We Could Have Saved 300,000 Lives in Rwanda:Bill Clinton

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton admitted that if the U.S. had gone into Rwanda sooner following the start of the 1994 genocide, at least a third or roughly 300,000 lives could have been saved.

Speaking to CNBC Meets‘ Tania Bryer, Clinton explained that the failure of his administration to act during the genocide, which claimed the lives of around a million Rwandans, was one of the reasons behind the establishment of the Clinton Foundation.

“If we’d gone in sooner, I believe we could have saved at least a third of the lives that were lost…it had an enduring impact on me.”

While Clinton added that the U.S. didn’t have the same presence in Africa in 1994 that it does now, if he had sent around 10,000 troops into the country thousands of lives could have been spared.

In the 19 years since the atrocities, many historians and analysts have criticized the inactivity of the U.S. and other Western nations for not supporting the small UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda at the time.

Classified documents released in 2004 revealed that the Clinton administration knew of a “final solution to eliminate all Tutsis” well in advance of the genocide.

In a reference to the tribal tensions between the Hutus and Tutsis that were at the center of the genocide, Clinton explained the Foundation’s goals: “I want people to revel in our diversity and respect it without thinking that we have to refer to each other in negative terms. That is, I can be proud of my heritage without dismissing yours.”

Clinton said he was proud of other international efforts during his eight-year presidency between 1993 and 2001, including peace efforts in the Middle East which culminated in the 1993 Oslo Accords and the Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement, as well as the resolution of the Bosnian War.

“We tried to pull the world together. I think that’s a good model for America’s world today…Make it work for everybody, prove what the role of government is, and then just try to keep pulling things together by building new networks,” he said. “You can’t stop every bad thing from happening.”

The full interview with President Bill Clinton can be seen on CNBC Meets on March 20.


  1. Thank you journalist to remind us about Clinton and kagame friendship during rwandan genocide and after it to date.
    Is Mr. Clinton cares only about the rwandan(Tutsi) died in 1994 only,those ones died after(Hutu) 1994 aren’t rwandan? I mean Hutu killed by RPA in displaced internal camps(Kibeho with Ibingira) and in external camps(DRC-Zaire) in 1996 to date.
    All Rwandan must know that Mr.Clinton is a freind of only Kagame and his group for business(mineral ressources from Congo)only.
    God bless the Rwandan.

  2. Clinton and Bush before him knew about the Hutu / Tutsi conflict behind the war, but they supported RPF anyway without caring for establishing true democracy, justice, truth, protection of history, etc. Had American leaders acted in favour of peaceful resolution of the conflict in the whole region, had the US been impartial, had they supported the civil opposition parties in their legitimate endeavours of democratizing the country instead of supporting Kagame’s RPF, then surely the genocide wouldn’t have taken place and both corrupt leaders of MRND and CDR and RPF warlords wouldn’t have massacred millions of Rwandans.

    Is the US now recognizing they made the wrong move? I hope so, cause DRC is suffering from American poor choices of how and by whom the region should be led!

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