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Dutch court sentences Rwandan for war crimes

A Dutch appeals court last week sentenced a Rwandan citizen living in The Netherlands to life in prison for war crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

See AFP’s report here.

Joseph Mpambara, 43, was found guilty of having carried out an attack on a church where Tutsis had fled. The lower court, which sentenced him to 20 years in prison, had previously acquitted him on this charge.

"Hundreds of persons were literally slaughtered or hurt," with guns or machetes, Judge Raoul Dekkers said, who added Mpambara "encouraged others to commit (these crimes)."

"The appeals court is of the opinion that you have made yourself guilty of war crimes," the judge told Mpambara, qualifying his crimes as "extremely serious".

A lawyer for one of the complainants, Liesbeth Zegveld, told AFP:

"The crimes are very serious. It cannot be compared to anything we know in The Netherlands. A strong signal is being sent today across our borders."

The Netherlands has a law which allows it to try people for suspected war crimes if the person lived there.