The Hague’s Court of Appeal Wednesday upheld the conviction and life sentence of a former Ethiopian official who was convicted of 75 extrajudicial executions committed under Ethiopia’s Derg regime.
The Court of Appeal’s specialized international section convicted Eshetu Alemu for his participation in the regime of former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and for taking part in a campaign known as the Red Terror. During the Red Terror, many innocent people were arrested arbitrarily on false charges and were subjected to torture and cruelty. Later, without any fair trial, they were executed in a barbaric manner.
The court ruled that, between 1977 and 1978, “a number of war crimes were committed with the knowledge and participation of the defendant.” The court also ordered compensatory damages for victims.
In 2017 the Hague’s District Court convicted Alemu of war crimes and sentenced him to life imprisonment for his participation in the executions of 75 people, including children under 18, in the 1970s. Human Rights Watch in its 2017 report stated the incident as one of the most prominent systematic compositions of mass executions by a state ever witnessed in Africa and reported over 150,000 students, academics, and political opponents were killed during the period.