Numbers of Tutsi and Hutu Victims of Rwandan War
In his article “How free is free” published on his blog, Christopher Vourlias presents the article of Geoffrey York: Rwanda’s blood-soaked history becomes a tool for repression as an “otherwise excellent piece”, but goes on to criticise the author in these terms:
How can you breezily write a sentence like this – “Ms. Ingabire says she doesn’t know how many Tutsis died in 1994, how many Hutus died, or even whether the number of Tutsi victims was larger than the number of Hutu victims.” – without mentioning that such a revisionist opinion contradicts a very large body of genocide scholarship? Should a journalist accept a statement like that at face value?
If knowing the number of victims on both sides is so important, it would be wise to consult those researchers who have already raised the question and who provided enough elements showing that Ingabire is right to say that she doesn’t know…
In fact, the answer to this question raised by Mr Vourlias is given by one commentator on Mr York’s article, who writes:
Mr. York’s article is headed in the right direction based on his limited research on the matter. I highly recommend that he reads a key scientific study by Professor Christian Davenport and Allan C. Stam. It would also be instructive for my York to watch this lecture by Professor Davenport at the University of Michigan.
In minute 31 of the video professor Stam demonstrates how the number of people killed in the Rwandan genocide were made up by Professor Seltzer of Fordham University. Professor Seltzer said he arrived at his figures (which are universally used and quoted)on the notion that an estimate of about or that at least 6 million died in the Holocaust was sufficient for the nuremberg prosecution. He goes on to say that he can no longer recall why he settled on his numbers.
In fact, as written on the fordschool.umich.edu website,
Allan Stam, Professor of Political Science and Faculty Associate at the Center for Political Studies and his colleagues drew from a number of data sources, and their conclusions call into question much of the conventional wisdom about the the violence.
They find that there were several forms of political violence being enacted at once (genocide, politicide, civil war, random violence and vendetta killings), that the extremist Hutu government as well as the Rwandan Patriotic Front engaged in violent activity against Rwandan citizens, and that the majority of victims were likely Hutu and not Tutsi.
These findings have implications for public policy, advocacy, humanitarian intervention as well as post-conflict reconstruction.
Coming to a New Understanding of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide