Search for Peace

As the war of liberation escalated, RPF still attempted to seek peaceful ways of resolving the conflict. On 29th March, 1991, in Zaire, the RPF and the then Government of Rwanda signed the N’sele Ceasefire Agreement which provided for, among other things, cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of foreign troops, exchange of prisoners of war and, finally, serious political negotiations to end the conflict. Immediately after signing the agreement, the Government of Rwanda ridiculed the said agreement as the war intensified.

As the regime became more desperate, massacres of Batutsi in various parts of the country became widespread in a deliberate effort of ethnic cleansing. The regime used violence to harass and silence the emerging internal political opposition. Violence was also used to derail the peace process. After a long period of negotiation that took place in Arusha, Tanzania, the Arusha Peace Agreement was signed on August 4th, 1993.

The Arusha Peace Agreement was preceded by the signing of the Agreement on a new ceasefire, as well as parties agreeing on the following principles:

i) That there was neither democracy nor the practice of the rule of law in Rwanda;

ii) That a broad-based government of national unity, including parties of different political persuasions was necessary to oversee the transition to democracy;

iii) That the Rwandese army was not national in character and that it was necessary to set up a new truly national army from among members of the two existing armies; and

iv) That Rwandese refugees have a legitimate inalienable right to return home.