Rwanda and the UN Security Council: The ghosts of 1994 continue being laid to rest

June 8, 1994, ex-Rwanda UN envoy, Mr. Jean-Damascene Bizimana addresses the UN Security Council.

Its been confirmed. Rwanda has been elected to the UN Security Council by 148 votes out of a possible 193. This is a huge triumph for this country, especially when one looks back at all of the efforts of various state and non-state actors to ensue that the African Union’s sole candidate was bested (Ken Roth and Steve Hege anybody?).

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the voting yesterday was the unhelpful behavior from some of our SADC partners. Why in the world would South Africa, our continent’s giant, decide to throw its hand in the ring with pariahs such as DRC and Zimbabwe? Are Congo’s minerals really worth that much trouble? Well, I hope that they enjoy a bit of ‘egg in the face’.

The last time Rwanda was on the Security Council was in 1994, a period that coincided with the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. In an infamous scene, while one million people died in the hills and valleys of this nation, the representative of the genocidal government, Jean Damascene Bizimana, sat at the Security Council table, telling the world that there was no genocide in the country.

With the election, this stain on the Security Council’s reputation can finally be put to bed.


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