Leadership in War and Genocide: Roméo Dallaire in Rwanda

  • Michael GeheranEmail author
  • David Frey


Throughout history, the ethical application of violence, in tandem with an institutional culture that emphasizes obedience and authority, forces officers to confront moral dilemmas that are unique to the military profession, putting soldiers under stress which civilians may find difficult to imagine. Deployments to combat zones create unparalleled levels of fear, stress, and uncertainty, thrusting troops into sometimes daily confrontations with life-or-death situations. In such highly ambiguous environments, a leader’s character—who they are morally and ethically as a person—has a significant impact on their decision-making and the choices they make under duress. Supported by an extensive body of recently declassified source material from the UN Archives in New York, this study examines the actions of Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, force commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), during the Rwandan genocide. It argues that character is a central element in preparing leaders to lead under extreme conditions when they encounter the unforeseen.


Rwanda Dallaire Hutu Tutsi Genocide Character 

List of Abbreviations


Department of Peacekeeping Operations (United Nations)


Forces Armées Rwandaises


Front du liberation du Quebec


Humanitarian Protection Zone

Lt Gen

Lieutenant General


Major General


Mouvement Revolutionnaire Nationale pour le Development


Rules of Engagement


Rwandan Patriotic Front


United Nations


United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda


United Nations Civilian Police


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Military AcademyWest PointUSA

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