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Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt | profile | all galleries >> The Kibeho Tragedy (Rwanda, April-May 1995) through the lens of Mark Cuthbert-Brown WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The Kibeho Tragedy (Rwanda, April-May 1995) through the lens of Mark Cuthbert-Brown WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT

How was it possible that two thousand persons, mostly women and children, could be massacred while living in an internationally designated camp for displaced persons in a small country with an overwhelming presence of international agencies? This happened in post-genocide Rwanda during the army’s operation to close Kibeho camp, despite a presence that included more than a dozen UN agencies, 120 non-governmental organizations and 5,500 UN peacekeepers. In her monograph, "The Protection Gap in the International Protection of Internally Displaced Persons: The Case of Rwanda," Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt analyzes how the framework of cooperation between the international agencies and the Rwandan government failed. In so doing, she exposes broader challenges and flaws in international responses to complex emergencies, including lack of awareness of legal norms and weak UN inter-agency coordination. Her monograph builds upon the first edition by assessing the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement as a tool for advocacy for the rights of the displaced through a case study of the 1997-1999 displacement crisis in Northwest Rwanda. She proposes measures for the improvement of the international system of protection of internally displaced persons. The book is available from the United Nations Bookstore in New York or from the Graduate Institute of International Studies of the University of Geneva (using the order form included on the last page of this album).

The photos in this album were taken in April and May 2005 by Mark Cuthbert-Brown, Provost Marshal of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), with the assistance of John Cleland from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
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Aerial view of Kibeho from the south, 22 April 1995
Aerial view of Kibeho from the south, 22 April 1995
explanation of the view of Kibeho from the south
explanation of the view of Kibeho from the south
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Views from within the Zambian Company of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) at about 14:30 on Tuesday, 18 April 1995. Note the relative calm, despite great pressure around the camp, which, in some places has broken down razor-wire fencing.  Note also the high proportion of adult and adolescent males and attempts being made to identify the corpses of those killed in an earlier crush.  The Zambian captian is holding a pistol (apparently concerned about the possibility of his base being run-over in another outbreak of disorder).
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Views from within the Zambian Company of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) at about 14:30 on Tuesday, 18 April 1995. Note the relative calm, despite great pressure around the camp, which, in some places has broken down razor-wire fencing. Note also the high proportion of adult and adolescent males and attempts being made to identify the corpses of those killed in an earlier crush. The Zambian captian is holding a pistol (apparently concerned about the possibility of his base being run-over in another outbreak of disorder).

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Views from within the Zambian Company of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) at about 14:30 on Tuesday, 18 April 1995. Note the relative calm, despite great pressure around the camp, which, in some places has broken down razor-wire fencing. Note also the high proportion of adult and adolescenace males.
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Views from within the Zambian Company of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) at about 14:30 on Tuesday, 18 April 1995. Note the relative calm, despite great pressure around the camp, which, in some places has broken down razor-wire fencing. Note also the high proportion of adult and adolescenace males.

Taken between 13:30 and 13:00 on Tuesday, 18 April 

Views of the deserted part of Kibeho Camp on the road from Rwamiko. Note the complete abandonment of the camp outskirts.
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Taken between 13:30 and 13:00 on Tuesday, 18 April

Views of the deserted part of Kibeho Camp on the road from Rwamiko. Note the complete abandonment of the camp outskirts.

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Views from within the Zambian Company of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) at about 14:30 on Tuesday, 18 April 1995. Note the relative calm, despite great pressure around the camp, which, in some places has broken down razor-wire fencing.
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Views from within the Zambian Company of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) at about 14:30 on Tuesday, 18 April 1995. Note the relative calm, despite great pressure around the camp, which, in some places has broken down razor-wire fencing.

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Zambian UN Company HQ is free of internally displaced persons; the forecourt is filled with UN and NGO vehicles.  The handful of individuals visitble on tracks outside the UN base are RPA soldiers.
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Zambian UN Company HQ is free of internally displaced persons; the forecourt is filled with UN and NGO vehicles. The handful of individuals visitble on tracks outside the UN base are RPA soldiers.

