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Destruction and human remainsDisposal and concealment in genocide and mass violence$

Anstett Élisabeth and Dreyfus Jean-Marc

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096020

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096020.001.0001

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The Tutsi body in the 1994 genocide: ideology, physical destruction, and memory

The Tutsi body in the 1994 genocide: ideology, physical destruction, and memory

Chapter:
(p.226) 9 The Tutsi body in the 1994 genocide: ideology, physical destruction, and memory
Source:
Destruction and human remains
Author(s):

Korman Rémi

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719096020.003.0010

Abstract and Keywords

From 1994 onwards, bodies have been at the centre of the politics of memory surrounding the genocide of the Tutsi. As well as constituting evidence in forensic investigations, bodies are on display in the memorials to the genocide. This exhibiting of bodies aims principally to remind visitors of the historical facts of the genocide: the sites of the massacres and the methods used during them. The research carried out by Rwandan institutions with a view to memorialising the genocide is uniformly insistent on the "practices of cruelty" employed during it. Inventories of weapons used during the massacres are accompanied by descriptions of different methods of killing. These methods are also represented in many memorials. This paper will examine how these constructed ideologies of the twentieth century affected the treatment of Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide and the alarming consequences this created for the destruction of dehumanised bodies.

Keywords:   Rwanda, Genocide, Tutsi, Hutu, Memorialisation, Ideology, Practices of cruelty, burial

Since 1994, bodies have been at the centre of the memorialization of the Tutsi genocide. For, in addition to constituting evidence in the context of forensic investigations, they are publicly exhibited in memorials to the genocide. The display of bodies aims principally to remind visitors of the historical facts of the genocide: not only the sites of massacres, but also the form these took.

Far from being an incidental detail, the methods employed by the killers are an important source of information on the ideology of genocide which developed at the beginning of the 1990s. Spurred on by ‘hate media’, this ideology targeted the country's Tutsi minority, more than 80 per cent of whom were exterminated between 7 April and 4 July 1994. This process of extermination was accompanied by practices of cruelty involving the infliction of specific forms of violence upon Tutsi bodies, in particular using edged weapons.

In order to understand these practices, it is crucial to examine the history of bodily representations since the colonial era, and in particular the Hamitic myth which was elaborated in this period.1 While the terms ‘Hutu’, ‘Tutsi’, and ‘Twa’ used today did exist before colonization, they were reinforced by the arrival in the area of the first European colonizers, who exercised social control through the implementation of an ideology of racial inequality. According to Hamitic ideology, the Hutus were the country's true indigenous inhabitants, of ‘Bantu’ stock, while the Tutsis were foreign invaders, of ‘Nilotic’ or ‘Hamitic’ origin. The former were (p.227) generally described as simple ‘peasants’, and the latter as a more calculating, ‘feudal’ class.2 This system of classification was based on stereotypical racial representations, Tutsis being described as tall with thin noses and a lofty bearing, as opposed to Hutus, who were short, stocky, and flat-nosed. The Tutsis were sometimes even described as ‘false negroes’, as Europeans with black skin. This system of classification was the official policy of the Belgian colonialists, and was even extended to identity cards, which stated the holder's ethnic origin from 1931 onwards.

While these representations of the Tutsi body formulated in the colonial era remained throughout the twentieth century, the meanings they carried changed over time. An idealized ‘Tutsi beauty’ became a mark of stigma following the fall of the Tutsi monarchy and the establishment of the first exclusively Hutu Rwandan republic at the beginning of the 1960s. However, it was at the beginning of the 1990s that these representations underwent a radical shift. With the emergence of economic tensions at the end of the 1980s, the introduction of multi-party politics, and, above all, the start of the civil war on 1 October 1990, the Tutsis were increasingly made scapegoats for the country's problems. The new free press, of which extremist media sources formed a major part, would seek to redefine how the Tutsi body was imagined, and then incorporate these representations within the planning for future massacres. The Tutsi body was thus at the heart of the practices of cruelty organized by the genocidaires in 1994.

