Map showing Butare Province
was a province (prefecture
Rwanda prior to its dissolution in January 2006. Butare city is the
second largest city in Rwanda and one of
the nation's former twelve provinces. It is located in
south-central region of the country and borders Burundi to the
It had a population of 77.449 as of January
situated in the south west of the country and bordered Burundi.
geography was in keeping with most of the rest of Rwanda, and was
hilly compared to surrounding Tanzania, but not as mountainous as
the North of Rwanda.
testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda (ICTR) investigating the 1994
Rwandan Genocide, expert André Guichaoua referred to Butare as
the "rebel province."
Butare was the only prefecture to be
run by a Tutsi
, Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana
actively opposed the genocide. Because it had a large Tutsi
minority, prefectural politics were dominated by the Parti Social Démocrate
rather than the
Mouvement Républicain National pour la Démocratie et le
(MRND), from which the genocidal Interahamwe
drew recruits. The Interahamwe in
Butare were thus less numerous and less organized than their
counterparts in the rest of country. When the country erupted into
bloodshed following the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana
(no relation to the
governor) on 6 April 1994
, only Butare was untouched, with the notable
exception of the Nyakizu
Tutsis who fled the violence in other parts of country found haven
The calm lasted two weeks. Interim President Théodore Sindikubwabo
, himself a
native of Butare, appointed a new governor on 19 April
in a ceremony in the prefectural capital.
Governor Habyarimana was shortly thereafter arrested and killed.
One of the next to die was former Queen Rosalie Gicanda
, described by
the ICTR prosecution as "a historical symbol for all Tutsi".
Paramilitary units and Interahamwe were then
airlifted from Kigali, signaling
the start of the killing.
It has been suggested that the
government leadership were particularly
concerned about Butare because so many of them were natives;
besides Sindikubwabo, Prime Minister Jean
(the first person convicted by the ICTR), General
(head of the Gendarmie), and Pauline Nyiramasuhuko
, the minister of
women and family affairs were all born in Butare. Despite the fact
that the genocide was delayed two weeks, 220,000 would be killed.
This is more than 20% of the total and the highest by far of any