Father Athanase Seromba, former Catholic priest at Nyange parish, Kibuye prefecture, was on 6 February 2002 received and detained in the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha following his surrender to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Immediately after his arrival from Italy, where he had been living in exile, Father Seromba was arrested by Tanzanian authorities and later handed over to the Tribunal. He is the fourth clergyman to be detained by the Tribunal.
On 4 July 2001, the Tribunal issued a warrant of arrest against the accused after he was indicted for crimes of genocide he allegedly committed in Rwanda in 1994. He is charged with four counts of genocide, or, in the alternative complicity to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity for extermination.
According to his indictment, Father Seromba is alleged to have been responsible for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to thousands of members of the Tutsi population in Kivumu Commune who sought refuge at the Nyange Parish. This included about 2000 Tutsi trapped inside the Nyange church, who were killed when Athanase allegedly bulldozed the Church and its roof subsequently crashed.
The accused will shortly appear before a Judge of the Tribunal to answer charges brought against him.
The Tribunal has praised the Italian and Tanzanian authorities for their efficiency in processing the surrender of Father Seromba to the Tribunal.