A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide
Chapter 5: Peace in Rwanda? Arusha Accords
This chapter talks about the Arusha accords, how the process was viewed by the international actors and how local actors regarded the accords.
Peace talks took thirteen months and took place in Arusha, Tanzania starting from July 1992. Then called Organization of African Unity (OAU), and its then secretary general played significant role in the process of talks.
Melvern states that the OAU had seen the RPF invasion of Rwanda not as aggression by a neighboring state, but as an attempt by the children of exiled refugees to go home.
According to the accords, the transitional government was to hold power for no more than twenty-two months until free elections, an dit would contain representatives of the three political blocs: President Habyarimana's political party and its allies, the internal opposition parties and the RPF.
Some thought that the Arusha Accords were the bes that would ever be achieved. Eric Gillet, a human rights lawyer who helped to write a landmark report on Reanda, said that he thought that all that could be done was done at Arusha. The trouble stemmed not from the accords themselves but from the fact that Habyarimana and his entourage did not want them to work, and did everythign possible to prevent agreement. Gillet says: “the human rights workers, whether Rwandan or international, were not fooled. We did not think that someone capable of organizing massacres would suddenly turn into a democrat. We saw what was happening. We kept telling the Belgian authorities.”
The author also notes that according to the accords, the balance of power would be shared between eleven members of the National Assembly, representing five of the smaller parties established since 1991. the prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs were to be drawn from the minor parties, with defense going to the MRNDD and the ministry of the interior to the RPF.
Melvern argues that while the talks were in progress, Habyarimana administration was not sincere. A proof of his insincerity came to light when the administration entered into the larges of all the arms deals with a French company called DYL Investments for US$12 million, involving the purchase of 40,000 grenades, 29,000 bombs, 7 million rounds of ammunition, 1,000 trunchons, 1,000 pistols and 5,000 AK 47s. The money to be paid in million-dollar installments. Transport was in the hands of ODA (Office General de l'Air – French Air Force) and East African Cargo, a Belgium company.
Imported weapons were distributed so openly that Bishop Nyundo issued a press release asking the government why the weapons are handed out to certain civilians. In response to this press release, government's response was that these weapons were necessary for local people to defend themselves against rebels because the national troops were not enough.