The Tutsi body in genocide ideology

The incessant repetition of the Hamitic myth under the country's first two republics helps to explain the stereotypes circulating in Rwanda at the beginning of the 1990s. What, then, were the specific bodily and physiological features which were supposed to characterize the Tutsis in 1994, according to the extremist media, and how were these representations used during the massacres?3

It must be borne in mind that, during the genocide, the body served as a pendant to the identity card. The body could be read, seen, scrutinized by the killers, who sought to isolate the differences which would allow them to locate the ‘enemy’. Militias would probe every part of the body in which features specific to a certain notion of ‘Tutsiship’ were supposedly to be found. Extremist media sources such as Kangura or Radio Télévision Libre des -Milles-collines (p.228) (RTLM) encouraged listeners to recognize Tutsis by sight alone, for the cunning Tutsis were supposedly trying to dupe the rest of the population by passing themselves off as Hutus. Esther Mujawayo, co-founder of an association for widows of the genocide, Avega, recalls having heard an RTLM journalist broadcasting the following address on the radio in the very first days of the genocide:4

  • How can you distinguish the cockroach from the Hutu?
  • You have several methods to choose from.
  • The cockroach has a gap between his front teeth.
  • The cockroach has narrow heels.
  • The cockroach has eight pairs of ribs.
  • The cockroach has stretch marks on his thighs near the buttocks.
  • The cockroach has a thin nose.
  • The cockroach's hair is not so curly.
  • The cockroach's skull is long at the back, and his forehead is sloped.
  • The cockroach is tall and there is haughtiness in his eyes.
  • The cockroach has a pronounced Adam's apple.

As ludicrous as they may seem, these ideas were pressed into service at the barriers, the mobile checkpoints where militias thought they could establish the ethnicity of individuals on the basis of these descriptions. In practice, it was very difficult for the armed gangs to know for sure which ethnic group the people arrested at the barriers belonged to. They were particularly reliant on two sources of information: the knowledge of the local population, as neighbours would know the ethnicities of those arrested; and identity cards. In the absence of an identity card, physical appearance would dictate survival or death. As one woman survivor recounts:

They started shouting as soon as they saw me. One of them knew me well and wanted to save me. He claimed that I was not a Tutsi. He said ‘Look at her carefully. She does not have the features of a Tutsi.’ They began to examine me, so as to judge my Tutsiship.5

The examinations carried out by the militias sought to identify the supposedly characteristic indicators of a Tutsi body. Height was the determining element, although other features were also taken into account, such as the form of the nose and teeth. According to Karen Krüger,6 the nose was, quite literally, at the centre of these representations. Impossible to hide, the nose thus became a tool with which to measure ethnicity. A joke printed in a newspaper supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1992 stated that, in order to be a member of the Coalition pour la Défense de la République (CDR), an extremist party belonging to the Hutu power (p.229) tendency, one had to be able to insert two fingers into each nostril.7 The implication was that this party was reserved for Hutus. This joke was then picked up on by the extremists and integrated within numerous texts, finally becoming, in the minds of the genocidaires in 1994, an actual method of checking the ethnicity of people arrested at the barriers. Victims were, for example, made to insert two fingers into their nostrils in order to measure the width of their nose. One militiaman, when interrogated on this subject, gave the following account:

I was told that the Tutsi is the enemy of the Hutu because he has a slender nose. One can easily slip a finger into a Hutu's nostrils as his nose is wide. In order to find out whether a Hutu or a Tutsi was in front of us, we always tried putting a finger in his nose … if the finger did not fit we knew it was a Tutsi.8

Within this geography of the body, then, the nose had a predominant role, being the principal marker, highly visible and easily measured. For this reason it became a particular target of propaganda, with Kantano Habimana, the famous RTLM journalist, declaring in one of his programmes that ‘We are talking about a single ethnic group. Take a person and look at their height and physical appearance; just take a look at their pretty little nose and then break it’.9

Teeth were another feature scrutinized by the killers, who saw the Tutsis as being marked out by their dentition. According to their imagined representations, the Tutsis, seen as a pastoral people, consumed excessive quantities of milk, to the extent that they would ‘strip dairies bare’.10 For the ideologues of the genocide, the Tutsis had particularly prominent teeth. It is possible that, specifically, the teeth of King Musinga, visible in numerous photographs from the colonial era, played a role in these stereotyped representations. The killers also went to great lengths to find teeth with gaps between them (inyinya). The journalist Kantano Habimana, who very probably delivered the address heard by Esther Mujawayo, talked at length in a programme broadcast on the RTLM in January 1994 about the gap between Major Rose Kabuye's incisors, which, in his view, was an indicator of her Tutsiship. Lastly, the genocidaires also paid close attention to skin colour. A darker complexion (igikara) was supposedly Hutu, while lighter skin (inzobe) was seen as Tutsi.

