FONDATION HIRONDELLE – HIRONDELLE NEWS AGENCY IN ARUSHA
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA
1994 GENOCIDE: RWANDAN IMPRISONED FOR 20 YEARS IN NETHERLANDS
The Hague, 24 March 2009 (FH) – A court in The Hague Monday sentenced a Rwandan, Joseph Mpambara, a former Interahamwe member, to 20 years imprisonment for his role in killing two Tutsi mothers and at least four children during 1994 genocide.
Mpambara was also convicted of torturing a German doctor, his Tutsi wife and their two-month-old son by threatening their lives after detaining them at a roadblock, in his native Mugonero, as they tried to leave the country.
Mpambara, 40, a Hutu, was, however, acquitted of involvement in the massacre of hundreds of Tutsis hiding in the complex of the Seventh Day Adventists, of raping four women and killing one woman in a separate incident.
The judges, according to the Associated Press, told Mpambara, that “a sentence of 20 years does not do justice to the seriousness of your crimes”. However, the judges refrained from imposing a life sentence, as requested by the public prosecutor.
Mpambara was an Interahamwe member, armed wing of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), during the 1994 genocide committed against Tutsis.
Mpambara was a refugee in the Netherlands and had requested asylum in 1998. However, his application was denied because Dutch immigration officials suspected that he had been involved in the Rwandan genocide. He was arrested in 2006 following an arrest warrant issued under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Under the Dutch law of universal jurisdiction, Mpambara could be tried in the country because he was in the Netherlands at the time of his arrest.
The Netherlands are part of the countries which, along with Belgium and France, agreed to try on their soil individuals prosecuted by the ICTR and transferred, within the framework of the completion strategy, to national courts.
But the impossibility of prosecuting Rwandan individuals under the count of genocide in The Netherlands comes largely from this procedure. The Netherlands had in the past refused to try Michel Bagaragaza, who has since been transferred to Arusha where he awaits to be tried by the ICTR.
© Hirondelle News Agency