Part I: Reviews that should be made by the US Representatives

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18203.htm
Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life(2002)
The security forces committed many unlawful killings, including some alleged political killings during the year. The number of unlawful killings during the year was estimated to be between 1,000 and 1,500. There continued to be numerous unconfirmed reports of unlawful killings by government security forces from Oromiya and the Somali regions.
For example, on July 18, soldiers shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was returning home from a wedding party with four friends. The Government did not investigate the killing by year's end.
On July 21, soldiers shot and killed a 25-year-old driver who was walking back to his residence. The Government did not investigate the killing by year's end.
On November 10, the military opened fire on a crowd that began throwing stones at them, killing one person and injuring eight others, at a security checkpoint near Hartishek, outside the town of Jijiga in Somali region.
In December government security forces killed two persons in Kuraz Woreda in the town of Amorate, South Omo region.
During the year, the Government took no disciplinary action against members of the security forces responsible for the following 2001 killings: The January killing of 5 persons during riots between Christians and Muslims in Harar; the April killing of at least 31 Addis Ababa University (AAU) students during a violent demonstration; and the April killing of an Oromo Mekelle University student who had protested the violence at the AAU demonstrations.
During the year, the Government took no disciplinary action against members of the security forces responsible for the following 2000 killings: The February torturing and killing of two farmers in Soro; the March killing of a student who was attempting to assist another person who was being arrested; the March killing of Getu Driba in Ambo; the April killing of a student during a student demonstration in Dembi Dollo; the May killing of seven SEDPC supporters; and the December killing of a student during a demonstration in Awassa.
During the year, the Government completed its investigation of the 2000 case in which security forces killed two women in Hadiya zone while they were voting; however, the Government did not report on its findings or take any disciplinary action.
There was no action taken, nor any likely, against the persons responsible for the following 2000 and 2001 preelection and postelection killings: The January 2001 case in which rapid deployment forces of the federal and regional police killed 2 supporters during a meeting organized by the Council of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia (CAFPDE); the April 2001 case in which the army killed 4 Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Coalition (SEPDC) members in Badoacho, Shone Woreda; the case in which government forces killed at least 11 supporters of the SEPDC in the period leading up to the December 2001 elections; the 2000 case in which an EPRDF member killed 3 persons, including an opposition party election observer; the 2000 killing of 5 election observers, 1 opposition candidate, and 3 other persons when their cars either were struck by rockets or landmines; and the 2000 beating to death of a man detained allegedly in retaliation for election activities.
Security forces killed numerous persons while forcibly dispersing demonstrations during the year (see Sections 1.d. and 2.b.).
There were some deaths in custody during the year due to illness and disease (see Section 1.c.).
No action was taken, nor was any likely, in the July 2001 death in custody of an opposition party member who had been detained following the AAU student demonstration.
Government soldiers continued to operate in Somalia during the year (see Section 1.b.). No further information about the 2000 case of government soldiers killing two persons in Somaliland was available at year's end.
During the year, one person was killed by a landmine left over from the war with Eritrea. The U.N. reported that 64 persons died and 163 were injured by landmines in the Temporary Security Zone between January 2001 and November. In March a civilian demining unit began to survey and remove landmines from border areas.
On October 17, 4 children were killed in Higlo, in Gode Zone, after playing with unexploded ordnance left over from the 1977 war with Somalia.
On November 20, a child was killed and another seriously injured while playing with unexploded ordnance in a field near the town of Dire Dawa.
The OLF and ONLF continued to use landmines during the year. Some U.N. vehicles were hit by mines near Jigiga, resulting in injuries to personnel. On August 5, a bomb exploded at the Edom Hotel in the town of Jijiga, killing one person and injuring six others. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, although authorities believed the ONLF was responsible.
On September 11, a bomb killed four persons at the Tigray Hotel in Addis Ababa. The Government blamed the OLF for the attack and claimed to have arrested the perpetrators. The OLF denied responsibility for the attack.
