At least 300 unarmed civilians were reported to have been extrajudicially executed by members of the security forces and allied gangs. At least three detainees "disappeared" from custody. Opponents of the former ruling party and human rights activists were subjected to death threats and attacks apparently carried out by members of the security forces or militias linked to them. At least one prisoner of conscience was held during the year and other arbitrary, short-term arrests of possible prisoners of conscience were reported. There were reports of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in custody. An armed opposition group was responsible for human rights abuses, including the deliberate and arbitrary killing of as many as 300 civilians. In April the coalition government set up in 1992 extended its term of office for a further three months in order to complete peace talks between the government and the armed opposition Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF). Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye repeatedly accused President Juvénal Habyarimana of obstructing the peace talks and condoning political violence. In July the conflict resulted in the replacement of Dismas Nsengiyaremye as Prime Minister by Agathe Uwilingiyimana. The peace talks, which began in 1991, culminated in the signing of a peace agreement on 4 August in the Tanzanian town of Arusha and the cessation of hostilities. The government and RPF signed a series of protocols in the months leading up to the agreement. Some of the protocols, in particular the Protocol relating to the Rule of Law, signed in August 1992, included provisions for the protection of human rights. Article 15 calls for the establishment of an independent national commission of inquiry to be responsible for monitoring human rights violations and Article 16 calls upon the signing parties to set up an international commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations committed during the conflict. However, no such inquiry was initiated by the end of the year. A power-sharing protocol allocated six posts to the RPF in a 22-member broad-based transitional government, to be formed after concluding the peace agreements. The August peace accord provided for the appointment of Faustin Twagiramungu, leader of the Mouvement démocratique de la République (MDR), Republican Democratic Movement, as Prime Minister to head a broad-based transitional government, until elections scheduled to take place in early 1995. This government was to be formed after a UN peace-keeping force had been deployed in the country. However, although by the end of the year most of the UN forces had arrived, the transitional government had not yet been formed. An International Commission of Inquiry composed of representatives of foreign non-governmental human rights organizations visited Rwanda in January at the invitation of local human rights groups to investigate human rights violations. Soon after its visit, the commission announced that widespread human rights abuses had been committed by the security forces and government officials, as well as by supporters of extremist Hutu parties. The government denied that government officials were responsible for extrajudicial executions. The UN Special Rapporteur on summary or arbitrary executions visited Rwanda in April. He reported that members of the security forces and government officials had been implicated in the deliberate and arbitrary killings of at least 2,300 civilians, as well as other human rights violations, since the beginning of the conflict with the RPF in October 1990. He stated that members of the security forces, militias allied to the Mouvement républicain national pour la démocratie et le développement (MRND), National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development - the former single ruling party - and the RPF had been responsible for human rights abuses. A series of violent demonstrations was held in the capital, Kigali, by supporters of the MRND and its main political ally, the Coalition pour la défense de la République (CDR), Coalition for the Defence of the Republic, soon after the government and the RPF signed a power-sharing protocol in January. MRND and CDR gangs loyal to President Habyarimana attacked homes belonging to members of opposition parties which supported the protocol and the peace talks. By the end of January violence had spread to at least eight prefectures and more than 80 people had been killed. The violence was exacerbated by the breakdown of a short-lived cease-fire agreement on 8 February. Soon after the International Commission of Inquiry left Rwanda in January, there was a new wave of extrajudicial executions by the security forces and militia gangs belonging to the MRND and CDR, who were believed to be armed by the security forces, in which over 300 people were reported to have been killed throughout the country. The victims included at least 19 suspected opponents of the MRND and CDR who were said to have been killed within Kigali military barracks in mid-February. The body of one, a Ugandan national, Kituku Hayidarusi, was found by his family two days after his arrest on 12 February: it reportedly bore marks of beatings and gunshot wounds. At least 17 other corpses of people known to have been arrested by soldiers were reportedly deposited at Kigali hospital morgue while other prisoners were reportedly used to bury some execution victims in various cemeteries in Kigali. Most were said to have been shot in the head. Relatives of the victims generally did not initiate official inquiries, apparently for fear of reprisals by soldiers. In November, 38 people, including officials of the MRND, were shot dead and others wounded following an attack by unidentified assailants in four villages in the northern demilitarized zone. Another similar attack took place on 29 November in Mutara village in Gisenyi prefecture, where 17 people including women and children were killed. The