President Obama on Friday chose envoy Samantha Power, a harsh critic of President Clinton’s failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, to lead a U.S. delegation to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocities.
Ms. Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., will travel with other U.S. representatives to the commemoration ceremony in the central African nation on April 7. Among others in the delegation will be Rep. Karen Bass, California Democrat; former Sen. Russell Feingold, the State Department’s special representative for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a columnist for the Washington Post.
The Rwanda Genocide began in April 1994, a mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the ethnic Hutu majority. Over a four-month period, an estimated 800,000 or more Rwandans were killed.
Mr. Clinton, who was president at the time, said in Rwanda in 1998 that “we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred.”
“The United States did much more than fail to send troops,” she wrote in The Atlantic. “It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorization of UN reinforcements. The United States in fact did virtually nothing ‘to try to limit what occurred.’ In order not to appreciate that genocide or something close to it was under way, U.S. officials had to ignore public reports and internal intelligence and debate.”