Page last updated at 00:47 GMT, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Rwandan found guilty of murders

Rwanda genocide survivor praying next to skulls (file picture)
Some 800,000 people died in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda

A court in the Netherlands has found a Rwandan Hutu, Joseph Mpambara, guilty of torture during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 but not of war crimes.

He was given 20 years in prison for, the judges said, robbing "two women and at least four children of their most valuable possession: their lives".

He had ordered them to be pulled out of an ambulance and hacked to death.

But he was acquitted of the murder of Tutsis sheltering at a church, due to inconsistencies in the testimonies.

Complex judgement

Mpambara was also found guilty on a second torture charge: threatening the lives of a German doctor, his Tutsi wife and their two-month-old son after detaining them at a roadblock as they tried to flee Rwanda.

In a complex judgment the judges cleared Mpambara of war crimes because he was not part of the Rwandan government army fighting Tutsis.

Some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by Hutu militias in just 100 days in 1994.

Mpambara's case came to the attention of Dutch authorities after his 1998 application for asylum was turned down. Dutch law allows the prosecution of war crimes committed overseas.

The UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up in 1997 to try the most high-profile genocide cases.

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