This paper discusses the effects of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentencing two Rwandan journalists to life imprisonment for their role in fanning the flames of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
This paper explains that the ICTR decision comes almost a decade after the genocide in Rwanda, which began in April 1994 and continued for over 100 days; during this period, members of the Rwandan Hutu majority slaughtered over 800,000 members of the minority Tutsi tribe, mostly using machetes. The author points out that, though the trials are not over, the decisions are having an important impact on the future of Rwanda, such as the new Constitution, which prevents both the Hutus and the Tutsis from dominating the legislature or the cabinet. The paper stresses that one of the biggest challenges remaining is in the health service sector, in general, and among Rwanda’s rising AIDS population, in particular.
Economic analysts like Ford (2003) thus suggest that rather than trying to recapture the markets it lost in crops such as bananas, beans and sorghum, Rwanda could instead concentrate on trying to revive its coffee trade. This suggestion holds much merit, considering how the Rwandan landscape is covered with coffee plantations, much of the population lives in rural areas and the current boom in specialty and fair trade coffees. It is unrealistic to expect Rwanda to have any active tourism trade in the near future. Instead, Rwanda could capitalize on the coffee trade and should take care to diversify its export crops. Thus, after the coffee crops are underway, Ford (2003) suggests plantations could also cultivate tobacco and the government could look into developing Rwanda’s mining industry.