Saturday, 13 August 2011

Rwandan Genocide: The Hutu Ten Commandments

Tutsi Identity Card
Tutsi Identity Card [Source: Prevent Genocide International]

The Rwandan genocide began on 6 April 1994 when the plane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down from the sky, killing all on board.  Over the course of the next 100 days, 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered.  While the assassination of President Habyarimana was certainly a catalyst, it did not cause the genocide.

Owing to their systematic and intentional nature, genocides, by definition, are rarely caused by underlying factors, as such.  Rather, underlying factors are manipulated and exploited in the planning and preparation that goes into the act of genocide. (See: What is Genocide?).

In Rwanda, evidence shows that militia had been trained, machetes flown into the country and weapons had been stockpiled for several months before the genocide started.  Much has been made of the role of the media in inciting genocide in Rwanda, with singers, radio presenters and journalists all calling for the extermination of the Tutsi cockroaches. 

“The Hutu Ten Commandments” was a document that was published in the pro-Hutu, anti-Tutsi newspaper Kangura in December 1990, almost four years before the commencement of the genocide in Rwanda.  The document was published in Kinyarwandan, the official language of Rwanda, and has also been translated as “The Ten Commandments of the Bahutu”. 

Incitement to commit genocide is a crime punishable under article 3c of the Genocide Convention.  There were numerous convictions of genocide that related to media, propaganda and incitement to commit genocide.  The Hutu Ten Commandments were attributed to the editor of Kangura, Hassan Ngeze,  and in 2003, he was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity by the ICTR.

The Hutu Ten Commandments

1. Every Hutu should know that a Tutsi woman, whoever she is, works for the interest of her Tutsi ethnic group. As a result, we shall consider a traitor any Hutu who

  • marries a Tutsi woman
  • befriends a Tutsi woman
  • employs a Tutsi woman as a secretary or a concubine.

2. Every Hutu should know that our Hutu daughters are more suitable and conscientious in their role as woman, wife and mother of the family. Are they not beautiful, good secretaries and more honest?

3. Hutu women, be vigilant and try to bring your husbands, brothers and sons back to reason.

4. Every Hutu should know that every Tutsi is dishonest in business. His only aim is the supremacy of his ethnic group. As a result, any Hutu who does the following is a traitor:

  • makes a partnership with Tutsi in business
  • invests his money or the government's money in a Tutsi enterprise
  • lends or borrows money from a Tutsi
  • gives favours to Tutsi in business (obtaining import licenses, bank loans, construction sites, public markets, etc.).

5. All strategic positions, political, administrative, economic, military and security should be entrusted only to Hutu.

6. The education sector (school pupils, students, teachers) must be majority Hutu.

7. The Rwandan Armed Forces should be exclusively Hutu. The experience of the October 1990 war has taught us a lesson. No member of the military shall marry a Tutsi.

8. The Hutu should stop having mercy on the Tutsi.

9. The Hutu, wherever they are, must have unity and solidarity and be concerned with the fate of their Hutu brothers.

  • The Hutu inside and outside Rwanda must constantly look for friends and allies for the Hutu cause, starting with their Hutu brothers.
  • They must constantly counteract Tutsi propaganda.
  • The Hutu must be firm and vigilant against their common Tutsi enemy.
10. The Social Revolution of 1959, the Referendum of 1961, and the Hutu Ideology, must be taught to every Hutu at every level. Every Hutu must spread this ideology widely. Any Hutu who persecutes his brother Hutu for having read, spread, and taught this ideology is a traitor.

Source: Wikipedia (reproduced under Creative Commons)



  1. That is so shocking. Such hatred.

  2. @ Tenderhooligan: Indeed. Especially when you consider that Hutus and Tutsis spoke the same language, practiced the same religion and many Hutus and Tutsis had married each other. This hatred and propaganda gained ground to the extent that people killed their owns spouses and children.

  3. Exactly. You know, there is the same level of hatred between some Catholics and Protestants in NI. Some of the same wording is employed (perhaps not in such a systematic way - though I wouldn't necessarily know because I never moved in those circles) to describe the "other" and the same mistrust and elitism is present.

  4. Now that's interesting! There is always a sense of self / others when you learn about conflicts in other countries for the first time. My circles were Judaism, South Africa and the United Kingdom and so Apartheid and the Holocaust felt personal, for example. As I've learned more and more about Rwanda and the Balkans, that has come to feel less external and more personal. Maybe more so in the Balkans because of our mutual friend and because of my lifelong Croatian friend. Northern Ireland always sat somewhere in the middle for me. I related to it because of Apartheid and because of being English but never quite appreciated that the hatred could work in the same way. But of course it does. That absolutely makes sense.

  5. Yes, it's interesting isn't it. The relations between factions in conflict regions are never the same, which is why it's so problematic to assume that what works in resolving conflict and repairing relations post-conflict in one region can be transferred in a "package" to another.

  6. It is true what you say but equally mystifying when they don't even try to use techniques that have helped. For example, we had a truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa that was extremely successful. In Rwanda they seemed to succeed by will alone and insisting that the nation would come together as one, that people not refers to the different ethnic groups. In ex-Yu, the nationalism has been allowed to go on unchecked, with no attempt at unity or reconciliation. I believe it could happen again.


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