Humanitarianism and politics: the dangers of contrived separation

Humanitarianism and politics are more often than not considered distinct despite the increasing complexity of contemporary conflict. In some cases the separation is pushed too far and leads to unintended consequences. This article highlights the specifics of the flight of one renegade soldier and some 300 of his men to Rwanda, while the international community was plotting the road map for an ideal solution that everybody could have signed up to. This did not happen, and the article studies what caused the relevant parties to forfeit such a solution and makes recommendations for how to improve coordination and complementarity in international operations involving a range of actors.