Prosecutor v. Seromba

Case Name: 
Prosecutor v. Seromba
ICTR-2001-66-A (Appeals Chamber Judgement)
Decision Date: 
March 12, 2008
Key Facts: 

Appellant, a priest at Nyange parish, was convicted by the Trial Chamber for aiding and abetting genocide, crimes against humanity, and the causing of serious bodily or mental harm against Tutsi refugees who sought refuge at his parish. Seromba’s acts included, inter alia, giving advice to a bulldozer driver and verbally encouraging the driver to destroy the church, resulting in the death of Tutsi refugees. The Appeals Chamber granted Seromba’s sub-ground of appeal, reversing the finding that he aided and abetted the causing of serious bodily or mental harm (¶ 49) but dismissed the other grounds of appeal.


With respect to the crime against humanity:

1. Acts “specifically directed to assist, encourage, or lend moral support to the perpetration of this crime and that such support must have a substantial effect upon the perpetration of the crime” (¶ 139)

2. “[K]nowledge that the acts performed by the aider and abettor assist the commission of the crime of extermination committed by the principal perpetrator(s)” (¶ 146)

Key Passages : 

ACTUS REUS: With respect to aiding and abetting the causing of serious bodily or mental harm, the Appeals Chamber noted, “the Trial Chamber did not clearly differentiate the actus reus of the underlying crime and the actus reus for aiding and abetting that crime,” (¶ 47) and failed to define the underlying crime (¶ 48).

MENS REA: In specific intent cases like genocide, it is not necessary to prove that the aider and abettor shared the mes rea of the principal, but that “he must have known of the principal perpetrator’s specific intent” (¶ 56). The aider and abettor must have this knowledge “only at the time that he provided support to the principal perpetrators” i.e. not necessarily beforehand (¶ 57).

Appeals Chamber