A former senior officer in the Rwanda Armed Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako today pleaded not guilty to six counts charging him of genocide, or alternatively complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity (murder and extermination), and violations of the Geneva Conventions. The plea was entered before Judge Dennis Byron (St Kitts & Nevis) when the accused made his initial appearance.
The Prosecution alleges that Lieutenant Colonel Setako (55) who was born in Nkuli Commune, Ruhengeri Prefecture planned, instigated, ordered and participated in killing of Tutsi civilians in Ruhengeri and Kigali-ville prefectures. He is also alleged to have distributed arms to members of the Rwanda Armed Forces, the Presidential Guard, the Interahamwe, the Amahindure (Civil Defence Forces), and other soldiers engaged in the killings.
Setako is said to have committed the crimes in concert with others including Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, Joseph Nzirorera, Casmir Bizimungu, Colonel Augustin Bizimungu and Juvénal Kajelijeli, who are also facing charges before the Tribunal in Arusha.
The accused was arrested on 25 February, 2004 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands at the request of the Tribunal. On 17 November 2004, he was transferred to the Detention Facility of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to face charges in connection with his alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.