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Ethiopia charges ENDF top generals over Tigray war

The federal government of Ethiopia has identified a number of Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] top soldiers who are directly linked to the ongoing crimes against humanity in the Tigray region, following pressure from members of the international community.

For the last eight months, ENDF soldiers along with those from Eritrea and the Amhara regional forces have been camping in the Tigray region, where they have been unleashing against Tigray People’s Liberation Front [TPLF]. However, reports indicate that the troops have also been killing innocent civilians.

The war was triggered following an alleged attack by TPLF in Northern Command, and subsequent firing of rockets against the Eritreans by the TPLF. Thousands of people may have died in the war according to multiple reports by several international organizations.

According to state media Fana, Attorney General Dr. Temotiwos outlined activities related to investigations and prosecutions against the TPLF as well as members of the National Defense Forces who have been suspected of alleged crimes.

The Attorney General Dr. Temotiwos said the TPLF through its leadership established the Tigray military command and this military outfit was organized, staffed, and commanded by retired generals from the Ethiopian national defense force.

This illegal force had 8 divisions and one mechanized unit and 23 regiments. The terrorist TPLF has played an active role in organizing and financing this illegal force, he said.

The TPLF also organized, armed, and financed different armed forces in different parts of the country including the Afar, Oromia, Amhara, and Benishangul regional states to destabilize the nation.

Dr. Gedion explained that on November 4, 2021, the illegal force organized by the TPLF group attacked the Northern Command of the National Defense Force. The illegal force also attacked the federal police in Mekelle city and other places and demolished several infrastructures in the region.

Federal prosecutors are currently in the process of having such evidence recorded by the federal first instance court. Once we have finalized the process of entering these evidence and testimonies, the appropriate charge will be pressed at the federal high court.

The above set of facts that have been ascertained by investigations constitute serious crimes. Several suspects who have believed to have had in the commission of these crimes are believed to outreached the constitutional order, armed uprising, and civil war impairment the defensive power of the state and crime of terrorism.

The other focus of investigation and prosecution is focused on the killing of civilians and cases of sexual assaults or rape.

Investigation into the above allegations has been carried out by different entities. The military justice system, the regional police and prosecutors, and federal police justice system and investigators, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission have jointly carried out the investigation parallel to the criminal investigation, the Attorney General said.

The Ethiopian National Defense military prosecutors and the police have conducted their own investigation and so far they have pressed charges against 28 soldiers who have been suspected of killing civilians in places where there was no military necessity. The trial of these suspects is underway and things are expected to be handed down shortly.

Furthermore, the military prosecutors have pressed charges against 25 soldiers who have been suspected of committing acts of sexual violence and rape. The trials of these suspects are also underway, he added.

So far there have been four convictions and several investigations that are well underway, he said. Regional police and prosecutors have also received several complaints and sexual assault in several parts of the regional state.

In connection with the Maikadra massacre, 200 witnesses were taken and after examining forensic results using a medical team of forensic experts, the investigation team has ascertained that more than 200 individuals have been killed and several victims have sustained severe serious injuries.

The investigation team has identified around 200 individuals who are believed to have taken part in the commission of these crimes. While most of the suspects are believed to have fled to Sudan, around 23 suspects have been apprehended and charges have been pressed against the suspects at the federal high court, and their trial is already underway, he added.

He further reiterated the commitment of the federal government to ensure accountability for all violations of pertinent local and international laws. Some horrible images published by AP show photos of young people who have lost limbs and even hands in the ongoing war.

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