July 1990 President Juvenal Habyarimana announces Rwanda will make the transition to a multi-party democracy. Previously, all political power had been concentrated in his party, the Mouvement Revolutionnaire National pour le Development (MRND).
October 1990 Members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), based outside of the country in northern Uganda, invade Rwanda because of their objection to the slow pace of governmental reforms. A ceasefire under the Arusha Peace Accords is brokered in 1993, temporarily ending the civil war.
April 1994 President Habyarimana's plane is shot down, killing both him and the president of Burundi. Almost immediately, militant groups called the Interahamwe begin a systematic massacre of Tutsis, the minority ethnic group in Rwanda.
June 1994 A French peacekeeping mission lands in Goma, DRC, and deploys throughout southern Rwanda, creating a safe haven for displaced peoples called the 'Zone Turquoise.'
July 1994 The RPF, battling its way up from the south, finally takes the city of Kigali, defeating the Rwandan Army. This effectively ends the genocide. Over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus have been murdered. Two million Tutsis flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Following its victory, the RPF outlaws the MRND party and creates its own coalition government, called the Transitional Government of National Unity. This power-sharing government is in accordance with the 1993 Arusha agreement. Pasteur Bizimungu serves as President, though most power is in the hands of his Vice President, Paul Kagame.
November 1994 The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is created as a branch of the UN to prosecute leaders and perpetrators of genocide. It will be based in Arusha, Tanzania. The sentencing begins in early 1995. To date, the tribunal has made 79 arrests, and has completed 45 cases.
April 1995 A government Tutsi-led militia enters a Hutu refugee camp called Kibeho and kills over 2000 Hutus; many are women, children, and innocent civilians. The government defends the operation by claiming Hutu war criminals are taking refuge in the camp, and attempting to attract recruits.
January 1997 Directly before the ICTR's first genocidal trial, the tribunal is dogged by accusations of corruption and mismanagement. Multiple allegations state that members of the tribunal (though none of the judges) have irresponsibly given positions to unqualified relatives, discriminated against non-Africans, and have used tribunal property inappropriately (such as taking the private jet for private use).
March 2000 Members of parliament select Paul Kagame of the RPF to serve as president after President Pasteur Bizimungu resigns.
October 2001 Approximately 11,000 local grass roots courts, together named the Gacaca, are created to try war criminals domestically.
April 2002 Former president Pasteur Bizimungu is arrested and accused of illegal political activity, inciting violence, and embezzlement. His arrest and sentencing to 15 years in prison come just as he had begun to form an opposition political party. He is granted a presidential pardon and is released in April 2007.
July 2002 A ceasefire is signed between Rwanda and the DRC, ending the feud between the nations over the fate of refugee Hutu populations living in asylum in the DRC since the end of the 1994 genocide. The ceasefire stipulates that Rwanda will withdraws its troops and in return, the DRC promises to make efforts to disarm the militant Hutu bands (most notably the FDLR) roaming the eastern part of the country.
November 2002 A newly passed bill allows for private radio and television broadcasting stations, yet the government needs to approve the application. Some allege that the broadcast licensing fees are priced at an excessively high rate, making it all but impossible to garner a license.
May 2003 A new constitution is drafted that makes incitement of racial or ethnic hatred illegal.
August 2003 Paul Kagame wins the first presidential election since the 1994 genocide. His election marks the end of the Transitional Government of National Unity. He wins with 95 percent of the vote.
October 2003 Rwanda holds its first legislative elections. Outside observers, including the EU, note many instances of irregularities and fraud.
December 2003 The founder and owner of the radio station, Radio Tele Libre Mille Collines (RTLM) the station that broadcast messages inciting Hutus to massacre Tutsis during the 1994 genocide - are both sentenced to life by the Hague. Former editor of the
February 2004 Radio 10, the first privately owned radio broadcasting station since the genocide, begins broadcasting.
As stipulated in the new constitution, all Rwandan public officials are required to declare their wealth publicly.
June 2004 Rwanda's last independent human rights organization, LIPRODHOR, is effectively shut down by the government when its assets are frozen. A report published earlier in the month by Commission on Genocide Ideology singled out LIPRODHOR as an example of a civil society organization with traces of ethnic division. However, Front Line suggests the government was threatened by LIPRODHOR's independence and success at drumming up popular support.
