The EPRDF Regime found Mengistu guilty of genocide

December 12th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

BBC | Dec. 11, 2006:- Ethiopia’s ex-Marxist ruler, Mengistu Haile Mariam, has been found guilty of genocide after a 12-year trial.The former leader has been in exile in Zimbabwe since 1991 and was tried in absentia. Eleven co-defendants were also found guilty.Ethiopia’s Federal High Court also found them guilty of imprisonment, homicide and confiscation of property.

In a notorious campaign – known as the Red Terror – thousands of suspected opponents were rounded up and executed.Their bodies were then tossed onto the streets.The judge is not expected to deliver sentences immediately. They could face the death penalty.Thirty-four members of Mengistu’s junta are in court and 27 more are being tried in absentia.The evidence against Mengistu, who is nearly 70, included signed execution orders, videos of torture sessions and personal testimonies.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has so far refused requests to extradite Mengistu to Ethiopia.

Mengistu was among low-ranking officers who came to power in 1974 when they overthrew Ethiopia’s last Emperor, Haile Selassie.
The emperor had failed to come to grips with a poor harvest, and the situation escalated into a devastating famine.The young officers formed a provisional military committee, known as the Dergue.Mengistu soon emerged as the leader, shooting a fellow officer who wanted to make peace with the province of Eritrea, which was seeking independence.In the confusion following the emperor’s death the government became embroiled in bitter clashes with students and leftist rivals.Mengistu responded by brutally suppressing the unrest.
Declaring Ethiopia a Socialist People’s Republic, he turned to the Soviet Union, which backed him in fighting an invasion from Somalia.But the war in Eritrea rumbled on, and rebellion erupted in the province of Tigray.
Moscow re-armed the Ethiopian army, but it gradually crumbled until in 1991 the combined Eritrean and Tigrayan forces were on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa.Mengistu then fled to Zimbabwe, where his friend, Robert Mugabe gave him sanctuary.

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