It is important to bear in mind that many Hutus, referred to as moderates, were also victims of the ideology of the genocide. These political opponents of the extremist parties were generally (p.230) given nicknames implying that their bodies were marked by Tutsi characteristics. Laurent Kanamugire has noted the use of such negative expressions as ingondeka, denoting a tall and stooping stature, muzuru , an excessively long nose, mbavu, a large number of ribs, gasongo, a lanky physique, and mujosi, a long neck.11

The ideology of the genocide thus served to define the Tutsi as different, foreign bodies. It also served to legitimize the cruelty to the victims.

Practices of cruelty during the massacres

One of the defining features of the genocide committed against the Tutsi in 1994 was the range of practices of cruelty committed by the killers, violence without useful purpose, aiming as much to inflict suffering upon as to eliminate its victims. How, though, can we define this cruelty? What were the specific elements that defined it in 1994?12 Véronique Nahoum-Grappe defines cruelty as a specific form of violence, identifiable by its intensity.13 Whereas violence can cause varying degrees of pain, cruelty has the explicit objective of inflicting suffering and humiliation. It forms part of a framework of asymmetric power, and this was very clearly the case during the genocide.14

In Rwanda, a first aspect of this cruelty was the carrying out of killings in broad daylight. During the genocide of the Tutsi in 1994, the killers openly committed their crimes, in full view of the population. This public nature of their crimes was made possible-by an ideology which meant that these acts carried no consequences-. This social impunity, which facilitated the murders, was accompanied by the humiliation of the victims. The latter were stripped, once again in front of the population, who laughed, joined in the beatings, and picked up abandoned possessions. The act of stripping victims naked also had the aim of revealing the supposed somatic difference of the Tutsis, thus preventing them from hiding their ‘abnormality’. As well as being perpetrated in broad daylight, the massacres were also committed by neighbours of the victims. Most of the killings were carried out in the hills of Rwanda, giving a very close-knit character to the murders. Teachers killed their students, neighbours killed their neighbours, and the crime of genocide even reached down to the level of relations within families.

It is to be noted that, of the ‘ten commandments of the Muhutu’, proclaimed in December 1990 by the extremist magazine Kangura, (p.231) the first denounces mixed marriages:15 ‘Every Muhutu must know that Umututsikazi [a Tutsi woman], wherever she may be, is in the pay of the Tutsi people. Consequently, any Muhutu who marries an Umututsikazi, who takes an Umututsikazi as his concubine, who makes an Umututsikazi his secretary or his protégée, is a traitor.’ Many so-called mixed families were caught up in the genocide. There were two possible situations: mixed couples where the husband-was a Tutsi, and those where the husband was a Hutu. It is important to note that in Rwandan culture ethnic affiliation is patrilineal (ethnicity is ‘transmitted’ by the father). In the case of families where the father was a Tutsi, only the Hutu mother could hope to survive. Some women in this situation killed their own children, the latter now considered as ‘children of the enemy’. Conversely, many Hutu husbands were forced to kill their Tutsi wives by the militias in order to save their children. Nicknamed ‘Hutsi’, the latter have subsequently been torn by their dual status as the children of killers and the children of victims of the genocide.16 In some cases, Hutsi children were even killed by their Hutu father, demonstrating the extreme racialization of social and family relationships at the time of the genocide.

Another characteristic feature of the genocide was the choice of weapons used to inflict suffering upon the victims. It is a striking fact that the tools used for killing were in general not weapons, but everyday objects. This situation led to the creation of euphemisms for the violence carried out. Claudine Vidal has pointed out the use of the expression ‘to cut’ (gutema) in place of ‘to kill’ (kwica). The tools employed thus ‘contaminated’ the vocabulary denoting the act of killing.17 However, some weapons were given explicit names, such as the club called Nta mpongano y'umwanzi (no pity for the enemy). The use of this type of weapon inevitably involved coming face to face with the victim, as well as ‘transgressing the anatomical barrier’,18 and thus coming into contact with blood, for the killers as much as for the victims.

