By Haile-Gebriel Endashaw
ADDIS ABABA – Opposition political Parties walked out of a meeting that was discussing an agenda on Transitional Justice Policy Alternatives.
Ethiopia Insider said on its March 11 issue that the political parties protested saying that national consultation should come before Transitional Justice and the conflicts across the country should stop first.
According to the news source, the meeting was presided over by an Organizing Team of Experts. This organizing Team of Transitional Justice Policy called the opposition parties for the consultative meeting. The Team said that the consultative meeting was called to gather inputs for the formulation of a Transitional Justice Policy.
Similarly, the Team of Experts had its consultation forum last Wednesday on March 08/2023 on resource gathering with professionals drawn from civil society organizations and the mass media.
During the meeting held last Friday with opposition political parties, the Team of Experts had given explanations on Transitional Justice before participants were allowed to forward comments and suggestions. Member of Team of Experts, Misganaw Mulugeta briefed participants about the “concepts of Transitional Justice and the Ethiopian practice”. The other Team member Kalkidan Dereje has also briefed the participants on “Policy Framework of Transitional Justice”.
The opposition political parties have forwarded strong protests after the briefings. The raised comments include among others, timeliness of Transitional Justice and the role the national consultation plays on the issue including other comments concerning conflicts witnessed in various parts of the country.
Chairperson of Sidama Federalist Party, Tessema Elias, said that first national consensus should be given priority and besides it is advisable if the national consultation comes before the Transitional Justice. “Our problems are born with politics. They are not only interrelated to justice. Therefore, if we put ahead the Transitional Justice, won’t that be a challenge?” Tessema enquired. Others who were involved in the discussion forwarded similar comments.
President of All Ethiopian Unity Party, Mamushet Amare, commented that Transitional Justice is the agenda of the National Consultative Commission. “The Transitional Justice should come as a sector of the Consultative Commission. It can’t stand by itself,” he said.
Mamushet said that as the justice system has neither trustworthiness nor public acceptance, it should be considered under the National Consultative Commission.
Mamushet further said that the document of Transitional Justice Policy Alternatives has come “out of contextual[context]”. He mentioned the killings, displacement and attacks being witnessed across the country. “Therefore, first these acts must stop”. Discussion on transitional justice should come after the problems are subsided, according to Mamushet.
Central Committee Member of Amhara National Movement, Addisu Haregewoin enquired, “shouldn’t the attacks stop before Transitional Justice? Is it the time to come to Transitional Justice in a country where the international crimes have not yet stopped?”
Addisu further expressed views that the Ethiopian Government “is getting ready to launch the Transitional Justice process to lull the international community”.
A document on the Ethiopian Policy Framework Alternatives endorsed last January by the Ministry of Justice has put forward three major alternatives to be accomplished by the National Consultative Commission. These alternatives are checking the truth, reconciliation and compensation system. The other alternative, indicated on the document, proposed the establishment of a new commission that helps the accomplishment of the above stated three issues.
Reacting to the raised comments, member of Organizing Team of Experts, Misganaw said, “though national consultation and Transitional Justice are related issues, it does not mean they are the same. The Transitional Justice process cannot be embraced by the national consultation. Transitional Justice is an urgent matter that does not give time. If it has been delayed until the consultative process is finalized, then by that time the country may lose many things,” Misganaw said
All Ethiopian Unity, Amhara National Movement, Agew National Council were the opposition political parties that walked out of the meeting in protest, according to Ethiopia Insider.
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