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USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive: Rwandan Tutsi Genocide testimony overview

Established in 1994 to preserve the audio-visual histories of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: the Visual History Archive (VHA).

1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

The mass killing of 650,000–over 1 million people, ethnically defined as Tutsi, in Rwanda between April 7 and July 19, 1994, implemented against the backdrop of civil war by Hutu extremists who seized power after former president Habyarimana was killed in a plane crash. Victims of the genocide also included tens of thousands of so-called Hutu in opposition to the Hutu extremists. The mass murder was the climax of a larger postcolonial history of Tutsi persecution by the Hutus, who shared language, culture and religion, but had been earlier constructed as different groups by the Belgian colonial power.

The Visual History Archive contains the testimonies of 135 witnesses of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. They were recorded in Rwanda and the United States between 2004 and 2019 by the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, USC Shoah Foundation (15), Holocaust Museum Houston, and for the documentary film "The 600: A Soldier's Story." The interview languages are Kinyarwanda, English, or French; all the Kinyarwanda testimonies have English subtitles. For more information on this collection, please see the USC Shoah Foundation website


Selected Indexing Terms



anti-Tutsi arrests

anti-Tutsi manhunts

anti-Tutsi prejudice

anti-Tutsi propaganda

anti-Tutsi roundups

attitudes toward Burundi and/or Burundians

Bisisero Hills Massacres (April-June 1994)

bourgmestres (Rwanda)

childhood anti-Tutsi experiences

Coalition Pour la Défence de la République

Death of President Juvénal Habyarimana (April 6, 1994)

Ecole Technique Officielle and Nyanza Massacre (April 11-12, 1994)

Forces Armées Rwandaises soldiers

Gacaca courts

Gatwaro Stadium Massacre (April 18-19, 1994)

grenade attacks

Hutu communities

Interahamwe militia

Kibuye Catholic Church and Home St. Jean Massacre (April 17, 1994)

Kigali (Rwanda)

machete attacks

Ntarama Church Massacre (April 15, 1994)

Nyabarongo River (Rwanda)

post-genocide reconciliation

post-Rwandan Tutsi Genocide reflections

Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines


Rwanda 1994 (April 7 - July 19)

Rwandan Patriotic Army

Rwandan Patriotic Front

Rwandan Tutsi Genocide faith issues

Rwandan Tutsi Genocide preparation awareness

Rwandan Tutsi Genocide-related psychological reactions

Saint Famille Church (Kigali, Rwanda)

school anti-Tutsi prejudice

travel permits

Tutsi communities

Tutsi persecution bystander responses

Tutsi prisoners

Tutsi property attacks

Tutsi-non Tutsi relations

Twa communities

United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda


Selected Bibliography

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

Des Forges, Alison. "Leave none to tell the story": Genocide in Rwanda. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999. Print.

Fletcher, Luke. “Turning Interhamwe, Individual and Community Choices in the Rwandan Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research, 9.1 (2007): 25-48. Print.

Fujii, Lee Ann. Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009. Print.

Guichaoua, André. Les crises politiques au Burundi et au Rwanda, 1993-1994 : analyses, faits et documents. Villeneuve d'Ascq: Université des sciences et technologies de Lille, Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales; Paris: Diffusion Karthala, 1995. Print.

Guichaoua, André, and René Dégni-Ségui. Rwanda, de la guerre au génocide: les politiques criminelles au Rwanda (1990-1994). Paris: la Découverte, 2010. Print.

Kimonyo, Jean-Paul. Rwanda's Popular Genocide: A Perfect Storm. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2016. Print.

Lemarchand, René. “Rwanda: the State of Research.Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. 27 May 2013. Web.

Mamdani, Mahmood. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2001. Print.

Prunier, Gérard. The Rwanda Crisis, 1959-1994: History of a Genocide. London: Hurst & Co, 1995. Print.

Straus, Scott. The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006. Print.

Verwimp, Philip. Peasants in Power: The Political Economy of Development and Genocide in Rwanda. Dordrecht; New York: Springer, 2013. eBook [USC Network Access]

Viret, Emmanuel. “Rwanda - A Chronology (1867-1994).” Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. 1 March 2010. Web.

Visual History Archive Curator

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Crispin Brooks