Studying the Microdynamics of the Rwandan Genocide

A.L. Smeulers, L. Hoex

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 stands out for the enormous number of people killed in a relatively short period of time; the mass involvement of the civilian population and the extreme and violent nature of the killings: victims were hunted down, beaten, raped and mutilated before being killed by machetes. This article describes how, within a politically explosive situation, many otherwise non-violent and law-abiding citizens became involved in genocide. It also explains how it was social interaction - rather than pure ethnic hatred - between various types of perpetrators and group dynamics, in which some fanatics managed to induce and force many others to join in, that were instrumental in the genocidal process in Rwanda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-454
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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