Arusha, September 5, 2011(FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will deliver its judgment in the case of former Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako, on September 28, 2011, according to a scheduling order.

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During the appeal hearing on March 29, 2011, the prosecution requested the Chamber to substitute the 25 year jail term imposed on Setako, who was the head of the division of legal affairs in the Ministry of Defence during genocide, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

‘'Setako breached his position as senior advisor of legal affairs in the ministry of defence during the war and abused it. We ask the Chamber to grant our appeal and raise the sentence to life imprisonment,'' American Prosecution Counsel, Deborah Wilkinson, told the Chamber presided by Judge Patrick Robinson.

She added, ‘'The Trial  Chamber erred for failure to consider the central and primary role of the appellant in ordering killings at Mukamira military camp and even transporting some victims to the camp. The Trial Chamber should have also convicted him of murder as war crime for the massacres at the area."

Setako's lead Counsel, American Professor Lennox Hinds, sought for acquittal, alleging that his client had no authority over soldiers at Mukamira camp to command the killings. ‘'Setako had no command responsibility at Mukamira camp. Then, the findings that my client was guilty were unreasonable,'' he said.

He also argued that the Trial Chamber erred to convict his client depending on the evidence of only two prosecution witnesses whom he claimed gave contradictory testimonies and, at the same time, dismissing the evidence given by four defence witnesses concerning the same matter.

The former Army officer was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment after being found guilty of genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity and violence to life as a war crime on February 25, 2010. He was specifically found responsible for the killing of 30 to 40 Tutsis at Mukamira military camp in Ruhengeri prefecture, Northern Rwanda   on April 25, 1994 and the death of around 10 others on May 1.

Lt. Col. Setako hailed from Nkuli commune in the prefecture. He was arrested in February 2004 in Netherlands and his trial commenced on August 25, 2008 and closed on June 26, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency