Members of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva must reject efforts by the Ethiopian government to prematurely terminate the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) which is looking into war crimes and other abuses in the country, Amnesty International said today.
Attempts to end the work of the ICHREE demonstrate the Ethiopian government’s lack of commitment to delivering justice for the millions who have suffered gross human rights violationsFlavia Mwangovya, Deputy Regional Director, East and Southern Africa
“It is very concerning that Ethiopia wants to end the work of the ICHREE. The Ethiopian government’s efforts demonstrate its lack of commitment to delivering justice for the millions who have suffered gross human rights violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, during the conflict in northern Ethiopia,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Flavia Mwangovya.
Last month Ethiopia said it will table a resolution at United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, which is currently in session, to terminate the mandate of the ICHREE.
Flavia Mwangovya said: “Discontinuing the mandate of the ICHREE will undermine the integrity of the Council. There will be serious consequences for the credibility of the Human Rights Council, and its approach to serious human rights situations in the global south, if its members agree with the Ethiopian government and vote to end the work of the ICHREE.”
Amnesty International is concerned by a recent statement by Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister, who said the ICHREE’s work could undermine the African Union-led peace process and the implementation of the Peace Agreement with “inflammatory rhetoric”.
Discontinuing the mandate of the ICHREE will undermine the integrity of the UN Human Rights CouncilFlavia Mwangovya
Flavia Mwangovya said: “The statement by the deputy prime minister gives a false dichotomy that peace cannot co-exist with justice and accountability.
The reality is that the ICHREE can play a vital role in paving the way towards a genuine, participatory, inclusive, contextualized, and human rights compliant justice process that ensures justice and reparation for all victims and survivors of atrocities in Ethiopia.
“The ICHREE should be allowed to fulfil its full mandate and be able to access all areas in the country, including the Oromia Region, where there are reports of numerous cases of human rights abuses and violations.”
“Members of the UN Human Rights Council should be united and clear that they will reject any resolution that threatens the mandate of the ICHREE.”
In December 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council established ICHREE, to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Ethiopia since conflict broke out in the north in November 2020. The mandate of the commission was renewed in 2022 to run until September 2023.
In September 2022, an ICHREE report found reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict committed serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law, many of which may amount to war crimes, across northern Ethiopia between November 2020 and January 2022.
Amnesty International believes that no credible accountability mechanisms currently exist in Ethiopia and that the country’s legal framework and justice system will not be able to fully deliver justice, truth, and reparations for gross human rights violations, both past and present. The work of the ICHREE is therefore crucial if victims of grave international crimes are to have access to justice.