July 2004 All 503 members of the Rwandan judiciary are fired, and the government appoints new officials. The government justifies its actions by claiming the judiciary system is overset with corruption, and that this measure is a way of sweeping clean all incompetence in the sector.
October 2004 The Radio France International (RFI) correspondent for Rwanda, Sonia Rolley, is deported from Rwanda and offered no explanation. Rolley held an official media accreditation from the Rwandan government.
November 2004 Charles Kabonero, the editor of a private newspaper, is arrested on charges of criminal libel for his story on the alleged corruption of the vice president of the lower house. His conviction is later overturned.
Late 2005 Modifications are made to the 2002 Press Law. Publishers and vendors of news media are no longer subject to criminal libel laws (yet journalists still are), and judges are no longer required to impose maximum sentences on journalists accused of malpractice.
August 2005 A journalist writing for the independently owned Umuco, Jean-Léonard Rugambage, is arrested and detained by a Gacaca. He is accused of participating in the genocide. The Committee to Protect Journalists, however, is suspicious, noting that a week prior to his arrest, Rugambage had published a report on corruption and false accusations for political means within the Gacaca.
January 2006 The government of Rwanda re-draws provincial and regional lines in an attempt to diffuse ethnic tension.
November 2006 Rwanda cuts off diplomatic ties with France, after a French judge issues an international warrant for the arrest of President Kagame for his alleged involvement in the shooting down of President Habyarimana's plane in 1994.
July 2007 Rwanda and Burundi join the East African Community. This further illustrates Rwanda's intention to move toward English as a primary language, as opposed to French.
February 2007 Eight thousand prisoners charged with genocide-related crimes are released. This brings the total of freed prisoners in a four-year period to 60,000, in an effort to ease over-crowding in Rwandan prisons.
June 2007 The Weekly Post, a privately owned independent newspaper, is closed by the government without a trial, as stipulated by Rwandan law. It is the second paper, after the Afrique Libération, to be shut down this year.
November 2007 Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC sign the Nairobi Peace Pact, formalizing their intention to eliminate roaming militant organizations in the Great Lakes region.
The government fires 63 police officers due to corruption allegations. Their names are published in the pro-government newspaper The New Times.
March 2008 The editor of Umoco, Bonaventure Bizumuremyi, writes an editorial stating that President Kagame's 'days are numbered,' suggesting that the president will be tried by the ICTR for war crimes. Bizumuremyi is forced to flee the country and close his paper due to backlash from the article.
August 2008 The Rwandan government publishes a report accusing French officials of taking part in the 1994 genocide, a charge the French government deems preposterous and verily false.
November 2008 Rwanda expels the German ambassador after the German government detains Rose Kabuye, an aide to the president, for her involvement in Habyarimana's plane crash.
September 2008 The Chamber of Deputies, half of Rwanda's bicameral legislative branch, holds elections. The RPF does well, winning the majority of seats.
January 2009 Rwandan forces enter the DRC once again to attack the members of the FDLR; Rwandan troops withdraw five weeks later. The two countries then announce the launching of Operation 'Umoja Wetu' (meaning Our Unity). The two nations formalize their agreement to jointly fight and disarm the FDLR groups roaming eastern Congo.
Rwanda arrests Laurent Nkunda, one of the DRC's most notorious warlords. He is the head of the dominantly Tutsi National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP - Congrès national pour la défense du peuple). Kagame had previously been chastised by the UN and other donor agencies for his indirect support of the CNDP.
May 2009 A new media bill is amended after President Kagame rejects the initial bill passed in February. Many protested that it did not include several important clauses: defamation, which remains a criminal offence, and training requirements that compromise diversity in the field of journalism. Kagame responds positively to the training issue, but libel remains a criminal offence. The bill also requires journalists to name their sources.
July 2009 The ICTR sentences Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho to life imprisonment for his role in the 1994 genocide. Renzaho was mayor of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, during the genocide.
August 2009 President Kagame and President Kabila of the DRC meet at a summit near the border between their prospective countries to begin a diplomatic discussion on ending the war in eastern Congo.