Nevertheless, one should be wary of some interpretations that have made the use of edged weapons a condition of the cruelty of the massacres. Some have seen the rudimentary character of the agricultural implements employed as, in itself, explaining the degree of suffering inflicted. Yet this image of a poor person's genocide, or an agricultural genocide, needs to be challenged.19 Traditionally, the machete has never been considered a weapon in Rwanda, unlike the spear, sword, or bow. While there certainly were practices of cruelty involving edged weapons, these were not a mere consequence of (p.232) the implements being used, but rather a literal enactment of the ideology of the genocide. Several studies have shown the role of firearms during the massacres.20 Whenever attacks were carried out in large groups, they almost always followed an identical format. Militias with guns and grenades would attack first, breaking any resistance and preventing escape; then other people would finish off the survivors with machetes, clubs, hoes, and so on. Bladed (or blunt) weapons were used in order to cause suffering to victims' bodies, and to destroy them according to a predetermined process. This is not to say that a degree of inventiveness was absent from these practices of cruelty.21 Alongside the ideology of the genocide went a certain amount of autonomy on the part of the killers, even if the meaning of their acts referred back to shared representations. For, as Mary Douglas argues, ‘what one sculpts from human flesh is an image of society’.22

The killers, then, sought to cut, to shorten the Tutsi, who were considered taller in stature. The expression ‘to shorten tall trees’ has been used by some.23 Some victims had their feet and legs cut off; others were decapitated. The killers would often begin by severing victims' Achilles' tendons in order to prevent them from escaping. Now unable to stand, they were also seen as no longer being able to boast of their stature. Cutting their bodies into pieces also functioned as a signifier of the uprooting of the Tutsi ‘growth’. The official memorial song for the seventeenth commemoration of the genocide, entitled ‘We refuse to allow our history to be falsified’ (‘Twanze gutoberwa Amateka’), echoes this plant metaphor. In the middle of the chorus, the composer and genocide survivor Kizito Mihigo sings the words ‘Twanze kuba insina ngufi’, meaning ‘we refuse to be little banana trees’. This is a reference to a Rwandan proverb that states that little banana trees are easier to uproot. These are powerful words for survivors, affirming their refusal to be uprooted, to be cut down and prevented from growing.

During the genocide, bodily extremities and all such ‘outgrowths’ were a target of the killers; they sought to destroy what, according to collective representations, were recognizable traits, and this ‘hystericalization of small differences’24 led them to cut off those extremities that were supposedly characteristic of a Tutsi body. Noses and little fingers were thus cut off, from the dead as well as the living. This ideology drove some killers to attack objects and even animals. The most striking examples of this involved religious objects, and in particular statues which, in the minds of the killers, bore ‘the marks of a Tutsi body’. Militias thus broke the nose off (p.233) a statue of the Virgin Mary in Kibeho, an important site for the Catholic Church in Rwanda, while others decapitated a statue of Christ on the cross inside a church in Nyarubuye.

How can these practices of cruelty ever be made intelligible? What possible meaning can be assigned to such acts? Several anthropological hypotheses seeking to understand such forms of violence have been put forward since 1994.25 They focus on the idea of a culture of violence and obedience in Rwanda, as well as on the mythical and cosmogonical beliefs and representations found among the country's population. While these approaches may at first glance seem stimulating, some of them do tend to rely on a highly culturalist model which is somewhat problematic. For the cultural aspect of the violence must not be allowed to overshadow the genocide's political dimension.

According to the anthropologist Danielle de Lame, the economic and political situation at the beginning of the 1990s cannot account entirely for the violence of the genocide.26 She puts forward several hypotheses relating to traditions of cruelty and violence as a ‘structure within Rwandan history’, as well as to the role of fear, and also a ‘mythico-religious’ vision of history centred on the figure of the king. She explains how, in the past, whenever the king became weak, the resulting chaos produced a violent reaction from the people. These ideas, in conjunction with the context of political crisis at the beginning of the 1990s, have been used to legitimize the violence committed during the genocide. It is to be noted that this culturalist hypothesis is regularly invoked by defence teams at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in order to explain the events of the genocide.27

Far more useful are those anthropological analyses which focus on the representation of the body. Danielle de Lame also points out that the circulation of forces within boundaries, and within the body in particular, is an essential paradigm within Rwandan culture, thus providing an explanation for the fury with which the limbs of Tutsi victims were hacked off. This hypothesis has been taken up by Christopher Taylor,28 who ‘relates the various forms of killing and practices of cruelty … to systems of traditional symbolic logic’.29 According to Taylor, the Tutsi were likened to obstacles that had to be removed from circulation. This theory would account for the traditional practices of execution employed, as well as various beliefs relating to the violence committed during the genocide, although it clearly has to be seen alongside other attempts to understand this violence.

