by Dawit Giorgis
“Never again” 1948: Until Next Time
Armenia (1915–18), Ukraine (1932–1933), the Nazi Holocaust (1938–1945), Cambodia (1975–1979), Rwanda (1994), Bosnia (1992–1995), Darfur (2001–2015), Ethiopia ( 2019 to present)
“The events that took place during these periods in these countries resulted in more than 17 million deaths related to 20th century genocides or ethnic cleansing, each with liQle or late reacRon by the community of naRons. Leaders of Western democracies piously vow that “never again” will they allow such acRons to take place, their hollow words translaRng to “Never again — unRl next Rme.” ( War On Rocks, April 2014: Ethiopia included by author and therefore the number of 17 million would go upwards of 20 million.)
According to the Holocaust Encyclopaedia: “The Nazi “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (“Endlösung der Judenfrage”) was the deliberate and systematic mass murder of European Jews. It was the last stage of the Holocaust and took place from 1941 to 1945. Though many Jews were killed before the “Final Solution” the vast majority of Jewish victims were murdered during this period.”
Like in the case of Amharas in Ethiopia, the persecution and segregation of Jews was implemented in stages under the rule of Adolf Hitler. The state-sponsored hatred of the Amharas led to anti Amahra policies, proclamations and decrees, all of which aimed to systematically isolate Aemharas from the central role they have played for three thousand years as a custodian of both Christianity and Islam, of biblical and Koranic cultures, and defense of the integrity of a nation which had remained an icon of freedom in Africa and the promised land for blacks across the globe. For most of Amahras what happened in Germany in 1941 to 1945 is exactly what is happening today in Ethiopia. The persecution of Amharas in Ethiopia began with the government of TPLF under PM Meles Zenawi and reached this stage under PM Abiy Ahmed who personifies Adolf Hitler.
Before the start of World War II, around 9.5 million Jewish people lived in Europe. By the time the war ended, the Nazis had killed 6 million European Jews in concentration camps, or pograms, or ghettos, or mass executions in what we refer today as the Holocaust. The Nazis used the term Endlösung, or Final Solution, as the “answer” to the “Jewish question.” Adolf Hitler had provided clues to his ambition to commit mass genocide as early as 1922,
telling journalist Josef Hell, “Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews.” This is very familiar for Amharas because Abiy Ahmed has said it in a different way. Abiy Ahmed and his officials have repeatedly stated that his paramount enemies are the Amharas and the Orthodox Church, and true to his words he did start the destruction of both the church and Amharas (Semites). Hitler took the solution to the Jewish problem to its “furthest extremes,” when he found out that he had people around him who were willing to kill people a s a testament of their loyalty to the Fuhrer. Abiy has lined up these kinds of people. Like Hitler Abiy is an extremely giked orator who knew what his audience wanted to hear and how to package it with lies. But his lies has caught up with him and he now rules through terror.
It is the opinion of every legal expert involved in studying the crimes against the Amharas in Ethiopia: that genocide has and is being committed in Ethiopia with the intention of ethnic cleansing and establishing a Cushite Empire. According to Cush Media and Oromo lieretaures, Semites ( Amharas and Tigreans) are considered colonisers of the Cushites, in a very strange twist of history. To this end, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed in the last 4 years causing the death of three million people and the displacement of 4 million Amharas. How many more have to die and be displaced for the international community to wake up and stop this madness?
This CushiRc war against the Semites of the North has been conducted in a very barbaric manner — a type of brutality unseen in our history. It is hatred to its worst limits. Recently, when the aQack on the Orthodox church became unbearably and brazenly intense and very violent, the response of the church was firm and immediate. Millions went to the streets in unprecedented show of force. This abated the aQempt to destroy the Synod of Ethiopia for now. The claim of the CushiRc movement spearheaded by OLF goes beyond Ethiopia to Kenya, Sudan and Somalia. The war has just begun earnestly in Ethiopia.
As a lawyer and a man who has worked in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, I can aQest that the crimes being commiQed in Ethiopia are more gruesome (though at a lower scale ) than the Rwandan atrociRes that shook the conscience of the world. Amharas are being murdered, crucified and burnt alive publicly, and are now forced in millions to leave their ancestral lands. All these incidents are recorded and reported by credible and ethical Ethiopian journalists and insRtuRons. RegreQably, the West has refused to see the truth and condemn the crime for what it is — a genocide!. To most Amharas, the silence of the internaRonal community is reminiscent of what happened during Fascist Italy’s aggression against Ethiopia or the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany. The world is silently watching the deliberate destrucRon of 3000 years of civilizaRon.
