A Rwandan history lesson

1946 Ruanda-Urundi becomes a UN trust territory governed by Belgium.

1961 Rwanda proclaimed a republic. Many Tutsis leave the country as Gregoire Kayibanda, a Hutu, becomes president.

1973 Juvenal Habyarimana leads military coup and ousts President Kayibanda. Tutsis are purged from universities, and ethnic quotas are established which restrict Tutsis to 9 percent of public employment.

1978 New Constitution is ratified; Habyarimana is elected president.

1986 Rwandan Tutsi exiles in Uganda form the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

1990 The RPF invades Rwanda. In response, Hutu youth form the Interahamwe - government-sponsored militias. In July of the same year, President Juvenal Habyarimana signs a power- sharing accord, ostensibly to end the civil war. A UN mission is sent to monitor the peace agreement.

April 1994 Habyarimana and the Burundian president are killed after their plane is shot down over Kigali on April 6. The next day, April 7, house to house killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutu politicians begins. On April 21, the UN passes a resolution to withdraw all troops from the region. In the 100 days that follow, 937,000 people are killed (based a new Rwanda census) and 2 million flee the country.

July 1994 The RPF seizes control of Rwanda after driving the 40,000-strong Hutu army and over 2 million civilian Hutus into exile in Burundi, Tanzania, and the former Zaire. The RPF sets up an interim government of national unity in the capital, Kigali.

Dec. 26, 1996 The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda opens in Arusha, Tanzania. Its mandate is to try those involved at the highest level of the genocide. George Rutaganda, Leader of the Interahamwe, receives a life sentence in December 1999. The tribunal has been criticized for being too costly and slow, rendering only 21 judgments to date.

2000 Ministers and members of parliament elect Vice-President Paul Kagame as Rwanda's new president.

2001 Community courts called Gacaca (pronounced "ga-CHA-cha," meaning "on the grass") are created by the Rwandan National Assembly to process tens of thousands of cases of those accused of participating in the 1994 genocide. They have processed almost 130,000 people.

2003 Paul Kagame claims a landslide victory in the first presidential elections since the 1994 genocide.

Sources: BBC, Britannica, and PBS

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