Italy: Rwandan priest accused of genocide returns to face charges

 The Rwandan priest in Italy who was accused of playing a part the 1994 Rwanda genocide, has said he is now ready to face his accusers. In a statement yesterday, Fr Athanasius Seromba, who is a parish priest in the diocese of Florence, said he is ready to respond before the law to all of the accusations he is facing. A 1999 African Rights report last month, has accused him of helping orchestrate the massacre of some 2,000 Tutsi refugees at his parish in Nyange, Rwanda, in April 1994. After reading the report, the Italian government refused to extradite Fr Seromba. When the chief UN war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said she was "stupefied" that Italy had refused to co-operate with the investigation, three weeks ago, Fr Seromba went on retreat to avoid media attention. A priest in the Florence archdiocese since 1997, Fr Seromba left Rwanda for Italy in 1994, the year Hutu extremists massacred more than 500,000 people, most of them Tutsis. He said he had already left Nyange when the killings began. Fr Seromba said he will not try to evade a possible trial, "in the hopes that international justice can decide with fairness and equilibrium the facts of the accused". For background, read: ICN 18 July 2001: Rwandan priest facing war crimes allegations flees public eye