A Dutch court sentenced on Monday a Hutu man to 20 years’ imprisonment on torture charges during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, but acquitted him of war crimes.

In a trial that took place under a law allowing the prosecution of suspected war criminals living in the Netherlands, the Hague-based court found Joseph Mpambara guilty of two counts of torture.

It ruled that two Tutsi women and their children were hacked and beaten to death with machetes and clubs on Mpambara’s order as they tried to flee in an ambulance.

Mpambara was also convicted on a second count of torture for threatening a German doctor, his wife and their baby at a road block. But he was acquitted of war crimes charges due to a lack of “reliable” evidence, the court said.

During the Rwandan genocide, 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days of slaughter by extremist Hutu militias.

“The court has ruled that the crimes committed by the suspect cannot be regarded as war crimes,” the court said in a statement, but added the crimes could be considered as torture.

Mpambara, 41, applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1998 and was arrested in 2006.

Mpambara was accused of crimes committed against Tutsis between April and June 1994 including the murder of women and children, rape, assaults and kidnapping in the central African nation.

The court acquitted him of the killing of refugee Tutsis who had taken shelter in a Seventh Day Adventist complex, the rape and murder of several women and the disappearance and possible murder of three children.



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