"I think the idea of genocide germinated in 1959, when we killed lots of Tutsis without being punished, and we never repressed it after that… We told ourselves that the Tutsis were in the way, but this idea was not always in our thoughts. We talked about it, we forgot about it, we waited. We heard no protests about our murders. As with farm work, we waited for the right season. The death of our president was the signal for the final chaos. But as with a harvest, the seed was planted before.
"One year was calm, one year was hot… we usually observed certain priorities: teachers and the owners of choice plots of land sat high on the list. One year, for example, we pushed hundreds of Tutsis alive into the bog at Urwabaynanga; another year we launched bloody raids in classrooms. We might leave a few bodies beside the road ... to show what was on our minds.
Those killings were not premeditated... but still they went unpunished. They were, in a way, groundwork for the future."
From A time for machetes. The killers speak by Jean Hatzfeld
By 1994 the de-humanisation was complete
The Tutsi in Rwanda were “socially dead”. Their murder was acceptable.
Meanwhile, other countries were putting pressure on the Hutu regime to become more democratic: to share power with other groups including the Tutsi RPF, and to organise free elections.
Privately, President Habyarimana continued to finance the interahamwe - the extremist civilian Hutu militia. But publicly he was forced to compromise and negotiate with the opposition, and this was his downfall. The extremists who had grown rich were not about to give up their privileged positions.
6th April 1994: President's jet shot down