In response, the Tutsi rebel force, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, swept across the country in a 14-week civil war, routing the largely Hutu government. Despite horrific reports of genocide, no country came to the Tutsi"s assistance. The UN, already stationed in Rwanda at the time of the killing, withdrew entirely after ten of its soldiers were killed.
In the aftermath of the genocide, an estimated 1.7 million Hutu fled across the border into neighboring Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Although Tutsi rebels took control of the government, they permitted a Hutu, Pasteur Bizimungu, to serve as president, attempting to deflect accusations of a resurgence in Tutsi elitism and to foster national unity. Paul Kagame, the Tutsi rebel leader, became vice president and éminence grise.
Amid the legitimate refugees from the genocide were Hutu militiamen, who began waging guerrilla warfare from refugee camps in Zaire. The Hutu guerrillas in Zaire, as well as Zaire"s threat to exile their own ethnic Tutsi, led to Rwanda"s support of rebel forces, headed by Laurent Kabila, bent on overthrowing Zaire"s Mobutu Sese Seko. But Rwanda soon grew disenchanted with Kabila"s new regime. The Kabila government was not able to prevent the raids from Hutu guerrillas that continued to traumatize the country and destabilize the region. In Aug. 1998, a little more than a year after Kabila took over, a rebellion began against his reign, instigated by Rwanda and Uganda.
Refugee problems, continued massacres, and the horrific legacy of genocide continued to haunt the national psyche. In Sept. 1998, a UN tribunal sentenced Jean Kambanda, a former prime minister of Rwanda, to life in prison for his part in the 1994 genocide. He became the first person in history to be convicted for the crime of genocide, first defined in the 1948 Genocide Convention after World War II. By 2001, eight others had also been convicted of the same charge. The UN tribunal, however, was criticized for its inefficiency and slow pace. In Dec. 1999, an