There has been a significant increase in psychosocial interventions in the aftermath of ethno-political violence. This paper critically examines the contribution of psychosocial interventions to the broader development agenda of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Using Rwanda as an example, we undertake a brief psychologically informed analysis of the factors that contributed to genocide, as a means of outlining the political and cultural context in which psychosocial interventions operate. During the violence, ethnicity was politically mobilized, communities polarized, and social networks fragmented. An analysis of psychosocial interventions for children demonstrates that the implications of social power and status are seldom examined before reintegration and community-based psychosocial interventions are implemented. We explore the potential impact of a narrow focus on victims and survivors on societal rehabilitation, and reflect on the implications of how 'trauma'-a dominant discourse-may be appropriated and politicized as a symbol of genocide and political legitimacy. The paper concludes with an analysis of what a human rights framework can contribute to linking psychosocial work more centrally to broader political and development analysis.