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Strong evidence that Ethiopia committed genocide in Tigray war: Report

Wednesday June 5, 2024

Report says Ethiopia and allies had ‘intent to destroy Tigrayans as an ethnic group’ and calls for prosecution at ICJ.

Tigrayans displaced by the conflict rest in a makeshift tent in the city of Semera, Ethiopia (AFP)

There is compelling evidence that Ethiopian forces committed genocidal acts during the Tigray war, a new report has concluded.

Issued on Tuesday by the United States-based New Lines Institute, the 120-page draft quotes multiple, widespread and credible independent reports that Ethiopian forces and their allies carried out “acts constituting the crime of genocide” during the conflict, which ran between 2020-22. The authors call for Ethiopia to be brought before the International Court of Justice.

The Tigray war erupted in November 2020, as a bid by the regional government for autonomy saw the Ethiopian military move into the northern region of the country.

Thousands died in the two-year conflict, which formally came to an end in November 2022. Both sides accused each other of atrocities, including massacres, rape and arbitrary detentions, but each strenuously denies responsibility for abuses.

In a report issued last September, the United Nations said war crimes and crimes against humanity were still being committed nearly a year after government and Tigrayan regional forces agreed to end the fighting.

The New Lines Institute report now states that there is sufficient evidence that Ethiopia engaged in actions violating the Genocide Convention including the targeting of civilians with mass killings and starvation tactics.

It says the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), alongside the allied Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) and assorted regional militia “possessed the intent to destroy Tigrayans as an ethnic group”.

At least four acts constituting the crime of genocide are noted in the report: killing Tigrayans, causing serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting conditions of life upon Tigrayans calculated to bring about their destruction, and imposing measures intended to prevent births among Tigrayans.

Additionally, the finger is pointed at social media posts made by “certain individuals” that constitute public incitement to genocide.

Ethiopia, which has been accused of seeking to prevent international scrutiny, has repeatedly denied that its forces carried out war crimes during the conflict. Eritrea has claimed such accusations against it are defamatory.

However, the new report, which took two years to compile and features the contribution of dozens of legal experts, backs up the findings of the UN by stating that there is “reasonable basis to believe” that the countries are responsible for war crimes and/or crimes against humanity.

In conclusion, the authors call on the international community to put pressure on Ethiopia via bilateral relations, as well as bringing the country before the ICJ.



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