The Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia says it has reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government of Ethiopia and its allies have committed crimes against humanity in Tigray region.
In its report, the Commission states that some of these crimes are ongoing and will increase the risk of further atrocity crimes.
“After a five-month cessation of hostilities, fighting resumed last month between the Federal Government and its allies, and forces backing the TPLF. That fighting appears to be intensifying. Credible sources indicate an escalation in drone attacks employing explosive weapons,” the Commission says.
Commission Chairperson Kaari Betty Murungi says their report finds reasonable grounds to believe that parties to the conflict have committed serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law since November 2020.
“We have consistently sought to engage with the Federal Government of Ethiopia, and we were pleased to meet with them and other stakeholders in a visit to Addis Ababa in July of this year. Our meetings were constructive. Yet, despite the Council’s request to all parties to provide the Commission with unhindered access, and the good will expressed during our mission, we deeply regret that the Federal Government did not grant the Commission access to any areas outside of Addis Ababa,” the Commission affirmed.
According to the Commission there is now a suspension of humanitarian access into Tigray since late August 2022 as well as reports of involvement by Eritrean forces along the border.
Murungi said, “We have reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and its allies have looted and destroyed goods indispensable for the survival of the civilian population in Tigray, killing livestock, destroying food stores, and razing crops while also implementing severe restrictions on humanitarian access to Tigray.”
The Commission further says it has reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government is committing the war crime of using starvation as a method of warfare. We received information indicating that Tigrayan forces have looted or otherwise misappropriated humanitarian aid.
“Our report finds reasonable grounds to believe that the Ethiopian Air Force committed war crimes, including intentionally directing an attack against civilians, when it struck a camp for internally displaced persons in Dedebit with an armed drone in January 2022, killing around 60 civilians, including many children,” She said.
The Commission has called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law for the protection of civilians.
It has also recommended for the investigation and prosecution of members of the forces who have committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Ethiopia.
“The Federal Government of Ethiopia must ensure full, unfettered and sustained humanitarian access to Tigray,” the Commission said.