The United Nations war crimes tribunal set up in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide today sentenced a former top officer in the country’s armed forces to 25 years of imprisonment after being found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako, who was also head of the Division of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Defence in 1994, is believed to be one of the key architects of the mass killings during which an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed – often by machete or club – during a 100-day period.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in Arusha, Tanzania, found that Lt.-Col. Setako ordered the killings on 25 April 1994 of 30 to 40 Tutsis at Mukamira military camp in Ruhengeri prefecture and around 10 other Tutsis there on 11 May.
He was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination) and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II (murder), but acquitted of complicity to commit genocide, murder as a crime against humanity and pillage as a war crime.
Some 55 witnesses took part in the trial of Lt.-Col. Setako, who was arrested in the Netherlands in 2004.