The State of Emergency (SoE) Inquiry Board which is composed of members from the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) accused Sudanese security personnel of perpetrating attacks on civilians after receiving bribes from members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The accusations came at a press briefing by the chairperson of the Inquiry Board, Lemma Tessema, at the parliament.
Lemma said that the Board received reports from refugees who returned from Sudan that the TPLF forces are bribing some Sudanese forces to plot and instigate assault against civilians.
Following the announcement of the SoE in Tigray on November 5, 2020, the Board was set up by the HPR to make sure that the implementation of the SoE is in accordance with the human rights protection provisions of the constitution as well as other international pacts the country is part of.
Qualifying the attacks as amounting to war crimes that can be brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Board urged the Ethiopian government to ensure the protection of civilian refugees in Sudan.
Lemma stated that the board visited various places where the TPLF security forces committed inhumane crimes against innocent civilians and the officers of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces. He said that the crimes committed against humanity are beyond their imagination and would make the perpetrators accountable to the ICC.
The report also indicated that several TPLF members and supporters, who have participated in the civilian massacre in Mai-kadra and other parts of the region, have escaped together with refugees to Sudan.
The chairman further stressed his concern over the situation of refugees in Sudan that fled the war and requested the government to take prompt action, and make sure that the people are safe.
In its report, the Board urged the government to hold the group ‘Samri’, aided and abetted by members of the then local administration and security establishments in Mai-kadra, responsible for the massacre of civilians and be charged based on both domestic and international criminal laws.
Furthermore, the Board revealed the deliberate killings of 20 civilians who were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Humera Hospital and the assassination of other six business owners in the city.
The report further requested the establishment of contacts between members of the army and their loved-ones and the provision of humanitarian support for the displaced. He also underscored that the hunt for the perpetrators of the crimes should be strengthened. Lemma also stressed the need for material and psychological support to the households who have lost their family members in the massacre. But he highlighted the importance of coordinated efforts in the provision of humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation.
According to the report, hospitalized victims of the conflict are receiving medical attention at the respective health facilities that hold them.
In a related news, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) also revealed that it would soon release reports on human rights violations and crimes against humanity that have occurred in various parts of the country including a follow-up report on the Mai-Kadra massacre, the mass killings of civilians in Oromia region following the killing of Hachalu Hundessa, the Benishangul Gumuz attacks as well as the incidents in Konso in the Southern Region.
In his keynote speech at the observance of the World Human Rights Day on Thursday at Inter-Continental Hotel, EHRC Commissioner, Daniel Bekele (PhD) said that the human rights issues have been worsening across the nation, which in most cases are the results of hatred and dispute among political actors.
By Yonas Abiye & Sisay Sahlu