The Security Council has voted unanimously to establish a United Nations medal for "exceptional courage."

The award will be created in the name of an unarmed UN peacekeeper from Senegal who lost his life after saving hundreds of Rwandans from death in the 1994 genocide. The decision led Rwanda's UN envoy to break down in tears in the council chamber.

Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana called Captain Mbaye Diagne "a hero" who went against orders to save lives during the 100-day slaughter in which more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutu's were killed by Hutu extremists.

"In the face of evil, he refused to be a bystander," Gasana said Thursday. "Armed only with courage and a sense of responsibility Captain Diagne decided to conduct several missions ... to save hundreds, maybe a thousand Rwandans."