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             Rwanda: Genocide or Civil War? The current state of affairs in Rwanda constitutes a catastrophe that never should have happened. Unfortunately, it has happened, but do the conditions and outcomes warrant using the term genocide? Based on facts about the ethnic make up of Rwanda, there is abundant proof that this is actually a case of violent, ongoing civil wars, and the use of the term genocide is not justified. The major crime problem in Rwanda since 1994 has been mass murder, officially know as genocide, which has been prevalent in this country in the mist of years of civil war. Genocide is defined as the methodically planned eradication of a racial, political, or cultural group. The United Nations (1998) has declared in the Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide of 1946, that genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group (p. 1). Genocide represents a horror so special that the term has previously been used to described only two events in the twentieth century: the massacre of Armenians by Turks in 1915, in addition to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews. The United Nations (1998) stated that any persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished (2). The Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide hammered out the statutes concerning genocide, which went into force January 12, 1951. These are still considered law. How or what the specific punishment is or should be is not defined in these articles. Since most members of the United Nations do not practice the death penalty, the most common punishment for genocide is life in prison without parole. The population of Rwanda is estimated at 8,154,933 (Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 1999, p.2). Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with the approximate population density of 302 persons per square kilometer (Rwanda, 2000 p.

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