Mass murders, torture and genocide as per its legal definition has been taking place since the TPLF took over, but what differentiates this period from earlier crimes is the sudden escalation of genocide and crimes giants humanity in the last 4 years, the period of Abiy Ahmeds rule. To constitute genocide, “there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Cultural destruction does not suffice, nor does an intention to simply disperse a group. It is this special intent, or dolus specialis, that makes the crime of genocide so unique.”ICC Genocide has therefore two major elements: Physical (the actual commission of crimes) and Mental which establishes the intent of the crimes. Importantly, the evidence must show that the victims of a crime have been deliberately targeted – not randomly – because of their real or perceived membership of one of the four groups (national, ethnic, racial and religious) protected under the Convention. “This means that the target of destruction must be the group, as such, and not its members as individuals. Genocide can also be committed against only a part of the group, as long as that part is identifiable (including within a geographically limited area)” ICC. The evidence collected so far show exactly this: that the Amharas, Christians and Muslims have been the target of the genocide as defined by the UN Convention on Genocide.
Though normally the most difficult in court is establishing the intent, this was the easiest of of the whole process of seeking justice in the case of the Amhara genocide. The most challenging was getting the attention of the ICC. Since we last recorded and presented the evidences to the ICC and the UN Human Rights Council, hundreds of thousands of Amhras have been forcefully evicted from their ancestral lands and over 20,000 murdrererd and brutalized for who they are. Four million Amharas have been displaced and their homes destroyed with the intent to force them to move out of their ancestral lands. Many more are detained with no information of their where abouts. Ethiopia has today the largest number of journalists detained.
Most recently the regime has promulgated laws that would require only Amharas to surrender their arms while the largest armed group are the Oromos, Abiy Ahmed’s support base. The decree excludes the TPLF which was supposed to be disarmed under the Pretoria agreement. The TPLF surrendered after losing one million of its people in a brief war a with the government forces and has now preferred to be a fifth column in the war declared on the Amharas in exchange for short term advantages. The TPLF purposely ignored the long-term goal of Abiy to destroy Tigreans as well, because they too are Semites.
It is clearer to everybody that PM Abiy has reached the decision to take the final solution. As I write this, over 250,000 troops ( Oromo and Federal) are moving in four fronts to the Amahara region to finish off Amharas that refuse to submit to the will of the regime. Abiy Ahmed has ordered the annihilation of Amharas who are protecting their lands and rights. Thousands of Amharas living in the Oromo region have either been killed or forced out of the region. It is reported that as a result of the new operation which started a week ago, thousands of innocent people have already been killed. And it is just beginning.
Any global humanitarian organization, including the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI) and the ICC which claim
they have not heard read or seen the painful videos of the ongoing crimes in Ethiopia ( particularly in the Oromia region) is not worth the title it wears. It was there for the whole world to see read and listen. Even the perpetrators were not able to hide it.
We, international lawyers together with international crime investigators are prepared to present the case of genocide and crimes against humanity to any international body, lawyers, jouranlists wherver and wenever we are called. The ball is in the court of the international community if it wishes to find the truth, For the sake of millions dying and imploring for justice accept the challenge and come forward to learn about the truth and act. So far neither the UN, the West or the ICC are keen to hear our cases. This has given way to apathy indifference and neglect of the most atrocious crimes in decades.
“Why don’t these massive crimes against humanity spark us to action? Why do good people ignore mass murder and genocide? Unfortunately there are no simple answers to these questions. Every episode of mass murder is unique and raises unique social, economic, military, and political obstacles to intervention. But the repetitiveness of such atrocities, ignored by powerful people and nations, and by the general public, calls for explanations that may reflect some fundamental deficiency in our humanity-a deficiency that, once identified, might possibly be overcome.” (American Phycological Association)
Genocide and crimes against humanity is real in Ethiopia. But the international community refuses to feel this reality. It is selective in acknowledging and prosecuting cases of genocide. It would prefer sensational and geopolitcal events than real human tragedies.
