Alison Des Forges, a historian by training, was drawn into human rights work when colleagues and friends in Rwanda and Burundi—her area of specialization—began suffering discrimination, harassment, and some of them death at the hands of repressive governments. With the Rwandan genocide in 1994, she left academic life to work full-time in the defense of human rights. She provided authoritative analyses based on wide contacts and extensive field work in the region. Des Forges’ research on the genocide drew from an analysis of government documents as well as extensive interviews with survivors and accused killers. In 1999, her work resulted in the book Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda, a meticulously detailed description of the organization of the campaign that killed some half million Tutsi. The book also analyzes the failure of the international community to intervene in the genocide. The MacArthur Foundation recognized her work with a “genius” grant in 1999. Des Forges was senior advisor for the Africa division at Human Rights Watch. She provided documents, advice, and expert testimony to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and to national courts in Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, and the U.S. She also testified about the genocide and the current situation in Central Africa in the U.S. Congress, the Belgian Senate, and the French National Assembly. Alison Des Forges died on February 12, 2009.