KIGALI - Rwanda has welcomed a recent decision by a Dutch court sentencing Joseph Mpambara, to 20 years for his role in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Minister of Information who is also the Government Spokesperson, said that the sentence should send a signal to other Western countries that still harbour Genocide suspects.
“We would like other European countries and America to take a lesson from the Netherlands now that Rwanda is approaching the 15th commemoration the Genocide against the Tutsi,” said Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.
“They (western countries) should arrest and try or extradite those suspects that are roaming on their streets.”
The Dutch court convicted Mpambara of ordering the murder of Tutsi mothers and their children who were slaughtered and hacked with clubs and machetes.
He was also found guilty of involvement in the massacre of Tutsi refugees in a complex of the Seventh Day Adventists, the murder of seven passengers of an ambulance, acts of rape.
The court however said that a sentence of 20 years does not serve justice to the seriousness of Mpambara’s crimes.
The extreme sentence Mpambara would get was a life sentence, which the Dutch government refrained from imposing.
Mpambara was however cleared of war crimes, but according to the spokesman of the Dutch prosecution Wim de Bruin, they (prosecution) are yet decided whether to appeal.
“Despite that the government hails the sentence, we hope the prosecution will appeal against the sentence and may be a bigger sentence will be imposed.”
The allegations against Mpambara, 40, became known when he applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1998 and was living in Hilversum at the time of his arrest in August 2006.
Part of the charges were torturing a German doctor, his Tutsi wife and their 2-month-old son by threatening their lives after detaining them at a roadblock as they tried to flee the country.
Mpambara is the brother to Obed Ruzindana who was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by the Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2001 for Genocide against the Tutsi and crimes against humanity.
Ruzindana, a former businessman is serving his sentence in a Malian.