Alexandre Castanias Kibeho photos
gallery: Alexandre Castanias Kibeho photos
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Huge and dense crowd around the Zambian UN platoon position towards which it has shrunk from the Company HQ; it is mostly on the inside of the rim of the bowl around which roads go towards Butare and Rwamiko.  Note also: 1) The white Land Cruiser unable to penetrate the crowd; 2) The RPA troops lining the Rwamiko Road; 3) The rest of the camp appears to have been completely deserted.
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Huge and dense crowd around the Zambian UN platoon position towards which it has shrunk from the Company HQ; it is mostly on the inside of the rim of the bowl around which roads go towards Butare and Rwamiko. Note also: 1) The white Land Cruiser unable to penetrate the crowd; 2) The RPA troops lining the Rwamiko Road; 3) The rest of the camp appears to have been completely deserted.

Views of the deserted part of Kibeho Camp on the road from Rwamiko.  Note the complete abandonment of camp outskirts and, in particular, the movement of people on the road close to the brick structure on the right side of the road.
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Views of the deserted part of Kibeho Camp on the road from Rwamiko. Note the complete abandonment of camp outskirts and, in particular, the movement of people on the road close to the brick structure on the right side of the road.

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Views of the deserted part of Kibeho Camp on the road from Rwamiko. Note the complete abandonment of camp outskirts and, in particular, the movement of people on the road close to the brick structure on the right side of the road.
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Views of the deserted part of Kibeho Camp on the road from Rwamiko. Note the complete abandonment of camp outskirts and, in particular, the movement of people on the road close to the brick structure on the right side of the road.

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View of the hospital complex. Note 1) that it is crowded - although not as extensively as later when the crowd shifts back from around the Zambian platoon position; 2) The line of UN troops holding back the crowd on the edge of the Zambian camp, just forward of the pit later used as a mass grave; 2) RPA troops on the road.
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View of the hospital complex. Note 1) that it is crowded - although not as extensively as later when the crowd shifts back from around the Zambian platoon position; 2) The line of UN troops holding back the crowd on the edge of the Zambian camp, just forward of the pit later used as a mass grave; 2) RPA troops on the road.

An RPA soldier (wearing redundant East German Army uniform) shows humanity in offering water to displaced children.
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An RPA soldier (wearing redundant East German Army uniform) shows humanity in offering water to displaced children.

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Late in the morning of 7 May 1995, the last DPs emerged from the compound in Kibeho and were allowed to leave by the RPA.  This picture shows the gathering of DPs on the roadway just to the north of the compound in which they had sheltered in abject poverty - reliant only on the food that they had with them on 22 April and on falling rainwater.
Kibeho closes!

Late in the morning of 7 May 1995, the last DPs emerged from the compound in Kibeho and were allowed to leave by the RPA. This picture shows the gathering of DPs on the roadway just to the north of the compound in which they had sheltered in abject poverty - reliant only on the food that they had with them on 22 April and on falling rainwater.

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Bizimungu, surrounded by UN officials (including RR Hasegawa and Randolph Kent - Head of the UN's Rwanda Emergency Operation) and RPA soldiers, is interviewed by local radio.
President Bizimungu

Bizimungu, surrounded by UN officials (including RR Hasegawa and Randolph Kent - Head of the UN's Rwanda Emergency Operation) and RPA soldiers, is interviewed by local radio.

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Major Mark Cuthbert-Brown walks through Kibeho with Captain Shema of the RPA, Indicating the direction in which the mass of IDPs fled on 22 April. (Photograph taken by John Cleland using the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.)
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Major Mark Cuthbert-Brown walks through Kibeho with Captain Shema of the RPA, Indicating the direction in which the mass of IDPs fled on 22 April. (Photograph taken by John Cleland using the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.)

