Hutu convicted in Dutch court for 1994 Tutsi killingsMarch 24, 2009 # 8:12 am # Armed Conflict, Human Rights # No Comment
A Dutch court Monday convicted a former Rwandan Hutu for the 1994 killing of two Tutsi mothers and at least four of their children. Joseph Mpambara [TrialWatch profile], who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the killings, was allegedly a member of the Interahamwe [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], an extremist Hutu militia that was responsible for the deaths of thousands of ethnic Tutsi during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder]. Mpambara was tried in the Dutch national court under an agreement with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive], as Mpambara had lived in the Netherlands since 1998. Mpambara was also convicted [AP report] of torturing a German-Rwandan couple and their child at a Hutu roadblock. Mpambara is the brother of Obed Ruzindana [TrialWatch profile] who was sentenced by the ICTR to 25 years imprisonment in 1999 on charges of genocide.
The ICTR has made significant progress towards fulfilling its mandate of investigating and prosecuting humanitarian crimes arising from the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The ICTR’s success prompted the US State Department to praise [JURIST report] the court’s work in its most recent human rights report, released on in late February. Also in February, the ICTR sentenced [JURIST report] former priest and military chaplain Emmanuel Rukundo [case materials] to 25 years imprisonment after convicting [press release] him of genocide, crimes against humanity, and sexual assault. The contempt trial against a former ICTR defense investigator began earlier in February. In January, a former Rwandan justice official was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST reports] for his role in the 1994 genocide. Under UN Security Council Resolution 1503 (2003) [PDF text], it was supposed to complete all trials by the end of the year, and to complete all of its work, including appellate review, by 2010. In June 2008, however, the ICTR prosecutor asked the Council [JURIST report] to extend the ICTR’s mandate, noting that the recent arrests of several genocide suspects meant that the court would not have time to finish several first-instance cases until 2009.