Thursday, April 01, 2004

Lots of articles on Rwanda, at the approach of the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the country’s genocide. First, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said he may set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the involvement of foreigners in the 1994 genocide. The announcement was the latest in a deep freeze in relations between France and Rwanda. The row commenced with accusations by France that Kagame gave the order to shoot down the plane of then-dictator Juvenal Habyrimana in 1994, an event which was the pretext for the execution of the genocide, whose pre-planning was recently admitted by the man who was prime minister during the genocide Recently, Kagame accused the French government of the time of being “directly involved” with the execution of the genocide (not merely passive complicity as was commonly believed).

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that US president Bill Clinton's administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, classified documents made available for the first time reveal. Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene. Intelligence reports obtained using the US Freedom of Information Act show the cabinet and almost certainly the president knew of a planned "final solution to eliminate all Tutsis" before the slaughter reached its peak. The paper concludes that the documents undermine claims by Mr Clinton and his officials that they did not fully appreciate the scale and speed of the killings.

The BBC ran an interesting piece entitled Why road accidents happen so frequently in Africa. I remember reading that road accidents was the second leading cause of death among 18-25 year old Africans. [R]oad safety experts, however, say that national and local authorities must take action to curb traffic accidents. They could do this not only by overseeing a well maintained and clearly sign-posted road network, but also in ensuring that drivers and vehicles are properly licensed.


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