Rwandan Gets Life Sentence in 1994 Massacre

Hague court rules he took part in Hutu slaughter of Tutsis
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2011 1:12 PM CDT
Dutch Court Hands Down Life Sentence for Rwandan's Involvement in 1994 Genocide
In this 2009 photo, skulls and bones from some of the estimated 10,000 Tutsis killed in a two-day massacre are displayed.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

(Newser) – A Dutch appeals court has convicted a Rwandan Hutu man of war crimes and sentenced him to life in prison for taking part in a massacre of Tutsis sheltering in a church during his country's 1994 genocide. The Hague Court of Appeal reversed Joseph Mpambara's acquittal by a lower court, saying his offenses were "among the most serious crimes judged by a Dutch criminal court since the Second World War."

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Though it acquitted him on the massacre, the lower court had sentenced Mpambara to 20 years after convicting him of torture for his involvement in the slaying of two Tutsi mothers and at least four of their children who were hauled out of an ambulance. The appellate panel's written ruling said the life sentence "should act as an international deterrent." The judges said there was sufficient evidence to convict him on charges that he took part in the massacre in which victims "were almost literally butchered" by a mob of machete-wielding Hutus. (Read more Rwanda stories.)

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