(p.234) Investigations of the methods used in the genocide

Right from the outset, in 1994, the series of inquiries produced by Rwandan institutions all made specific reference to the cruelty of the acts committed during the genocide. The horrors suffered by the victims are not simply evoked in vague terms; instead, the cruelty is analysed in detail, being considered by the investigators as a crucial element of the act of genocide. The inventiveness evident in the various ways of inflicting suffering and in the form taken by the massacres is a central concern of these reports into the atrocities.

In its investigative report into the massacres produced after the genocide, the Human Rights Commission of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, at that time led by Tito Rutaremara,30 devoted considerable-space to this question, listing more than twenty ways of killing used during the massacres. Concurrently, CLADHO, a Rwandan human rights group, in partnership with the survivors' organization-Ibuka and the non-governmental organization Huridocs, developed a database that allowed the sites of the genocide to be catalogued, along with the names of the victims, the names of the killers, as well as the specific instruments used in the massacres. While the idea of a collaborative effort between these groups quickly foundered, the database, christened Genosys,31 would form the basis of the work done by Ibuka in its investigation of the genocide in the Kibuye prefecture, in western Rwanda. When one reads Ibuka's report, the importance for survivors of the question of exactly how the genocide was carried out is immediately apparent. A significant amount of it is devoted to describing the implements used by the killers during the genocide. On the official publication in December 1999 of the resulting Dictionnaire nominatif des victims du génocide en préfecture de Kibuye,32 Ikuba's president, Frédéric Mutagwera, spoke at some length on the ‘twenty-nine ways’ in which victims were murdered during the genocide, the list of which runs as follows:

1. Sexual abuse (raped to death), 2. Tearing out the eyes, 3. Tearing out the heart, 4. Burning alive, 5. Castration, 6. Devouring by dogs, 7. Knives, 8. Crushing (of babies) against a wall or floor, 9. Burying alive (Nyange church), 10. Sword, 11. Starvation, 12. Beating to death, 13. Suffocation, 14. Shooting, 15. Club with nails, 16. Club, 17. Hand grenade, 18. Axe, 19. Hoe, 20. Spear, 21. Stoning, 22. Cess pit, 23. Machete, 24. Hammer, 25. Drowning, 26. Hanging, 27. Staking, 28. Poison, 29. Torture.

Subsequently, other Rwandan reports would look into this question, such as the Dénombrement des victimes du génocide et des (p.235) massacres, published by the Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs in 2001. The latter study analyses the distribution of methods of killing during the genocide according to geographical location. The authors conclude that some weapons, such as the machete and club, were predominant throughout the country. However, the patterns of their use differed from one area to another. Firearms appear to have been used particularly extensively in Gikongo and Butare prefectures, indicating the presence of armed units, most probably from the army. Several local studies of the genocide have also examined the mistreatment of victims' bodies, in particular the monograph on the genocide in Nyarubuye written by Privat Rutazibwa and Paul Rutayisire,33 and another on the genocide in the town of Mugina edited by Faustin Rutembesa and Ernest Mutwarasibo. In the latter study, Rutembesa examines practices of cruelty, termed ibikorwa bya kinyamaswa,34 and sexual violence in particular.

This interest in the specific methods employed serves to remind us that the memory of the genocide committed against the Tutsi is not founded solely upon the bodies of the victims.35 The weapons of the killers also hold significant memorial value. These objects, abhorrent as they are, are the ‘prolongation of the body’ of the killer, and even of that of the victim. For this reason, a great number of genocide memorials exhibit these implements of torture next to the remains of victims. At the memorial site in Nyamata, the guides show visitors the various ways in which bodies were abused, pointing out cut marks on bones, arrows stuck in skulls, and a wall against which children were crushed. At the memorial site in Nyarubuye, a log used for the preparation of urwawa (banana beer) is exhibited; during the genocide it was used for beheading Tutsis.36

