Kigali, March 22 (FH) - For a week, Dutch magistrates  and lawyers have been hearing witnesses in Kigali in view of Joseph Mpambara's impending trial before The Hague Appeal Court (Netherlands).

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Joseph Mpambara, 41, was sentenced to 20 years in jail by a Dutch lower court on March 23, 2009, for crimes committed during the 1994 genocide. He immediately lodged an appeal.

"A judge, a member of the Prosecution, one of Mpambara's defence lawyers and two registrars are hearing about thirty witnesses between March 15 and March 28", a reliable source at the Rwandan Supreme Court told Hirondelle News Agency.

Rwanda Public Prosecution spokesperson Augustin Nkusi confirmed the information.

In 2009, Mpambara was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for torture resulting in the death of two Tutsi mothers and their four children in April 1994. The Court ruled that it was on his orders that the mothers and their children had been extracted from an ambulance car at a roadblock and then beaten with clubs and hacked with machetes.

Joseph Mpambara was also found guilty of the detainment, for several hours on April 27, 1994, of a German-Rwandan couple and their baby. He threatened the wife he would kill her in front of her husband and child.

Mpambara applied for political asylum in the Netherlands in 1998 but was denied protected status as the Dutch authorities suspected him, as a member of the Interahamwe militia, of having been involved in the massacres in Rwanda in 1994.

On August 7, 2006, Joseph Mpambara was apprehended by the Dutch police following an arrest warrant for genocide and war crimes issued in application of the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Joseph Mpambara is the brother of Obed Ruzindana, a wealthy businessman sentenced in 2001 to 25 years in jail by the Appeal Chamber of the ICTR for genocide and crimes against humanity. Obed Ruzindana is serving his sentence in Mali.


© Hirondelle News Agency