The mandate for investigating human rights violations in Ethiopia has ended, leaving victims in a state of uncertainty.
The final report from the independent investigators on human rights comes as their term expired on Friday, coinciding with the conclusion of the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This has left victims in a state of uncertainty.
In December 2021, the Council created a task for them to carry out unbiased investigations into reported human rights abuses in Ethiopia, committed by all involved parties in the conflict starting from November 3, 2020.
According to Steven Rather, a specialist on the Commission, the end of the mandate is a significant setback for victims who are seeking justice.
“It is crucial to continue this investigation, and the comprehensive report serves as a valuable tool in combating impunity in Ethiopia,” he stated.
The final report from the Commission provides a thorough description of the acts of violence, considered to be war crimes and crimes against humanity, that occurred in Tigray, Amhara, Afar, and Oromia. It holds all parties accountable for their involvement.
The Commission was unable to determine the potential crime of extermination or genocide due to constraints on time and resources.
Specialists urged for further inquiries to be conducted in order to determine the complete details and legal consequences.
The report stated that the Ethiopian National Defence Forces, Eritrean Defence Forces, and other allied regional Special Forces and militias are jointly accountable for a series of atrocities.
These actions consist of large-scale killings, organized rape, sexual violence such as enslavement, intentional starvation, forced relocation, and unjust imprisonment, all of which are considered war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Certain Tigray fighters are also responsible for committing acts of atrocity during the war, such as murder, extensive sexual assault, damage to property, and theft.
Lack of accountability
The likelihood of achieving significant domestic accountability is highly unlikely.
– Radhika Coomaraswamy, a member of the commission
The Commission observed that the Eritrean Defence Forces have been consistently breaking the law in Tigray, both before and after the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in November 2022. This, along with the widespread violence throughout the country, emphasizes the level of disregard for consequences.
According to Radhika Coomaraswamy, a member of the Commission, the chances of achieving significant accountability within the country are highly unlikely.
She emphasized that the requests of victims and survivors for fairness and responsibility are definite and steadfast, and their opinions should be acknowledged.
According to chairperson Mohamed Chande Othman, the closure of the Commission should not be seen as the end, especially since the potential for future atrocity crimes is still evident.
He urged the global community, as well as nearby parties, to remember the victims of the violent conflict.
He stated that it is important for countries to prioritize the human rights situation in Ethiopia on a global scale. They should also take action to thoroughly investigate and bring to justice those responsible for crimes committed in Ethiopia within their own court systems, using the principle of universal jurisdiction.