Juvénal Habyarimana (March 8, 1937 - April 6, 1994) was president of Rwanda from 1973 until his death in 1994. While serving as defense minister, he overthrew his cousin Grégoire Kayibanda on July 5, 1973. During his 20-year dictatorship he favored his own ethnic group, the Hutus, and supported the Hutu majority in neighboring Burundi against the Tutsi government. In the early 1990s a rebellion against the Rwandan government began when rebels from the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a mostly Tutsi group, crossed the border from Uganda.
Habyarimana was killed in a plane crash along with the president of Burundi on April 6, 1994. The plane was most likely shot down. Hutus who believed that Habyarimana's government had been too moderate took over the government and began a genocide against Tutsis.
Within four months, 800,000 Rwandans were massacred, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The international community failed to act, since Rwanda was not on their interest sheet. Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire warned the United Nations and the international community that a genocide was inevitable and asked for permission to act, but his demands were refused. He still maintains that if he had 3,000 more men on the ground, he would have stopped the catastrophe.