We the People 67
Mixed Media on paper
Alan Elsner: How would you describe the events taking place in Rwanda?
Christine Shelly: Based on the evidence we have seen from observations on the ground, we have every reason to believe that acts of genocide have been committed in Rwanda.
Elsner: What’s the difference between “acts of genocide” and genocide?
Shelly: As you know, there is a legal definition of this. There has been a lot of discussion about how the definition applies under the definition of genocide contained in the 1948 convention. If you’re looking at that for your determination about genocide, clearly not all the killings that have taken place in Rwanda are killings to which you might apply that label…
Elsner: How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?
Shelly: Alan, that’s just not a question that I’m in a position to answer.
Elsner: Well, is it true that you have specific guidance not to use the word “genocide” in isolation, but always to preface it with these words “acts of”?
Shelly: I have guidance which, which, to which I – which I try to use as best as I can. I’m not – I have – there are formulations that we are using that we are trying to be consistent in our use of. I don’t have an absolute categorical prescription against something, but I have definitions. I have phraseology which has been carefully examined and arrived at as best we can apply to exactly the situation and the actions which have taken place.
Christine Shelly, State Department Spokeswoman, and Alan Elsner of Reuters