Rwandan given 20 year jail term for crimes during genocide

24th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

The defendant was the first Rwandan to be condemned in the Netherlands for crimes during the genocide in which 800,000 Tutis and moderate Hutus died.

The Hague -- A court in The Hague on Monday sentenced a Rwandan man to 20 years in prison for torturing to death two women and their four children during the 1994 genocide in his country.

The prosecution had called for a life sentence.

An appeal court had previously ruled he could not face charges of genocide in the absence of sufficient evidence.

Joseph Mpambara, 40, was tried in the Netherlands as part of an agreement between several European countries and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) under which they try genocide suspects in their national courts.

He was the first Rwandan to be condemned in the Netherlands for crimes during the genocide in which 800,000 Tutis and moderate Hutus died, according to United Nations estimates.

Mpambara, the son of a wealthy family, had been living in the Netherlands since 1998 although his request for asylum was refused. The Dutch authorities detained him in 2006.

His trial lasted from October 2008 to March 9 this year.

In April 1994 he halted an ambulance carrying the two women and the four children who were then beaten with clubs and hacked to death with machetes. He was also found guilty of detaining a Rwandan-German couple and their baby for several hours and threatening the wife, a Tutsi.

He was acquitted on charges of raping four women, attacking a protestant church where Tutsis had sought shelter, and kidnapping three children.

His brother was given a 25 year sentences for crimes against humanity by the ICTR in Arusha and his sister a life sentence by a Rwandan court for taking part in genocide, according to Dutch officials.

AFP/Expatica

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