Dutch court sentences Rwandan to life

20 July 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

The Appeals Court in The Hague on 7 July sentenced Joseph Mpambara to life imprisonment for war crimes committed during the genocide in Rwanda. 

“You were at the forefront during the attack on the Seventh Day Adventist Complex. You and others shot these people, and attacked them with machetes, clubs and other weapons. Many hundreds of victims were massacred and wounded. “

Presiding judge Raoul Dekkers told Mpambara that he had acted in a “genocidal pattern”. Tutsi civilians were attacked in Muganero, in western Rwanda. The only possible punishment is life, the judge and his two colleagues decided.

The 43-year-old Rwandan was also convicted of an attack on an ambulance containing fleeing Tutsis. Two women and their children were so violently beaten with sticks and machetes that they later died. He was also found guilty of threatening of a German doctor and his Tutsi wife.

The court, however, found him not guilty of two counts of rape.

The court considered the facts of the case to be among the most serious crimes judged by a Dutch criminal court since the Second World War, and that the sentence for such crimes must send a signal of deterrence.

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