On the 24th of February, Russia invaded Ukraine. On the 25th of February, a day after the invasion, the ICC Prosecutor General, Karim Khan “expressed his concern over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said his court may investigate possible war crimes in the country. He further stated: “I have been closely following recent developments in and around Ukraine with increasing concern.”ICC. In the first week of April “Reporters from Agence France Presse saw at least 20 bodies, all in civilian clothing, strewn across a single street in the town of Bucha on Friday. One had his hands Red behind his back with a white cloth, and his Ukrainian passport lek open beside his body. “All these people were shot,” Bucha’s mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, told AFP, adding that a further 280 bodies had been buried in mass graves in the town……The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said: “I am deeply shocked by the images of civilians killed in Bucha, Ukraine. It is essenRal that an independent invesRgaRon leads to effecRve accountability.” ( AFP April 12, 2022)
These allegaRons were the basis of opening a war crime case against the Russia by the ICC. In Ethiopia First it is not simply allegaRons but proven in a way that fulfills the requirements of internaRonal law. Second it was not about 20 bodies and other allegaRons; it was more than 20000 bodies and 4 million displaced brutalized raped and tortured people. What a travesty of judgement and jusRce! On the 28th of Feb (four days after the invasion) the ICC Prosecutor announced: “ Today, I wish to announce that I have decided to proceed with opening an investigation into the situation in Ukraine, as rapidly as possible.” In the first week of April “Reporters from Agence France-Presse saw at least 20 bodies, all in civilian clothing, strewn across a single street in the town of Bucha on Friday. One had his hands tied behind his back with a white cloth, and his Ukrainian passport left open beside
his body. “All these people were shot,” Bucha’s mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, told AFP, adding that a further 280 bodies had been buried in mass graves in the town……The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said: “I am deeply shocked by the images of civilians killed in Bucha, Ukraine. It is essential that an independent investigation leads to effective accountability.” ( AFP, April 2, 2022)
These allegaRons were the basis of opening a war crime case against Russia by the ICC. In the case of Ethiopia : First it is not simply allegaRons but proven cases in a way that fulfills the requirements of internaRonal law. Second it was not just 20 bodies it was more than 20,000 bodies and 4 million displaced brutalized raped and tortured people. What a travesty of judgement and jusRce! On May 17 the International Criminal Court sent a 42-member team to Ukraine to probe alleged war crimes since the Russian invasion in what has been dubbed as the largest such deployment in its history. “This represents the largest-ever single field deployment by my office since its establishment,” Khan said in a statement.” On march 17; 2023, ICC charges Pesident Putin of Russia.
The speed and extraordinary length the ICC Prosecutor General went is unprecedented in the history of the ICC. History and students of law will one day compare this extraordinary rush to prosecute the criminals in Ukraine with the more heinous crimes taking place at the same period in Ethiopia, and give their judgement on how international justice is flawed. It is stunning to think how such an international institution with great expectations would dehumanize all other people crying for justice and focus with all its resources and at an alarming speed to use all its discretions, to find a short cut to justice court for one particular crime which emerged after 4 years after a more catastrophic crime.
Ethiopian and international criminal lawyers have appealed to the world to stop the genocide in Ethiopia and prosecute the known criminals in a case with irrefutable evidence. Once again the world watched as Ethiopia bleeds and hudererds of thousands of Amharas being slaughtered. Over one and a half million people were killed ( Official version by HE Olusegun Obasanjo and Ethiopian Army chief of staff) in an eight month war between government and the northern region of Tigray. It did not make headlines or inspire serious interantional investigation. It was hidden under a so called deal ( Pretoria agreement) and accountability put aside. Neither the genocide nor the 1.4 million lives lost in an eight month war justified the war nor the Genocide of Amharas justified accountability. Amharas continue to die and sufferi n a world devoid of compassion and justice. The repercussions to regional security and stability is enormous. American and other Western experts have always looked naive in their understanding of issues in the Horn of Africa. Whether by design or ignorance, they have invariably missed to avert imminent catastrophes, and only payed attention after the worst has happened.
. “The West’s post-Holocaust pledge that genocide would never again be tolerated proved to be hollow.”— Philip Gourevitch
Editor’s note : views in the article reflect the views of the writer, not the views of borkena.com
To Publish Article On borkena, please send submission to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Telegram Channel : t.me/borkena
Join the conversation. Follow us on twitter @zborkena to get the latest Ethiopian news updates regularly. Like borkena on facebook as well. To share information or send a submission, use email@example.com