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A New Understanding of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Based on an examination of a new database on Rwandan political violence (Davenport and Stam), I will present a GIS analysis of the 1994 fighting which shows that three distinct zones of political violence existed during the 1994 civil war: 1) those killings that occurred under government jurisdiction, 2) those where government and rebels are engaged in fighting each other (i.e., the battle-fronts or frontlines) and 3) those under rebel jurisdiction. The majority of killings take place in the zone under FAR/Rwandan government control (accounting for approximately 200,000-900,000 deaths). They are the ones proximately responsible for almost all of the political violence though culpability varies tremendously for any individual episode of killing. Additionally, we demonstrate that one's posterior beliefs about casualty levels vary dramatically as a function on one's priors about the reliability of the 1991 Rwanda government census.