Prosecutors demand life for war crimes suspect
Publish date: 13 November 2017
Issue Number: 751
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
In a rare move, Dutch prosecutors have called for a Dutch-Ethiopian national to be jailed for life for ‘an atrocious campaign’ of war crimes during Ethiopia's ‘Red Terror’ in the 1970s. ‘The gravity of the crimes and the interest of the victims and their relatives, call for a life sentence,’ the prosecution told the trial in The Hague. It said imposing a heavy sentence on Eshetu Alemu would ‘make clear to the international community how serious the alleged conduct of the suspect is’. A report on the News24 site notes that it said Alemu was ‘responsible for an atrocious campaign’ of war crimes ‘that include arbitrary detention, torture and killing of opponents of the 1970s revolutionary regime in Ethiopia’. The former aide to then ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam is also accused of torture and inhumane treatment. Legalbrief reports that Mariam was the chair of the Derg, the communist military junta that governed Ethiopia, from 1977 to 1987, and the President of the country from 1987 to 1991. The strongman was subsequently ousted in 1991 after a series of revolts by insurgent groups.