Learning & Education
In the lead up to the Rwandan genocide, Athanase Seromba was a catholic priest in charge of the parish of Nyange in the Kibuye prefecture in the west of Rwanda. In April 1994, he was an active participant in the destruction of the church where he was a priest and where many Tutsi civilians had sought refuge. During this massacre, around 2000 Tutsis lost their lives.
Seromba was the first catholic priest to be charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). On 6 February 2002, he gave himself in to the authorities of the ICTR. On 13 December 2006, the Trial Chamber had found Athanase Seromba guilty of genocide by aiding and abetting and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Trial Chamber had rejected the count of complicity of genocide and acquitted him of the count of conspiracy to commit genocide. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. On 22 December 2006, the Prosecutor filed an appeal against this sentence.
On 12 March 2008, the Appeals Chamber found Athanase Seromba guilty of committing genocide as well as extermination as a crime against humanity. Accordingly, the Appeals Chamber increased Seromba's sentence to life imprisonment. On 27 June 2009, he was transferred to Benin to serve the remainder of his sentence.