The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small, East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days from the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6 through mid-July, at least 800,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate. Other estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500,000 and 1,000,000, or as much as 20% of the country's total population. It was the culmination of longstanding ethnic competition and tensions between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutu peoples, who had come to power in the rebellion of 1959–1962 and overthrown the Tutsi monarchy.
In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group composed mostly of Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from Uganda in an attempt to defeat the Hutu-led government. They began the Rwandan Civil War, fought between the Hutu regime, with support from Francophone nations of Africa and France, and the RPF, with support from Uganda. This exacerbated ethnic tensions in the country. In response, many Hutu gravitated toward the Hutu Power ideology, with the prompting of state-controlled and independent Rwandan media.
As an ideology, Hutu Power asserted that the Tutsi intended to enslave the Hutu and must be resisted at all costs. Continuing ethnic strife resulted in the rebels' displacing large numbers of Hutu in the north, plus periodic localized Hutu killings of Tutsi in the south. International pressure on the Hutu-led government of Juvénal Habyarimana resulted in a cease-fire in 1993. He was able to begin implementation of the Arusha Accords.
The assassination of Habyarimana in April 1994 set off a violent reaction, resulting in the Hutus' conducting mass killings of Tutsis and pro-peace Hutus, billed as traitors and collaborationists. This genocide had been planned by members of the Hutu power group known as the Akazu, many of whom occupied positions at top levels of the national government; the execution of the genocide was supported and coordinated by the national government as well as by local military and civil officials and mass media. Alongside the military, primary responsibility for the killings themselves rests with two Hutu militias that had been organized for this purpose by political parties: the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, although once the genocide was underway a great number of Hutu civilians took part in the murders.
It was the end of the peace agreement meant to end the war. In response to the killings, the Tutsi RPF restarted their offensive, eventually defeating the government army and seizing control of the country.