This conscious museological decision seeks to highlight the meaning placed by the killers on the destruction of these bodies. By targeting specific parts of the body, they symbolically attacked the ‘Tutsiship’ of their victims. By dismembering the corpses, by destroying them, they attacked their very humanity, seeking in this way to render any funeral rites impossible. These acts explain the appearance following the genocide of a new expression: ‘burial with dignity’ (Gushyingura mu cyubahiro).37 These bodies must be buried with dignity, buried properly, because these victims were killed wrongly, suffering a ‘bad death’ (Bapfuye nabi) –bad in the sense not only of the torture suffered by the victims, but also of the way in which their corpses were treated. This notion of bad death is an important element of traditional Rwandan culture, and is one of (p.236) the reasons why Christian religious discourse, based as it is on the notion of salvation after death, has encountered such difficulty in adapting to a Rwandan context.38

A bad burial also amounts to a bad death. Victims suffered this fate, being buried in unmarked mass graves by the killers, whereas collective burial is quite alien to Rwandan notions and practices; the dead are generally buried on the land surrounding the family home. However, it is also a fact that, beneath the veneer of rationalist discourse often heard in Rwanda, the fear of the spirits of the dead still persists, particularly in the countryside. Monseigneur Aloys Bigirumwami, the first Rwandan bishop, wrote in 1969 in his celebrated writings on the customs of Rwanda:

The spirit of the deceased, the muzimu, will be either good or bad according to the subsequent good or bad fortune enjoyed by those who outlive him. Earthly successes are attributed to him, but so too are any instances of illness, sterility, or death afflicting members of his family, their livestock and other possessions. It is his way of gaining respect or exacting revenge. This is why Rwandans take many careful precautions before, during and after the burial in order to ensure that the spirit of the deceased leaves on good terms with the family.39

There are also specific beliefs associated with each type of spirit. The spirit of a person who has died far from their family, without a burial, is called umuzimu w'umugwagasi. The testimony of many survivors shows that the spirit of the deceased who has not had a proper burial, the umugwagasi, is particularly dreaded.

Conclusion

It is clear that the practices of cruelty in 1994 were rooted in a complex ideological humus. They were linked both to the collective representations developed over the course of the twentieth century which transformed the Tutsi and Hutu body into a site of political antagonism, and also to the genocide ideology which became widespread at the beginning of the 1990s. The specific nature of the violence inflicted upon bodies at a local level remains largely unknown. Detailed local studies of the genocide are still rare, and analysis of the archives of the Gacaca courts is only now beginning. Above all, there has been no real comparative study of the massacres carried out in 1994 and those committed in 1963 and 1973.

More generally, a history of the modalities of violence in Rwanda and the African Great Lakes region in the twentieth century has yet (p.237) to be written. While the genocide committed against the Tutsi had a certain number of specific features, the massacres in Burundi in both 1972 and 1993, along with those carried out in Uganda under the rule of Idi Amin, also require further analysis. A comparative study of this violence and of the different abuses inflicted on bodies during these events will allow the potential role to be assessed of migrations and movements of refugees in the diffusion of new practices of violence.

The intensity of the sexual violence currently being committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the most striking example of this process. Rape, used on a massive scale in Rwanda in 1994 and recognized as a genocidal crime by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR),40 has become one of the main instruments of the violence committed by armed militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As well as rape, however, a whole range of violent practices originating in specific mass crimes seem to have been exported throughout the Great Lakes region. Gaining an understanding of this process of migration of knowledge and techniques of violence is thus a priority for researchers working on the status of bodies in situations of mass violence.

(p.238)

(p.239)

(p.240)

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Taylor, C., Terreur et sacrifice: une approche anthropologique du génocide rwandais (Toulouse: Octarès Editions, 2000)

van't Spijker, G., Les Usages funéraires et la mission de l'Eglise: une étude anthropologique et théologique des rites funéraires au Rwanda (Kampen: Uitgeversmaatschappij J. H. Kok, 1990)

Verstappen, B., Micro-thesauri: A Tool for Documenting, English (Huridocs, 2001).

Verwimp, P., ‘Machetes and firearms: the organization of massacres in Rwanda’, Journal of Peace Research, 43 (2006), 5–22

Vidal, C., ‘Le génocide des rwandais tutsi: cruauté délibérée et logiques de haine’, in F. Héritier (ed.), De la violence (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1996), pp. 325–66

(p.242) Vidal, C., ‘Rwanda 1994. L'imaginaire traditionnel perverti par le génocide’, L'Homme, 163 (2002), 205–16

Vidal, C., ‘Un “génocide à la machete”’, in M. Le Pape, J. Siméant & C. Vidal (eds), Crises extrêmes: face aux massacres, aux guerres civiles et aux génocides (Paris: La Découverte, 2006), pp. 21–35

Notes:

(1) See J.-P. Chrétien, Le Défide l'ethnisme: Rwanda et Burundi, 1990–1996 (Paris: Karthala Editions, 1997); F. Baillette, ‘Figures du corps, ethnicité et génocide au Rwanda’, Quasimodo, 6 (2000), 7–37.

