An Examination of the Application of International Humanitarian Law During Internal Armed Conflict: Study of Rwanda 1990-1994 Armed conflict

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Kampala International University, School of law
All in all, armed conflicts, whether international or non international; confront humanity every day with cruelty suffering, death, and destruction of property which have nothing to do with military objectives, and there is no doubt that the same thing took place in Rwanda during the 1990 — 1994 armed conflict. The problem this study therefore seeks to address is what law was applicable during the 1990-1994 Rwandan conflict and why the principles of humanitarian law were not observed by the Parties involved in that conflict. In a nutshell, international humanitarian law was violated. This law was seen to be violated from 1990 when the Tutsi exiles, based in Uganda, launched an attack on Rwanda government and the government instead directed reprisals to civilians which were contrary to International Humanitarian law. Therefore the massacres which occurred in Rwanda between 1990—1994 had a specific objective namely; the extermination of the Tutsi who were targeted especially because of their Tutsi origin and not because they were RPF fighters. Last, though not the least, the 1990 — 1994 armed conflict in Rwanda was not international in nature. The specific international humanitarian law rules applicable to this conflict were common Article 3 to the four Geneva conventions and Additional Protocol II. It is actually true that, there has been some progress in the realisation and recognition of International Humanitarian Law in the Rwandese society. The establishment of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to try persons accused of grave breaches of IHL, particularly of common article 3 to the four Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol II, and creation of Gacaca Court, also evidence the progress in realization and recognition of the International Humanitarian Law.
A Thesis Presented to the School of Postgraduate Studies and Research Kampala International University Kampala, Uganda In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Masters of Law.
Armed Conflict:, Humanitarian Law, International Humanitarian Law, Rwanda