Justice delayed is justice denied

Rwanda cautiously welcomes the outcome of the case in which genocide fugitive Joseph Mpambara has at last been brought to book. Mpambara was charged 20 years imprisonment by a Dutch court for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Gruesome details of the case reveal that Mpambara callously ordered the killing of two Tutsi mothers and their children. It is however heart-rending to measure what could seemingly be a just sentence for such an offence against those who authored and carried out this heinous act. In this regard, certain commentators contend that though justice seems to have been meted out, it is a matter of too little too late. In that light the Dutch prosecution ought to appeal against this sentence to pave way for a more appropriate conviction against the accused. Mpambara was indeed told in his face by the judges that 20 years was a rather light sentence taken against the exact nature of the crimes he committed.

Rwanda cautiously welcomes the outcome of the case in which genocide fugitive Joseph Mpambara has at last been brought to book.

Mpambara was charged 20 years imprisonment by a Dutch court for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Gruesome details of the case reveal that Mpambara callously ordered the killing of two Tutsi mothers and their children.

It is however heart-rending to measure what could seemingly be a just sentence for such an offence against those who authored and carried out this heinous act.

In this regard, certain commentators contend that though justice seems to have been meted out, it is a matter of too little too late.

In that light the Dutch prosecution ought to appeal against this sentence to pave way for a more appropriate conviction against the accused.

Mpambara was indeed told in his face by the judges that 20 years was a rather light sentence taken against the exact nature of the crimes he committed.

Mpambara’s case however puts the European justice system under scrutiny, on its ability to deliver justice for crimes against humanity many in the western world have branded the worst ever.

It is not just about shedding tears for Rwandans who lost loved ones but also laying to rest the ghosts of the past by delivering proper justice.

Thus, to dispense the much-needed justice especially to the survivors of the Genocide, a loud call is here-by thrust upon other countries that remain a den for the genocidaires to follow the Dutch example; arrest and try or extradite those fugitives in their countries as some of them are freely roaming certain western capitals.

That these genocide fugitives have found a safe haven in European capitals, is a disservice to the whole justice cause, applied selectively, depending on the whims of the capital a particular suspect is in.

For instance, Mpambara stayed in Europe and specifically in the Netherlands for quite some time before he was apprehended.

As Rwandans make preparations for the 15th Commemorations of the Genocide against the Tutsi, those who earlier hung their heads in shame - - vowing ‘Never Again’ -- should know, this vow remains empty until justice is delivered.

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