(2) See J.-P. Chrétien, ‘Le Génocide du Rwanda un négationnisme structurel’, Hommes & Libertés, 151 (2010), 29–31.

(3) I would like to thank Hélène Dumas for her advice relating to this section.

(4) F. Baillette, ‘Figures du corps’, p. 9.

(5) K. Krüger, ‘The destruction of faces in Rwanda 1994’, L'Europe en Formation, 357 (2010), 91–105, at p. 103.

(6) Ibid., p. 94.

(7) See Kangura, 35, p. 4: ‘Iyo umuntu yatse ikarita ya CDR bashyira intoki ebyiri muri buri zuru rye zakwirwamo akabona kwemererwa kuba umuyoboke w'iryo shya’ (‘When someone asked for a CDR membership card, they would stick two fingers into each of his nostrils and, if they went in, he would be accepted as a member of the party’). It should be noted that a certain degree of humour surrounds these questions, of a type similar to kinship jokes. Kinship jokes, a classic object of anthropological study, are social practices which allow members of a family, or of different clans or peoples, to mock one another without causing offence. Few studies have been devoted to this question in

(8) Krüger, ‘The destruction of faces’, p. 103 (testimony of Alphonse N., Gikondo prison, 6 September 2003).

(9) ‘Il s'agit d'une seule ethnie. Regardez donc une personne et voyez sa taille et son apparence physique; regardez seulement son joli petit nez et cassez-le’. Baillette, ‘Figures du corps’, p. 8.

(10) Kantano Habimana declared in a programme broadcast on 5 or 6 January 1994 on RTLM that: ‘It's surprising to see someone drinking two or three litres of milk from Nyabisindu or Rubilizi etc.…, there was supposed to have been a shortage of milk in the dairies. Someone wrote to me saying “Help! They've emptied the dairy!” I've seen it with my own eyes. They have a very large stock of milk.’ (‘C'est surprenant de voir quelqu'un boire deux ou trois litres du lait provenant de Nyabisindu ou de Rubilizi etc.…, il y aurait dû y avoir pénurie de lait dans les laiteries. Quelqu'un m'a écrit ceci: “Au secours! Ils ont vidé la laiterie !” J'ai vu cela de mes propres yeux. Ils possèdent un très grand stock de lait.’) See the judgement and sentence passed by the judge for case ICTR-99–52-T, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, 3 December 2003.

(11) L. Kanamugire, Le Rôle de l'État dans le génocide des Tutsi d'avril–juillet 1994: Cas de l'excommune urbaine de Ngoma (Butare: Université nationale du Rwanda, 2003).

(12) See C. Vidal, ‘Le Génocide des rwandais tutsi: cruauté délibérée et logiques de haine’, in F. Héritier (ed.), De la violence (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1996), pp. 325–66. This ground-breaking chapter, published in 1996, offers essential insights into the question of the violence committed during the genocide.

(13) V. Nahoum-Grappe, ‘L'Usage politique de la cruauté: l'épuration ethnique (ex-Yugoslavia, 1991–1995)’, in F. Héritier (ed.), De la violence (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1996), pp. 273–323.

(14) E. Mailänder, ‘Work, violence and cruelty’, L'Europe en Formation, 357 (2010), 29–51, at p. 29.

(15) See Kangura, 6 December 1990, p. 6–8.

(16) J. Ruremesha, ‘Rwanda: les enfants ‘hutsi’ écartelés et rejetés’, Syfia Grands Lacs, 20 January 2004.

(17) See the contribution by Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau in L. de Vulpian, Rwanda, un génocide oublié? Un procès pour mémoire (Paris: Editions Complexe, 2004), p. 55.

(18) Ibid.

(19) C. Vidal, ‘Un “génocide à la machette”’, in M. Le Pape, J. Siméant & C. Vidal (eds), Crises extrêmes: face aux massacres, aux guerres civiles et aux génocides (Paris: La Découverte, 2006), pp. 21–35.

(20) P. Verwimp, ‘Machetes and firearms: the organization of massacres in Rwanda’, Journal of Peace Research, 43 (2006), 5–22.

