years of experience and are well-versed with the subject’s concepts. You can reach us anytime for corporate accounting assignment help and be assured of getting high-quality work that is worth an A+.

Boost Grades & Leave Stress

Share Your Requirements Now for Customized Solutions.

Lowest Price

Delivered on-time or your money back

100+ Qualified Writers

For Best Business Assignment Help

  • expert name
    886 Completed Orders
    Nora BarnesView Profile Hire Me
  • expert name
    3645 Completed Orders
    Deborah OlsonView Profile Hire Me
  • expert name
    1057 Completed Orders
    Thomos GarnerView Profile Hire Me
  • expert name
    2211 Completed Orders
    Victoria GilbertView Profile Hire Me
  • FREE Tools

    To Make Your Work Original

    Our Unique Features

    24/7 Customer Support

    100% Customer Satisfaction

    No Privacy Infringement

    Quick Services

    Subject Experts

    Innovative Documents

    Don't Miss Our Special Offers
    IAH AU whatsapp