Britannia Waived the Rules: The Major Government and the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Paul Williams, L Melvern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Ten years after the 1994 Rwandan genocide occurred, serious questions remain about the circumstances of the British government's response. This article critically evaluates the response of John Major's government to the genocide. It does so in four stages. The first section provides a brief overview of the Major government's international agenda in 1994, focusing on British policy towards the war in Bosnia and the African continent in general. The second section deals with the substance of Britain's Rwanda policy, while the third discusses the ways in which this policy has been almost totally omitted from mainstream accounts of this period. The final section provides a critical evaluation of some of the tactics that British officials employed to avert criticism of their government's policies. Based on the evidence presented we conclude that the British government displayed a deeply troubling indifference towards the victims of Rwanda's genocide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalAfrican Affairs
Issue number410
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


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