There was no further information by year's end in the 2000 case in which landmines allegedly were used to derail a freight train near Nazareth or the 2001 arrests of five OLF members who allegedly committed the act.
Clashes between the Government and armed groups resulted in civilian deaths during the year. For example, on October 30, elements of the Ethiopian Patriotic Front, an armed Amhara dissident group, clashed with government troops; on November 5, they ambushed an army convoy killing 8 soldiers. Members of the army reportedly rounded up farmers in the area in retaliation for the killings, accused them of assisting the rebels, and summarily executed two residents. On October 31, the military killed 25 persons and injured 37 in fighting with elements of the ONLF, near the town of Luga on the Somalia border.
Ethnic clashes resulted in numerous deaths during the year (see Sections 2.d. and 5).
On February 19, bandits shot and killed a South African tourist at a roadblock outside Gondor.
According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), on July 22, armed men wearing masks forcibly removed four persons from their car, shot and killed three of them, including the head of the Southern Region's education bureau, and seriously injured the fourth between Awassa and Liku town. The identities of the armed men remained unknown; however, suspects in the killings were held incommunicado in a military camp in Awassa at year's end (see Section 2.b.).
On April 4, the Federal High Court convicted 10 Somalis, members of AIAI, for their role in 1995 and 1996 bombings.
The Federal High Court in Addis Ababa continued to arraign and prosecute 5,198 persons formally charged with genocide and other war crimes, including extrajudicial killings, under the previous Marxist Dergue regime (see Section 1.e.).
b. Disappearance
There were some reported cases of disappearances perpetrated by the Government during the year; however, none appeared to be politically motivated. In nearly all cases, security forces abducted persons without warrants and detained them in undisclosed locations for varying lengths of time ranging from weeks to months. For example, in response to the September 11 bombing at the Tigray Hotel in Addis Ababa (see Section 1.a.), on September 12, regional police officers took Mesfin Itana, an Oromo youth, from his place of work in the Merkato area because of suspected ties to the OLF. On September 13, police took several young Oromo businessmen from their places of work, and their whereabouts remained unknown at year's end. On September 18, the police took two brothers, Yilma Mosisa and Gdissa Mosisa, from their home, and their whereabouts also remained unknown at year's end.
On December 4, plainclothes policemen abducted well-known singer Raya Abamecha from his neighborhood in Addis Ababa. His whereabouts remained unknown at year's end.
During incursions into Somalia, government forces occasionally abducted persons. In one incident, government forces conducted an operation in southwest Somalia and captured a Somali colonel, who later was released.
There were reports in July that Anuak warriors abducted 32 Nuer IDPs from a bus taking them to Fugnido; the Government made little progress in its investigation of the disappearances, and the whereabouts of the 32 IDPs were unknown at year's end (see Section 2.d.).
The federal High Court in Addis Ababa continued to arraign and prosecute 5,198 persons charged with genocide and other war crimes under the previous regime, including the disappearance of 14,209 persons (see Section 1.e.).
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The Constitution prohibits the use of torture and mistreatment; however, there were several credible reports during the year that security officials often beat or mistreated detainees. There were reports that federal and local security forces harassed SEPDC supporters. Police also beat persons when intervening in clashes (see Section 2.c.).
In March there were reports from international refugee agencies that security forces detained and tortured three Sudanese refugees from the Fugnido camp in the Gambella Region (see Section 2.d.). There also were reports that the Government's refugee agency beat or otherwise physically abused Sudanese refugees in the Sherkole refugee camp during the year. By year's end, the Government refugee agency had failed to investigate credibly the allegations; however, the agency transferred to Addis Ababa one of its members accused of abusing refugees and placed him on "indefinite leave." The agency also agreed to a follow-up investigation comprised of agency representatives and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGO staff.
