Representations of Rwanda have been shaped by the display of bodies and bones at Tutsi genocide memorial sites. This phenomenon is most often only studied from the perspective of moral dimensions. This article aims in contrast to cover the issues related to the treatment of human remains in Rwanda for commemorative purposes from a historical perspective. To this end, it is based on the archives of the commissions in charge of genocide memory in Rwanda, as well as interviews with key memorial actors. This study shows the evolution of memorial practices since 1994 and the hypermateriality of bodies in their use as symbols, as well as their demobilisation for the purposes of reconciliation policies.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

This article describes the brutalisation of the bodies of Tutsi and Jewish victims in 1994 and during the Second World War, respectively, and contrasts the procedures adopted by killers to understand what these deadly practices say about the imaginaries at work in Rwanda and Poland. Dealing with the infernalisation of the body, which eventually becomes a form of physical control, this comparative work examines the development of groups and communities of killers in their particular social and historical context. Different sources are used, such as academic works, reports from victims organisations and non-governmental organisations, books, testimonies and film documentaries.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

. The topic was thrust upon me by events in Rwanda in 1994. As a teenage, second-generation Rwandan immigrant in Belgium, I was more personally affected than fellow classmates by the hypocrisy of the international community: the preaching of respect for human rights, followed by their omission during one hundred days of mass murder before the eyes of the world. It felt like there was more to the story than ‘good intentions versus regrettable outcomes’. Ever since, I have worried about the content and purpose of (Western) humanitarian research agendas

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

The after-effects of mass atrocity – bodies and bones – struggle to be defined within memorial projects. This article seeks to examine the politics at play in displaying dead bodies to interrogate the role of materiality in efforts to memorialise and raise awareness about on-going violences. It focusses on the nexus between evidence, dignity, humanity and memory to explore bone display in Rwanda. It then takes up two artistic projects that play on the materiality of human remains after atrocity: the art of Carl Michael von Hausswolff, who took ashes from an urn at the Majdanek concentration camp and used them as the material for his painting, and the One Million Bones Project, an installation that exhibits ceramic bones to raise awareness about global violence. In thinking about the intersections between human biomatter, art and politics, the article seeks to raise questions about both production and consumption: how bones and ashes of the dead are produced, and how they are consumed by viewers when placed on display in a variety of ways.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

which they won’t be able to operate, and more in which they will be able to operate but with less independence. The reality, though, is that things were headed in this direction anyway. The horrendous risk to humanitarian staff that now exists in war zones such as Syria has seen to that, as has an older phenomenon of strong regimes in the Global South unwilling to let NGOs operate without their nihil obstat . This dates back at least to the coming to power of Paul Kagame in Rwanda in 1994; and it was most flagrant in the curbs on the public

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

, Rwanda and the entire Great Lakes region of Africa became particularly high-risk areas for aid workers. It was during the intervention in Somalia in 1992 that the interface between security, operational procedures and humanitarian principles became central for MdM. The political and security climate at the time confined NGOs to urban centres across Somalia, while the looting of humanitarian convoys by armed men on the main roads made regular aid delivery to the IDP (internally displaced person) camps difficult. Was armed protection necessary to ensure access to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

Tutsi genocide. The mass killings in Bosnia and Rwanda – coming on the heels of the Somali and Liberian civil wars – created a landscape of widespread violence, ‘anarchic conflicts’ in which not even humanitarian workers or journalists were safe. People stressed the contrast with earlier conflicts, which were kept in check by the superpowers, making the combatants accessible, at least in theory, to humanitarian efforts. ‘Civilians are not simply the victims of conflicts, they are the very target of conflicts; this is a significant change, at least with regard to the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Methodological approaches

Mass violence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth century, which some have even called the 'century of genocides'. The study of how the dead body is treated can lead us to an understanding of the impact of mass violence on contemporary societies. Corpses of mass violence and genocide, especially when viewed from a biopolitical perspective, force one to focus on the structures of the relations between all that participates in the enfolding case study. Argentina is an extraordinary laboratory in the domain of struggle against impunity and of 'restoration of the truth'. It constitutes a useful paradigm in the context of reflection on the corpses of mass violence. Its special character, in the immediate aftermath of the military dictatorship, is to test almost the entirety of juridical mechanisms in the handling of state crimes. The trigger for both the intercommunal violence and the civil war was the mass murders by the Ustaša. This book discusses the massacres carried out by the Ustaša in Croatia during the Second World War. After a brief presentation of the historical background, the massacres carried out by the Ustaša militia and their corpse disposal methods are described. Using Rwanda as a case study, the book proposes an agenda for ethnographic research to explore the relationship between concealment and display in contexts of genocide. This relationship is explored in detail after a discussion of the historical background to the 1994 genocide.

The disposal of bodies in the 1994 Rwandan genocide

8 Display, concealment and ‘culture’: the disposal of bodies in the 1994 Rwandan genocide Nigel Eltringham Introduction In their ethnography of violent conflict, ‘cultures of terror’ 1 and genocide, anthropologists have recognized that violence is discursive. The victim’s body is a key vehicle of that discourse. In contexts of inter-ethnic violence, for example, ante-mortem degradation and/or post-mortem mutilation are employed to transform the victim’s body into a representative example of the ethnic category, the manipulation of the body enabling the

in Human remains and mass violence
Open Access (free)
The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda

9 Bury or display? The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda Rémi Korman The practices and techniques employed by forensic anthropologists in the scientific documentation of human rights violations, and situations of mass murder and genocide in particular, have developed enormously since the early 1990s.1 The best-known case studies concern Latin American countries which suffered under the dictatorships of the 1970s–1980s, Franco’s Spain, and Bosnia. In Rwanda, the first forensic study of a large-scale massacre was carried out one year before the

in Human remains and identification