The refugee camps that formed on Rwanda’s western border with Zaire in the wake of the 1994 genocide were a horrific problem for the international community and for the new Rwandan government. The scale of the humanitarian crisis was inconceivable yet the camps were a safe haven for the very people who had committed the genocide. The Rwandan government wanted to disperse the camps and thousands of refugees fled west into Zaire. The UNHCR began a massive airlift to repatriate the refugees.
The images here were made at the airport in Kigali as returnees arrived and were screened by government repatriation officials and then transported to interim camps. Among the crowds of unaccompanied children and sick, exhausted women were many relatively healthy young men, some certainly members of Hutu extremist groups. In these faces you could see the eyes of the Interahamwe, those who had committed genocide.