unamir-255x300 UNAMIR

The United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR) was established by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 1993 following the signing of the Arusha Peace Accords, a ceasefire agreement between the Rwandan Government Army and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). As specified by its mandate, UNAMIR was created to help the parties implement, monitor and support the agreements and put forward the establishment of a transitional government in Rwanda. Nonetheless, some months later, the scenario changed dramatically. On April 6, 1994 an attack to an aircraft with the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi became the starting point of some of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the world: the Rwandan genocide.

From that moment on, the social tensions, yet latent in the country, rose stronger: Hutu radicals blamed responsibility for the attack on the plane and set their clear opposition against the RPF, which had many Tutsis as allies. The idea that the country would be better off without the Tutsis started to be broadcasted through the Hate Radio and hateful human beings. And soon more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were brutally assassinated.

As an emergency plan, the operation of UNAMIR changed from a common Chapter VI peacekeeping mandate to a more intense effort to stabilize and stop the atrocities. Commander Dallaire had then to go through hell to try to sustain UNAMIR’s actions without losing the rest of support the Mission had internationally. From day to day, the low numbers of international troops and resources, the distrust of Rwandans with the foreign troops (a heritage from the colonial times), the lack of the international powers’ will to satisfy Dallaire’s pleas and the very own mandate limitations of UNAMIR frustrated his attempts to save Rwanda.

By replicating the tensions inside Dallaire’s chain of command in Kigali, the 20th AMUN offer the delegates the possibility to reflect counterfactually on what the Mission could have done with its political and material limitations to achieve its best interests either in saving lives or demonstrating the UN negligence on maintaining international peace and security. With a cabinet-like structure, UNAMIR will definitely be the place to learn how to negotiate peace by shaking hands with the devil.

NO EMPATHY LEFT FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER: HOW COUNTERFACTUALS HID THE LACK OF POLITICAL INTEREST TO SAVE RWANDA