Editor’s note : the views in the article reflect the views of the writer, not the views of borkena.com
Yonas Biru, PhD
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for war crimes for Vladimir Putin and another Russian official, accusing both of abducting and deporting Ukrainian children to Russia, since Russia unleashed a full-scale aggression and invasion on Ukraine.
The ICC stated: “There are reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
It warrants noting that Russia has withdrawn its ICC signatory status, in 2016. Keeping this in mind, let us turn to Ethiopia and compare the crimes of PM Abiy Ahmed and Debretsion Gebreselassie (Chair of TPLF and President of the Tigray regional state) during the Tigray war.
Let us start with the crimes of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) aided by Eritrean, Amhara, and other Ethiopian regional forces. The US formally accused the ENDF, as well as Eritrean and Amhara forces of committing crimes against humanity in Tigray. Similar allegations are echoed by international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International (AI).
Two points need to be mentioned. First, Ethiopia, like Russia, is not a signatory of the ICC statute. Second, neither the US government, nor the AI mentioned Ethiopian regional forces other than Amhara forces, even though all regions have sent regional special forces to the Tigray war front.
The US government accused all sides including the ENDF, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) as well as Eritrean and Amhara forces of committing “war crimes, including rapes, massacres of civilians, forcible deportations and ethnic cleansing.” Antony Blinken stated: “Many of these actions were not random or a mere byproduct of war – they were calculated and deliberate.”
There are equally sadistic crimes committed by TPLF and TDF against Tigrayan children that the international community has willfully ignored. The Chair of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebreselassie is on the record, announcing the TPLF would make the conflict a “people’s war starting with the children.” The Organization for World Peace, has confirmed “the TPLF uses child soldiers for the purpose of human shields against attacks.”
As reported by BBC, Getachew Reda, TPLF’s spokesperson during the war confirmed that there were underage fighters among TPLF’s military ranks. An investigative report by Professor Ann Gerald-Fitz revealed: “A family would be denied any aid, and family members will be imprisoned if they refuse to offer their children for war.” A recently intercepted military communication exposed that the standing order is to shoot those who retreat or run to save their lives.
Most of the hundreds of thousands of Tigrayan combatants who died were children – many of them under the age of 16.
The question is: What explains the decision to issue an arrest warrant against Putin for abducting thousands of Ukrainian children and taking them to Russia when TPLF and the ENDF, Eritrea and Amhara forces are accused of committing far more heinous crimes?
Are the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tigrayan, Amhara and Afar children valued less than the human rights of thousands of Ukrainian children? Evidently, this is a factor. But this is not all.
In June, the AP News reported “the African Union quietly dropped its own probe into the war’s atrocities, after extensive lobbying by Ethiopia.”
Today, the Guardian reported the UN is allowing the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia to expire later this month, after a deadline passed to table a resolution renewing it to the UN Human Rights Council. The newspaper noted: “The deadline expired a day after investigators had stressed the need to continue the work, saying there was ‘an overwhelming risk human rights atrocities would continue in Ethiopia’ without them.”
The most important question is why aren’t Ethiopians (most importantly Amhara and Tigrayans) not protesting?
Sadly, Tigrayans do not do anything without getting a campaign cue from the TPLF. The TPLF leaders do not want the investigation to continue because they know the heinous crime they have committed.
How about Amharas? Amharas are prisoners of “the #NoMore” idiocy. They are suspicious of the international community. Their fear is that Amhara Special Forces and Fannos will be unfairly accused by international investigators. How stupid! How idiotic! How hermitized!
Unless Ethiopians launch an international campaign for international investigation, Ethiopians will continue to suffer crime against humanity, war crime and even genocide.
Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com
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