Rwanda hearing opened

March 23, 2010 12:00 am

, KIGALI, Mar 23 – A Dutch judge has begun hearings in Rwanda over an appeal by a citizen of the central African country sentenced to 20 years in jail for genocide by a court in the Netherlands, an official said Tuesday.

"A judge and two court registrars, a representative of the prosecution and a defence lawyer have heard from 30 witnesses since March 15," a Rwandan court official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Last March Joseph Mpambara was found guilty in The Netherlands, where he was detained in 2006, of ordering the torture of two Tutsi women and their four children to death during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Mpambara, 41, stopped an ambulance in which the two women and their children were riding in and under his orders the victims were "beaten with clubs and hacked with machetes," according to the ruling.

He was also found guilty of detaining a couple and their child for hours and threatening to kill them, but he was acquitted of charges of rape, attacking a church where Tutsis had taken refuge and abduction.

Dutch law allows its courts universal jurisdiction and can try war crime suspects residing in the country.


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