This article discusses three different forms of genocide denial that have—broadly speaking—followed one another in post-genocide Rwanda since 1994. Genocide denial is considered a stage of genocide, and each of these three forms of genocide denial is outlined, drawing on the seminal study on denial of Stanley Cohen. The article suggests that collective denial such as genocide denial should be distinguished analytically from more everyday forms of denial of atrocities and suffering. Three types of genocide denial—literal, interpretative, and implicatory—are identified and related to particular phases in post-genocide Rwandan history. It is shown that denial of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda has been intertwined with post-genocide debates around fundamental causes and triggers of genocide. The article concludes with some reflections on instruments used by the Rwandan government to combat genocide denial, reflecting on the polarization of public and scholarly opinion on Rwanda’s recent past.

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Keywords Genocide, Genocide denial, Implicatory, Interpretative, Literal, Rwanda
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.3138/GSI.13.2.02, hdl.handle.net/1765/130362
Journal Genocide Studies International
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Citation
Hintjens, H.M, & van Oijen, J. (Jos). (2019). Elementary forms of collective denial: The 1994 rwanda genocide. Genocide Studies International (Vol. 13, pp. 146–167). doi:10.3138/GSI.13.2.02