On Thursday, July 7, a European court charged a man with the crime of genocide and sentenced him to life in prison. The appeals court in the Netherlands sentenced a Rwandan citizen living in the country, Joseph Mpambara, 43, to life in prison for crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Mpambara was found guilty of torture that resulted in the deaths of two Tutsi mothers and their four children on April 13, 1994. The ruling upheld a previous lower court conviction.
Although I offer praise for someone being charged with the atrocity of genocide, I am puzzled as to why this court or other courts in Europe have never charged any of the leaders of the nations of Europe with genocide over the last few hundred years. Especially this nation, which was home to the Dutch East India Company, one of the largest slaving companies in Europe for centuries. Or the German campaign of genocide against the Herero of Namibia from 1904 to 1915, in which as many as 80,000 natives were murdered by German troops under the leadership of Lt. General Lothar von Trotha. Von Trotha would drive the Herero into the Omaheke desert, where all the waterholes had been poisoned, and then surrounded the area with his troops with orders to kill every man, woman and child “whether armed or unarmed.”
The hypocrisy of a Dutch court to condemn another African to life in prison for genocide is the ultimate hypocrisy. Not saying that his crime does not deserve to be punished, but I have yet to see this same government punish any of its own for the centuries of slave-trafficking from Africa to the New World. Conservative estimates allege that some 1.2 to 2.4 million Africans died during transport alone.
It is obvious that the lesson is that Europe and its citizens can suffer no recourse for genocidal practices. In the eyes of European nations, only Africans are kept to such standards, unless the victims are Europeans themselves, for the international law for the injustices they have committed against Africans remain unattended.
Yes, men should be charged for all genocidal crimes, but men who pass such judgments must not be guilty, historically, of the same crime. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.