Former U.S. Ambassador to speak at CSU Stanislaus about Rwandan genocide case

David Rawson, a former U.S. Ambassador to the African countries of Rwanda and Mali who is exploring the Rwandan genocides of 1994, will speak at California State University, Stanislaus on Wednesday, November 19.

Free and open to the public under the sponsorship of the University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the lecture is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Room 130 of the Mary Stuart Rogers Building. The title of Rawson’s presentation is “Dealing Diplomatically with Genocide: The Rwandan Case.”

Currently Professor of Political Economy at Spring Arbor University and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Political Science at Hillsdale College, both in Michigan, Rawson served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda from 1993-96 and to the Republic of Mali from 1996-99. Previously, he worked for the U.S. Foreign Service, starting in 1971, serving in Rwanda, Mali, Senegal, Madagascar, Somalia, and the U.S.

A long-time student and practitioner of international affairs, Rawson has been exploring what has become known as the Rwandan case in international humanitarian intervention under a grant from the U.S. Institute for Peace. He has served as Chair of the UN Advisory Group on West African arms moratorium and consultant to the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.

Rawson was U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda when some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by Hutu militias in just 100 days in 1994. It has been described as one of the most intense killing campaigns in human history, with estimates indicating that nearly half of the Tutsi population of Rwandans was murdered. The massacres came after an internationally-mediated peace treaty in 1993 that granted the Tutsis guerilla organization known as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RFP) a share of political power and a military presence in the capital, Kigali. Hutu extremists in President Habyarimana’s government did not accept the peace agreement and launched the militia on their killing spree shortly after the leader’s death when his plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile on April 6, 1994.

A number of the perpetrators of the slaughter were later prosecuted, but the international community drew heavy criticism for not intervening and bringing an end to the mass killings.