War crimes and crimes against humanity likely committed in Ethiopia

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Some war crimes and crimes against humanity probably committed in Éethiopia

An Afari militia member walks by a house destroyed during fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) forces in the town of Kasagita, Ethiopia. /p>

War crimes and crimes against humanity have likely been committed during the conflict that has torn Ethiopia apart since late 2020, says report for Human Rights Council of the UN man.

The Commission of three experts who drafted the report has reasonable grounds to believe that in several cases the violations [against fundamental rights] amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“The Commission is deeply troubled by what it has found, because it reflects deep polarization and ethnic hatred in Ethiopia. »

— Report excerpt

This has created a worrying cycle of extreme violence that is met with retaliation, further increasing the imminent risk of new, even more serious atrocities, experts worry.

Already in November 2021, a report written jointly by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights referred to violations, some of which may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. x27;humanity. It covered the period from November 3, 2020 to June 28, 2021.

Ethiopian soldiers captured by Tigray forces sit in the open air at a detention center in Mekele, capital of the Tigray region , October 22, 2021.

The conflict erupted in early November 2020 when the federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive against the Tigrayan rebels of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) controlling this region of northern Ethiopia.


The Tigray authorities have always maintained that the federal government is responsible for crimes against humanity, said a TPLF spokesperson interviewed by AFP on Monday.

Asked by AFP, the federal government did not react immediately.

The resumption of fighting in the north of the country on August 24 shattered a five-month truce.

Experts highlighted the catastrophic situation in Tigray, where the federal government and its allies have denied around 6 million people access to basic services for more than a year. Additionally, severe restrictions on humanitarian access have left 90% of the population in dire need of assistance.

The report states that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the federal government and allied regional governments [mainly Eritrea] have committed and continue to commit crimes against humanity on ethnic and ethnic grounds. other inhumane acts.

They intentionally cause great suffering, by restricting humanitarian aid to Tigray, according to the report.

Commission Chairperson Kaari Betty Murungi described the humanitarian crisis in Tigray as shocking, both in its scale and duration.

< p>“The widespread denial and obstruction of access to basic services, food, health care and humanitarian aid is having a devastating impact on the civilian population, and we have reasonable grounds to believe that this amounts to a crime against humanity.

— Kaari Betty Murungi, President of the Commission

We also have reasonable grounds to believe that the federal government is using starvation as a method of warfare, she added, calling on the government to immediately restore basic services and ensure unhindered humanitarian access.

Mrs Murungi also called on the Tigrayan forces to ensure that humanitarian agencies can operate unimpeded.

The Commission – which also detailed the many obstacles that limited its on-site investigation, from the ban on leaving Addis Ababa to the lack of resources – was established for one year on December 17, 2021. Its mandate is to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the accusations of repeated human rights violations.

In a whole series of recommendations, it asks the federal government, but also the Eritrean and Tigrayan authorities, to ensure that the perpetrators of the abuses are judged.

It urges international and regional bodies to take measures that will restore peace, stability and security and avoid new human rights violations.

The experts also call on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to constantly monitor the situation and to continue to call on the parties to the conflict to respect the international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee rights.

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