Paul Kagame is the current President of Rwanda having taken office in 2000 when his predecessor, Pasteur Bizimungu, resigned. Kagame previously commanded the rebel force that ended the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. He was considered Rwanda's de facto leader when he served as Vice President and Minister of Defence from 1994 to 2000.
Kagame was born to a Tutsi family in southern Rwanda. His mother was younger sister to King Ndahindurwa's wife. When he was two years old, the Rwandan Revolution ended centuries of Tutsi political dominance; his family fled to Uganda, where he spent the rest of his childhood. In the 1980s, Kagame fought in Yoweri Museveni's rebel army, becoming a senior Ugandan army officer after Museveni's military victories carried him to the Ugandan presidency. Kagame joined the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which invaded Rwanda in 1990; leader Fred Rwigyema died early in the war and Kagame took control. By 1993, the RPF controlled significant territory in Rwanda and a ceasefire was negotiated. The assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana was the starting point of the genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed a little more than a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu combined. Kagame resumed the civil war, and ended the genocide with a military victory.