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Reacting to the Past

This guide is intended to support classroom use of the Reacting to the Past game series and provide students with background information.


The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994 invites students to consider what responsibility individuals and states have to each other, to their own citizens and to citizens of other nations. The game asks players to respond to rapidly spreading genocidal massacres in Rwanda in April and May of 1994. Some players will, as part of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), have the authority and responsibility to debate proposals and make policy. Others, as leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), journalists or representatives of public opinion, will attempt to learn more about what’s going on in Rwanda and influence public policy based on this knowledge. During the game, they decide whether events in Rwanda constitute genocide and, if so, how the international community should respond. As they do, they gain a deeper understanding of genocide, of ideas about humanitarian intervention and of the dynamics of debates about humanitarian intervention in the international community.



Click the title to access the reading online!

Scott Feil, Preventing Genocide:  How the Use of Force Might Have Succeeded in Rwanda, Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.   (Available on-line at 

Alan Kuperman, The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention:  Genocide in Rwanda.   

Michael Barnett, Eyewitness to a Genocide:  The United Nations and Rwanda. 

Inside the UN Security Council: April–July 1994. (2017). Retrieved 2 August 2017, from

Adelman, Howard and Astri Suhrke.  The Path of a Genocide:  The Rwandan Crisis from Uganda to Zaire.  New Brunswick, NJ:  Transaction Publishers, 1999.

Jones, Bruce.  Peacemaking in Rwanda.  The Dynamics of Failure.  Boulder/London: Lynne Rienner, 2001.

Omaar, Rakiye. Rwanda. Death, Despair and Defiance.  London:  African Rights, 1995.

Organization of African Unity. International Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and the Surrounding Events. Report issued by the Organization of African Unity, 7 July 2000.

Barnett, Michael. Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and Rwanda. Ithica:  Cornell University Press, 2002.

Cameron, Hazel.  Britain’s Hidden Role in the Rwandan Genocide:  The Cat’s Paw. Routledge, 2012.

Cohen, Jared.  One Hundred Days of Silence:  America and the Rwandan Genocide.  New York: Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, 2007.

 Kroslak, Daniela.  The French Betrayal of Rwanda.  Bloomington and Indianapolis:  Indiana University Press, 2008.

Melvern, Linda and Paul Williams. “Britannia Waived the Rules:  The Major Government and the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.” African Affairs (2004), vol. 103, pp. 1-22.

Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide. New York: Basic Books, 2002. 

Wallis, Andrew.  Silent Accomplice:  the untold story of France’s role in the Rwandan genocide. I.B. Taurus & Co.,  2006.

Schabas, William.  Genocide and International Law:  The Crime of Crimes.  New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2000.

 Feil, Scott.  Preventing Genocide.  How the Early use of Force might have Succeeded in Rwanda.  New York:  Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 1998. Kuperman, Alan. The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention:  Genocide in Rwanda.  Brookings Institution Press, 2001.

Lee Ann Fujii, Killing Neighbors:  Webs of Violence in Rwanda.  Ithaca, NY:  Cornell University Press, 2011. Straus, Scott. The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.

Neuffer, Elizabeth.  The Key to My Neighbor’s House:  Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda.  New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

Jennie Burnet. “(In)justice:  Truth, Reconciliation and Revenge in Rwanda’s Gacaca” in Hinton, Alex.  Transitional Justice:  Global Mechanisms and Local Realities after Genocide and Mass Violence.  New Brunswick, NJ:  Rutger’s University Press, 2010.

Clark, Phil.  The Gacaca Courts, Post Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda:  Justice without Lawyers.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2010

Hatzfeld, Jean.  Machete Season:  The Killers of Rwanda Speak. New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.

Hatzfeld, Jean and Linda Coverdale.  Life Laid Bare:  The Survivors of Rwanda Speak.  Other Press, 2007.

Keane, Fergal.  Season of Blood:  A Rwandan Journey.  (London: Penguin Books, 1995)

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