killings occurred in the run-up to local elections. A unit of the UN Observer Mission to Uganda and Rwanda (UNOMUR) carried out a preliminary investigation into the killings: it confirmed that they had occurred but was unable to determine who was responsible. Three students at the Seventh Day Adventist University of Mudende, Gisenyi prefecture, "disappeared" after being arrested by two soldiers and a police officer in February. The whereabouts of Alphonse Nkunzurwanda, Céléstin Palimehutu and Emmanuel Hakizimana remained unknown despite inquiries by their colleagues, local human rights groups and others to which the authorities apparently did not respond. Members of political parties opposed to the President were subjected to death threats and assaults apparently by the security forces. The victims included Sylvestre Kamali, the MDR's head in Gisenyi prefecture, who was attacked several times by men believed to be members of the security forces. On one occasion his family home in Gisenyi town was destroyed by fire. A second house owned by the family in Kigali was twice invaded by unidentified armed men in February. In addition both Sylvestre Kamali and his wife were subjected to death threats from men claiming to be members of Interahamwe, a clandestine armed group reportedly linked to the President. Human rights activists, in particular those who had assisted the International Commission of Inquiry, received death threats and were also subject to assault by members of the security forces and local government officials. Ignace Ruhatana, a leading member of a human rights organization known locally as "kanyarwanda", was attacked and injured in May by men believed to belong to the security forces. Muhikira, a Tutsi whose son had assisted the commission as an interpreter, was reportedly forced to commit suicide when armed Hutu gangs, accompanied by members of the local police, surrounded his home and ordered him either to come out and be killed by them, or to kill himself. The local police did not intervene to save Muhikira's life. On 14 November Alphonse-Marie Nkubito, a state procurator and president of a local human rights organization, was seriously injured by a grenade: it was thrown at him by unidentified men as he entered his home in Kigali. At least one government critic was imprisoned as a prisoner of conscience. Janvier Africa, a journalist for Umurava newspaper, was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment in July by the High Court in Kigali for insulting the Head of State. He had been arrested in September 1992 after alleging publicly that President Habyarimana had been involved personally in organizing "death squads" (see Amnesty International Report 1993). He was held throughout the year in Kigali Central Prison where he was reported to have received death threats. Other journalists charged in 1992 were not brought to trial. It appeared that three journalists and a human rights activist, Fidèle Kanyabugoyi, who were provisionally released in April 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1993), were not brought to trial. It was unclear whether charges against them had been dropped. Several dozen members of the Tutsi ethnic group were apparently arbitrarily detained in Gisenyi prefecture during February. Most of them, including Epiphanie Mukeshema and Fulbert Rubayiza, appeared to be prisoners of conscience detained solely on the basis of their ethnic origin. They were released after a few days without charge. Also in February, about 12 students studying at the Institute St. Fidèle near Gisenyi town were arrested and detained for a few days on suspicion of complicity with the RPF. It was believed that they were detained because of their membership of opposition political parties. Twelve people, including Cyriac Munigatama and Emmanuel Niyonshutu, were arrested in February by soldiers at a road-block in Gitarama and accused of trying to join the RPF. They were detained in Kigali Central Prison, where some of them were beaten. They were released without charge after a few days. Their allegations of ill-treatment were not known to have been investigated. In March Amnesty International learned that a soldier had been tried and sentenced to one year's imprisonment for the allegedly accidental shooting of Antonia Locatelli, an Italian missionary who had been killed in February 1992 during widespread disturbances in Bugesera region. However, there was apparently no independent investigation into the related killing of some 300 Tutsi (see Amnesty International Report 1993), although Fidèle Rwambuka, a local mayor and regional MRND representative, was suspended from his post in February 1993 for his alleged involvement in the Bugesera killings. He was murdered in August by unidentified men, amid allegations that he was killed to prevent him from revealing official complicity in the killings. The RPF was also responsible for human rights abuses. In February members of the RPF reportedly shot dead several unarmed civilians at a camp for displaced people close to the Ugandan border, when the inmates refused to cross into Uganda. A few weeks later, the RPF was reported to have deliberately and arbitrarily killed 300 Hutu supporters of the CDR and the MRND in Ruhengeri town, apparently in reprisal for attacks against Tutsi by the security forces and Hutu gangs. Amnesty International continued to press the government to investigate reports of extrajudicial executions, "disappearances" and torture which had occurred since October 1990 and bring those responsible to justice. It urged the authorities to end arbitrary arrests and release all prisoners of conscience. The government was not known to have initiated or conducted any impartial inquiries into the reports of killings. Amnesty International also called on the RPF to prevent deliberate and arbitrary killings of unarmed civilians and captured combatants and to respect human rights and basic humane standards.

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.