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Assorted views of internally displaced persons making a living in the hospital complex, still surrounded by the Rwandan Patriotic Army.
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Assorted views of internally displaced persons making a living in the hospital complex, still surrounded by the Rwandan Patriotic Army.

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Brigadier General Henry Anyidoho directs relief operations in Kibeho
Brigadier General Henry Anyidoho directs relief operations in Kibeho
Taken by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.
Journalists, politicians and relief workers mingle on the edge of the DP compound

Taken by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.

With Captain Shema of the RPA looking on and a UN visitor from New York shielding his nose from the smell of decaying bodies in the vicinity, Major Mark Cuthbert-Brown is interviewed by Ben Brown of the BBC about events including summary executions that he had witnessed 5 days earlier.  This and other interviews concerning the breakdown of Kibeho were seen around the globe that evening and in following days.  (Taken by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.)
BBC interview

With Captain Shema of the RPA looking on and a UN visitor from New York shielding his nose from the smell of decaying bodies in the vicinity, Major Mark Cuthbert-Brown is interviewed by Ben Brown of the BBC about events including summary executions that he had witnessed 5 days earlier. This and other interviews concerning the breakdown of Kibeho were seen around the globe that evening and in following days. (Taken by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.)

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.
Exhumed DPs

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.
Exhumed DPs

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.
Exhumed DPs

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.
Exhumed DPs

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.
Exhumed DPs

DPs exhumed by the RPA on the orders of President Bizimungu - photographed by John Cleland with the camera of Mark Cuthbert-Brown.

Having visited the graves close to the Zambian platoon position and ordered their exhumation by RPA troops, the President complies  with Mark Cuthbert-Brown's request and leads a party looking for other smaller graves inside the rim of the valley.
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Having visited the graves close to the Zambian platoon position and ordered their exhumation by RPA troops, the President complies with Mark Cuthbert-Brown's request and leads a party looking for other smaller graves inside the rim of the valley.

View of the entrance to the hospital complex showing displaced persons who had refused to vacate and who remained surrounded by the Rwandan Patriotic Army.
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View of the entrance to the hospital complex showing displaced persons who had refused to vacate and who remained surrounded by the Rwandan Patriotic Army.

View from the perimeter of the Zambian platoon position looking back to Rwamiko Road; Zambians are about to clear it of corpses to allow easier movement and vehicle access. Note: 1) DPs emerging from shadows into which they crept during the night; 2) Two small children sitting in the debris about 40 meters from the sandbags; 3) Discarded food bales and luggage confuse attempts at a bodycount.
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View from the perimeter of the Zambian platoon position looking back to Rwamiko Road; Zambians are about to clear it of corpses to allow easier movement and vehicle access. Note: 1) DPs emerging from shadows into which they crept during the night; 2) Two small children sitting in the debris about 40 meters from the sandbags; 3) Discarded food bales and luggage confuse attempts at a bodycount.

View to the left of the gate onto the Rwamiko road.   Shot taken at around 6 a.m. on 23 April, after confiscation of film of RPA soldiers moving corposes.
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View to the left of the gate onto the Rwamiko road. Shot taken at around 6 a.m. on 23 April, after confiscation of film of RPA soldiers moving corposes.

Australian and Zambian troops keep their heads down as shooting breaks out around the camp late in the afternoon of Saturday 22 April.
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Australian and Zambian troops keep their heads down as shooting breaks out around the camp late in the afternoon of Saturday 22 April.

Casualties being evacuated.
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Casualties being evacuated.

A rescued child eats biscuits in the Zambian company base late in the afternoon of Saturday 22 April.  He was one of about 350 rescued and taken to orphanages on Sunday morning, 23 April,
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A rescued child eats biscuits in the Zambian company base late in the afternoon of Saturday 22 April. He was one of about 350 rescued and taken to orphanages on Sunday morning, 23 April,

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