Dutch Appeals court sentences Joseph Mpambara to life in prison 08 Jul 2011
The former Interahamwe member is convicted on charges relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Joseph Mpambara was a member of the notorious Interahamwe militia, who had killed thousands of Tutsis during the 100 day genocide. He was arrested in Amsterdam in 2006, having arrived in the Netherlands in 1998 with a fake passport, seeking asylum. He claimed that after testifying in his brother’s defence at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, he feared for his life. His brother, Obed Rizundana, was found guilty of genocide and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1999.

On Thursday Mpambara was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the genocide.  The decision was the result of an appeal of his 2009 conviction for torture, when he was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Dutch national court, with the support of the ICTY. This conviction was upheld, in addition to new convictions for additional war crimes for which he had been previously acquitted, on the basis that his actions were not linked to the genocide. However, the appeals court found that idea “total unbelievable” and ruled that he must have been aware of the killings around him.

Mpambara was found guilty of attacking the Seventh Day Adventist church, when hundreds of people were massacred, in addition to the charges of kidnapping, torturing and murdering  two women and their four children. He was also found guilty of attacking an ambulance and threatening a German doctor, his Tutsi wife and their baby. He was, however, found not guilty on two rape charges.

The presiding judge, Raoul Dekkers, told Mpambara that he had acted in a genocidal manner and therefore life in prison was the only possible punishment.

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