The trial of a former senior officer in the defeated Rwanda Armed Forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Setako, began here on Monday with prosecution promising 25 witnesses to “prove that the accused was one of the principal planners and executors of the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994.”
A career military man and lawyer, Setako was the Director of Judicial Affairs in the FAR before and during the 1994 Genocide. He is accused of Genocide, alternatively, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity including murder and extermination.
The 55-year old former officer has been in detention since February 2004 when he was arrested in Amsterdam at an asylum seekers’ office and transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha the same year; He is defended by Professor Lennox Hindsand has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Hinds unsuccessfully defended another Genocide suspect, Juvenal Kajelijeli, former Bourgmestre (Mayor) of Mukingo. The accused was sentenced to life for the remainder of his life in December 2003.
Ms. Ojemeni Okali leads the prosecution team.
Setako’s case will be heard in the First Trial Chamber with Presiding judge Erik Möse (Norway) along with Sergei Alekseevich Egorov (Russia) and Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroon).
Hailing from Ruhengeri, Setako was a close family friend of Juvenal Habyarimana and through his various contacts organized the supply of machetes and arms to Interahamwe gangs spread out in the country.
He also commanded and encouraged soldiers to eliminate all Tutsi targets.