The massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda, argues Alain Destexhe, is the first incontestable case of genocide since 1945.
Yet the term has been frequently used by the media to emphasise the horror of many of the world's mass killings: from Cambodia and East Timor to Somalia and Bosnia. *BR**BR*Destexhe demonstrates that genocide has a very specific definition and places the concept under close scrutiny, arguing that failure to limit the term to situations where it is clearly applicable under the terms of the UN Convention on Genocide detracts from the gravity of the offence. *BR**BR*It must now be reinstated as the most infamous of all crimes.
Setting the study in its historical context by analysing the Armenian and Jewish genocides, Destexhe concludes that a failure to grasp the reality of the situation in Rwanda undoubtedly explains the failure of the international community to take adequate action.*BR*