Saturday, 6 April 2013

Scholar accuses Ethiopian authorities of "ethnic cleansing"!

April 3, 2013

Ethiopian authorities could be charged with the crimes of "ethnic cleansing" at anytime in their life, a leading law professor said on Tuesday.
Yacob Hailemariam, a prominent opposition leader who previously was a senior UN Prosecutor at the Rwanda Genocide Trials, told the Ethiopian Satellite TV (ESAT) the recent forceful eviction of members of the Amhara from Benishangul-Gumuz area was an obvious case of ethnic cleansing which is a serious crime for which Rwandan officials were sentenced to life in prison.
Last week about 59 Ethiopians targetted as 'Amhara' were killed when their truck overturned as they were being forcefully removed from the Benishangul-Gumuz region.
The crime is not 'genocide' but it is a crime of'ethnic cleansing' for which the current authorities could be prosecuted according to both Ethiopian and international laws, the business law professor warned.
If Ethiopians at home and abroad collect evidences for the UN Security Council, the officials could be brought before the court of an international law, Yacob warned.
Scholars generally agree and define ethnic cleansing as the "the systematic and violent removal of undesired ethnic groups from a given territory."
Yacob said ethnic cleansing is an international crime and the perpetrators of the crime could be prosecuted at an international criminal court.
"The forceful deportation of people because they speak a certain language could destabilize a region, and if reported with tangible evidences, the UN Security Council could order the International Criminal Court to begin to examine the crimes," Yacob said.
"At the Rwanda Tribunal, individuals who were charged with ethnic cleansing were sentenced to life in prison," Professor Yacob said of the event for which he was a Senior UN prosecutor.

Benishangul officials as well as the late dictator Meles Zenawi at one time had said those being removed were for destroying forests and not for being Amhara.
Commenting on this remark, Yacob said people accused of cutting down trees may face legal action but to condemn them to ethnic cleansing is to commit a very serious crime that the perpetrators could face justice irrespective of the passage of time - even 30 or 40 years later.
Ethiopian authorities should be duly reminded that their actions of removing citizens from any part of their country is a criminal offense prosecutable as per Ethiopian and international humanitarian laws, Professor Yacob Hailemariam warned.
Ethiopia is signatory to several conventions, including Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Africa Human and Peoples Rights Charter, which, among others, state in clear terms that any citizen of a certain country has the right to work and live in any part of his or her country. Therefore, Yacob warned, there cannot be any excuse like a resettlement program etc. to violate such laws and commit the serious crimes of 'ethnic cleansing.'

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Ethiopia: Muslim Protesters Face Unfair Trial.


APRIL 2, 2013 
The prosecution of 29 Muslim protest leaders and others charged under Ethiopia’s deeply flawed anti-terrorism law raises serious fair trial concerns. The trial is scheduled to resume in Addis Ababa on April 2, 2013, after a 40-day postponement.  

The case has already had major due process problems. Some defendants have alleged ill-treatment in pre-trial detention. The government has provided defendants limited access to legal counsel and has taken actions that undermined their presumption of innocence. Since January 22 the High Court has closed the hearings to the public, including the media, diplomats, and family members of defendants.
“There seems to be no limit to the Ethiopian government’s use of its anti-terrorism law and unfair trials to stop peaceful dissent,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “The government’s treatment of these Muslim leaders bears the hallmarks of a politically motivated prosecution.”

The defendants include Muslim leaders and activists arrested and detained in July 2012 following six months of public protests in Addis Ababa and other towns by members of Ethiopia’s Muslim community over alleged government interference in religious affairs. Others on trial include Yusuf Getachew, former managing editor of the now defunct Islamic magazine Yemuslimoch Guday, and two Muslim nongovernmental organizations, allegedly managed by three of the defendants. Solomon Kebede was arrested and is being held under the anti-terrorism law.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

An Ethiopian court on Wednesday delayed again the appeal of Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage

An Ethiopian court on Wednesday delayed again the appeal of Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage
Posted April 2, 2013

free poli

An Ethiopian court on Wednesday delayed again the appeal of Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage

ADDIS ABABA — An Ethiopian court on Wednesday delayed again the appeal of blogger Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage, who were jailed last year for terror-related offences.
Eskinder and Andualem were among 24 people jailed in July 2012 on terror-related charges.
Both men are accused of having links to the outlawed opposition group Ginbot 7.
Andualem’s lawyer Debribew Temesgen said the judges said they needed more time to examine the evidence, and had set a new date for a ruling of April 8.
Eskinder was jailed for 18 years, while Andualem was sentenced to life.
Neither appeared in court on Wednesday.
Rights groups have called Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism legislation vague and accuse the government of using the law to stifle peaceful dissent.

source DCESON

Monday, 1 April 2013

UN calls for Ethiopia journalist Eskinder Nega to be released

In an opinion released today by Freedom Now, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found the Government of Ethiopia’s continued detention of independent Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega a violation of international law. The panel of five independent experts from four continents held that the government violated Mr. Nega’s rights to free expression and due process. The UN Working Group called for his immediate release.
Mr. Nega is serving an 18-year prison sentence on terror and treason charges in response to his online articles and public speeches about the Arab Spring and the possible impact of such movements on the political situation in Ethiopia. Arrested in September 2011, Mr. Nega was held without charge or access to an attorney for nearly two months before authorities charged him under Ethiopia’s widely criticized anti-terror laws. This is the eighth time during his 20-year career as an independent journalist and publisher that the Ethiopian government has detained Mr. Nega. His appeal has been repeatedly postponed, most recently on March 27, 2013.
In the attached opinion, released in conjunction with an op-ed by the renowned Ethiopian opposition leader and former prisoner of conscience Birtukan Mideksa, the UN Working Group found that the application of overly broad anti-terror laws against Mr. Nega constituted an “unjustified restriction” on his right to freedom of expression. The UN Working Group’s opinion also recognized “several breaches of Mr. Nega’s fair trial rights,” further rendering his continued detention arbitrary under international law.
“The Ethiopian government cannot continue to use anti-terrorism legislation to muzzle the work of independent journalists, even when it does not like what is being reported,” said Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner. “The targeting of journalists by resorting to overly broad anti-terror laws, just like the use of anti-state charges in the pre-9/11 era, is a violation of the internationally protected right to free expression and undermines international efforts to address real security threats.”

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia: By Birtukan Mideksa.

Al Jazeera 30 Mar 2013 
Birtukan Mideksa is a fellow at Harvard University’s WEB Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research and a former prisoner of conscience in Ethiopia.
Birtukan Mideksa a prisoner of conscience now a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow
Birtukan Mideksa
Although Ethiopia has its first new prime minister in 17 years – so far, the government has failed to right a long history of wrongs. With prisoners of conscience still languishing in its prisons, Ethiopia must receive the clear message – especially from allies like the United States – that