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ICTR begins genocide trial of former Rwanda military officer

[JURIST] Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Setako [ICTR case materials] went to trial Tuesday [ICTR press release] before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website]. Setako is the former director of the Judicial Affairs Division of the Rwandan Ministry of Defence, and served as a colonel for the Rwandan armed forces during the 1994 genocide [BBC backgrounder]. He is accused of inciting, ordering, or authorizing the mass killings of Tutsi civilians, as well as distributing weapons used in the massacre. Setako was arrested in Amsterdam on February 25, 2004, and subsequently pleaded not guilty [ICTR press release] to six counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violating the Geneva Convention. UN News Centre has more.

The ICTR was established by the UN in 1995 to try those suspected of having committed genocide during the 1994 Rwandan conflict between Hutus and Tutsis, in which approximately 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, were killed. Earlier this month, an independent Rwandan commission issued a report [BBC report] accusing France of knowing of the genocide and providing training assistance to Hutus, as well as directly aiding in the killings. French officials have denied the allegations [NY Times report].

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