Journalists, historians, human rights advocates, and government organizations have extensively documented the causes, events, issues and aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide.  As such, a wide variety of excellent resources exists on the Internet.  The list below highlights the most helpful and informative sources, and includes a mix of viewpoints and types of media (text, images, and video).  Many of the sources contain graphic descriptions and images of the genocide which are difficult to view.

Web Resources

For a general introduction to the country of Rwanda, check out the BBC News Rwanda Country Profile.

BBC News Special Report, Rwandan Genocide: Ten Years On is a very good general site with links to more than 30 stories, articles, interviews, slide shows and videos covering all aspects of the history and aftermath of the 1994 genocide.  

Talking About Genocide - Rwanda 1994  This summary and discussion from the Peace Pledge Union, a UK pacifist education and activism group, contains a concise and insightful history of the genocide, with special attention to the complex historical factors that enabled the killings.   

PBS's FRONTLINE has produced three very good programs on the Rwandan Genocide.  The websites for each contain video clips, transcripts of interviews, eyewitness accounts and images.
  • Valentina's Nightmare:  A Journey into the Rwandan Genocide from 1997 contains several reports and interviews, most notably this excellent interview with Gerard Prunier, author of The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (1995).
  • The Triumph of Evil was produced in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the UN's Genocide Convention, adopted after the Nazi Holocaust to ensure that genocide never happened again.  The Triumph of Evil examines the role of Britain, France, the U.S. and the U.N. as they ignored the warnings and evidence of impending massacre.
  • Ghosts of Rwanda was produced in 2004 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the genocide.  The website contains an analysis (largely US-centric) of the genocide and the international response, as well as many interviews of eyewitnesses.  It also contains several 10-to 20-minute excerpts here of the two+ hour program. 

The Voice of God: Propaganda and the Rwandan Genocide is a good video essay by Julie Ruffell on YouTube about the role of the media in the genocide.  It contains audio clips (subtitled) of actual RTLM broadcasts from April–May 1994.  Here's a sample: 
“The graves are not yet full.  Who is going to do the good work and help us fill them completely?”
Bystanders to Genocide: Why the United States Let the Rwandan Tragedy Happen  (The Atlantic Monthly, Sept 2001, by Samantha Power -- currently President Obama's Director of Multilateral Affairs and an expert on foreign policy for human rights and genocide).  This long but readable article was the precursor to Samantha Powers' 2003 book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.  The author argues that US officials knowingly and deliberately decided that it was not in America's best interests to intervene in Rwanda.  The focus is very much on the US (and UN) policy-making process, documented in dozens of interviews with key decision-makers and frustrated lower-level policy advisors.

Leave None to Tell the Story, Genocide in Rwanda, published in 1999 by Human Rights Watch is the most thorough online analysis and account of the genocide.  The primary author is Alison des Forges, who lived in Rwanda and witnessed the genocide, and was the world's leading expert on human rights in Africa. While the report is perhaps too detailed to be an ideal source for this assignment, it does contain sections here and here on the role of the French during the genocide and their relationship with the Rwandan government. (Many other sources focus entirely on the UN/US role.)  It is also one of the very few sources that examines the reprisal killings and human rights abuses carried out by the RPF, here.

For a different point of view:
There is no shortage of websites and documents criticizing the world (and especially the US and UN) for their failure to intervene quickly in Rwanda.  Alan J. Kuperman of MIT's Center for International Studies offers a different perspective (or a rationalization, say his critics, including Alison des Forges and Samantha Powers, above) in the January/February 2000 issue of Foreign Affairs.  His article Rwanda in Retrospect argues that an international response could not have been raised in time to substantially change the outcome of the genocide in 1994.  In How the Media Missed Rwandan Genocide, he explains why the world media was slow to acknowledge the situation in Rwanda.

Images and Primary Sources

"Children of Rwanda's Genocide" is a collection of photographs by photographer Vanessa Vick of the New York Times that includes three photo essays.  "Families Without Parents" illustrates the lives of the estimated 300,000 children living in child-headed families; "Surviving on the Streets" details the lives of street children in Kigali; and finally, "Orphans and Detainees" shows the lives of the thousands of orphans left in the wake of the genocide, as well as the youth who were detained for participating in the killings at ages as young as seven or eight.

To read media coverage at the time of the genocide for yourself, see the following articles from the New York Times:  
  • April 7, 1994: "2 Africa Leaders Die, U.N. Says; Rocket May Have Downed Plane"
  • April 11, 1994:  "American Evacuees  Describe Horrors Faced by Rwandans"
  • April 14, 1994: "Anarchy Rules Rwanda's Capital and Drunken Soldiers Roam City"
  • April 14, 1994: "For West, Rwanda is Not Worth the Political Candle"
  • April 16, 1994:  "Tribes Battle for Rwandan Capital; New Massacres Reported"
  • April 22, 1994:  "Security Council Votes to Cut Rwandan Peacekeeping Force"
  • April 23, 1994:  "Cold Choices in Rwanda"
  • May 17, 1994:  "U.N. Backs Troops for Rwanda But Terms Bar Any Action Soon"
  • May 23, 1994:  "Rwandans Die While the UN Procrastinates"
  • June 3, 1994:  "Heart of Rwanda's Darkness: Slaughter at a Rural Church"
The French were the first and only nation to send in troops to intervene.  However, the following articles show just how complicated intervention turned out to be:

The National Security Archive is an independent research institute and library operated out of George Washington University. They collect and analyze declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and make them available to journalists and the public. Their archive The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994 contains several reports.  Evidence of Inaction by William Ferroggiaro (2001) contains brief descriptions and pdf files of sixteen declassified documents -- mostly cables and memoranda from the Departments of State and Defense -- from April and May of 1994.  Information, Intelligence, and the US Response by William Ferroggiaro (2004) analyzes and expands on the report above, showing exactly what information was available to US policy-makers during the genocide and explaining the structure and organization of all parties involved in the decisions. 

One final fascinating document is from the UN's Lessons from Rwanda program on the prevention of genocide (program website here).  The education materials include a comic book  written by a genocide survivor entitled Tugire Ubumwe – Let’s Unite!  Given that all teaching of the country's history in schools was suspended for several years after the genocide (until a commission could agree on what, exactly, to teach), it is interesting to see the educational materials that are being distributed.

Books and Movies 

We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, Stories from Rwanda, Philip Gourevitch (1998).  This is a powerful work of eyewitness accounts and analysis of the genocide. The author made many trips to Rwanda to interview people involved on all sides of the crisis, including victims, perpetrators, and observers.  If you choose one book, make it this one.

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Romeo Dallaire (2003).  The author was the head of the UN Mission to Rwanda, whose repeated warnings and requests for more troops in the weeks leading up to and during the genocide were ignored.  The book presents Dallaire's personal point of view, and is full of his frustration and guilt.  Dallaire went on to suffer PTSD and myriad personal problems, and has become a speaker on the moral imperative to intervene in humanitarian crises.  The book is the basis for a film and a documentary of the same name.  You can find video and transcripts of interviews with Dallaire in several of the resources listed above.

Hotel Rwanda (2004). A Hollywood movie depicting the real-life actions of one man's efforts to save his neighbors in Rwanda.  Perhaps not 100% accurate in its portrayal of exact events at the Hotel Mille Collines, it is still a compelling film and an easier introduction to the crisis than actual survivor stories or documentaries. (Good for high-school students.)