(21) J. Kagabo, ‘Après le génocide. Notes de voyage’, Les Temps Modernes, 583 (1995), 102–25.

(22) ‘[C]e que l'on sculpte de la chair humaine, c'est une image de la société.’ M. Douglas, De la souillure: essai sur les notions de pollution et de tabou (Paris: Maspero, 1971), p. 35, quoted in J. Dufour, Présence des corps: mémoriaux et politique mémorielle du génocide des Tutsi au Rwanda: 1994–2011 (Paris: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2011), p. 49.

(23) This expression was much used around the time of the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. It is possible that it was invented in this context.

(24) A. Brossat, Le Corps de l'ennemi: hyperviolence et démocratie (Paris: La Fabrique, 1998), quoted in J. Dufour, Présence des corps, p. 55.

(25) Studies of the Tutsi genocide have mainly been carried out by political scientists. Analysis by historians or anthropologists remains rare.

(26) D. de Lame, ‘Le génocide rwandais et le vaste monde, les liens du sang’, in F. Reyntjens & S. Marysse (eds), L'Afrique des Grands-Lacs, annuaire 1996–1997 (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1997), pp. 157–77.

(27) See for example the report by Lucien Hounkpatin, ‘Analyse ethno-psychiatrique de la tragédie rwandaise d'avril 1994’, Trial of the Cyangugu group at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, 8 July 2002 (case no. ICTR-99–46-T).

(28) C. Taylor, Terreur et sacrifice: une approche anthropologique du génocide rwandais (Toulouse: Octarès Editions, 2000).

(29) C. Vidal, ‘Rwanda 1994: l'imaginaire traditionnel perverti par le génocide’, L'Homme, 163 (2002), 205–16, at p. 211.

(30) J.-P. Schreiber, ‘Rwanda, janvier 1995: voyage au cœur de l'abomination’, in R. Boulal & P. Kalisa (eds), N'épargnez pas les enfants! Mémoire d'un génocide de proximité (Brussels: Aden Editions, 2009), pp. 41–63.

(31) B. Verstappen, Micro-thesauri: A Tool for Documenting, English (Huridocs, 2001).

(32) Ibuka, Dictionnaire nominatif des victimes du génocide en Préfecture de Kibuye (Kigali: Ibuka, 1999).

(33) P. Rutazibwa & P. Rutayisire, Génocide à Nyarubuye: monographie sur l'un des principaux sites du génocide des Tutsi de 1994 au Rwanda (Kigali: Editions Rwandaises, 2007).

(34) F. Rutembesa & E. Mutwarasibo, Amateka ya Jenoside yakorewe Abatutsi muri Mugina (Kigali: CNLG, 2009). Kinyamaswa refers to the concept of ferocity or savagery.

(35) H. Dumas & R. Korman, ‘Espaces de la mémoire du génocide des Tutsis au Rwanda’, Afrique contemporaine, 238 (2011), 11–27.

(36) N. Rera, Nyarubuye: quelque part, entre les vivants et les morts (Paris: Génocides et politiques mémorielles, 2011), available at http://chs.univ-paris1.fr/genocides_et_politiques_memorielles (accessed 9 October 2013).

(37) R. Korman, Le Rwanda face à ses morts ou les cimetières du génocide comme lieux de mémoire (Paris: Génocides et politiques mémorielles, 2012), available at http://chs.univ-paris1.fr/genocides_et_politiques_memorielles/?Le-Rwanda-face-a-ses-morts-ou-les (accessed 9 October 2013).

(38) On funerary rites in Rwanda and the role of Christianity in the evolution

(39) ‘[L]'esprit du défunt, le muzimu, sera bon ou mauvais suivant le sort heureux ou malheureux des survivants. On lui attribue les réussites terrestres, mais aussi les maladies, la stérilité, la mort qui peuvent frapper les membres de sa famille, le bétail et tous ses biens. C'est son moyen de se faire respecter ou de se venger. C'est pour cela que le Rwandais a recours à de multiples précautions très minutieuses avant, pendant et après l'enterrement pour que l'esprit du défunt s'en aille en bons termes avec la famille.’ See A. Bigirumwami, ‘Les rites rwandais autour de la mort’, in Colloque: ethique chrétienne et valeurs africaines (Kinshasa, 1969), pp. 40–58.

(40) On this point see the trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (case no. TPIR-96–4-T).