On August 4, local police in Addis Ababa forcibly drove away with batons approximately 800 runners participating in a 10 km road race organized by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) because the Addis Ababa Athletics Federation complained that the EAF lacked a municipal permit in a jurisdictional dispute. Dozens were injured as a result of the police intervention.On December 30, police dragged Oromo student activist Gelan Nedhi Chewaka from his dormitory at the University of Mekelle and beat him until he lost consciousness. Gelan was left for dead on the university campus where fellow students discovered him the following morning. His condition reportedly was grave at year's end.
No action was taken during the year against members of the security forces responsible for torturing, beating, or abusing persons in the following 2001 cases: The January injuring of approximately 20 persons when government soldiers attempted to restore order after a riot broke out between Muslims and Christians in Harar; the April beating and injuring of at least 253 persons during the demonstrations at AAU; the April reported beating of women and young children after the forcibly entry into their homes by officers during the AAU demonstrations; the April beating of students and opposition party members detained after the AAU demonstrations; and the April beating of a group of mothers who were attempting to visit their children detained at Sendafa.
No action was taken against members of the security forces responsible for torturing, beating, or abusing the persons in the following 2000 cases: The March injuring of students during a demonstration; the beating of a man who was detained allegedly in retaliation for election activities; and the December beating to death of a man in detention.
No action was taken against the security forces responsible for beating or abusing persons in the following 2001 preelection and postelection cases: The April beating of Ayele Amore, an SEPDC supporter, in Badoacho; the April injuring of four SEPDC members during clashes between the army and the SEPDC in Badoacho in the Shone Woreda; and the May beating of Selfamo Kintamo, an elderly supporter of the SEPDC and the uncle of a SEPDC parliamentarian, in Soro.
Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that security forces raped or sexually abused persons during arrests, detentions, or other government operations.
No action was taken against the security forces responsible for the June 2001 rape of two girls who took food to family members detained in Hosana or the July 2001 rape of a woman from Soro who was in temporary detention for her husband's involvement with the SEPDC.
Security forces injured numerous persons during the year while forcibly dispersing several demonstrations (see Section 2.b.).
There were more reports of injuries, and at least one reported death, caused by landmines (see Section 1.a.).
During the year, ethnic clashes resulted in numerous injuries (see Section 5).
Prison conditions were poor, and overcrowding remained a serious problem. Prisoners often were allocated fewer than 21.5 square feet of sleeping space in a room that could contain up to 200 persons. The daily meal budget was approximately 25 cents per prisoner per day. Prison food was inadequate, and many prisoners had family members deliver food every day or used their own funds to purchase food from local vendors. Prison conditions were unsanitary, and access to medical care was not reliable. There was no budget for prison facility maintenance. Prisoners typically were permitted daily access to prison yards, which often included working farms, mechanical shops, and rudimentary libraries. Prison letters must be written in Amharic, which made outside contact difficult for non-Amharic speakers; however, this restriction generally was not enforced.
Visitors generally were permitted; however, in September 50 detainees claimed that they were denied visits from relatives and friends. The SNNPS ordered the Federal Police Commission to correct its treatment of detainees involved in the May internecine clashes in Awassa after the Court considered claims from the 50 detainees of routine late night beatings by prison police. The detainees also complained of deliberate delays into the investigation of their cases and the suspension of their salaries.
There were some deaths in prison during the year due to illness and disease; however, no statistics on the number of deaths in prison were available at year's end.
Female prisoners were housed separately from men; however, juveniles sometimes were incarcerated with adults (see Section 5). Pretrial detainees often were detained separately from convicted prisoners at local police stations or in the limited Central Investigation Division (CID) detention facility in Addis Ababa until they were charged. By year's end, there still were 75 detainees at CID. The law requires that prisoners be transferred to federal prisons upon conviction; however, this requirement sometimes was not enforced in practice.
Approximately 2,000 Eritrean soldiers were captured as a result of fighting in 2000. Under ICRC auspices, the Government released and repatriated the last groups of POWs and civilian internees from the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict. A total of 1,188 Eritrean POWs and 774 civilians were repatriated during the year. All registered prisoners from the conflict were released by year's end.
The Government permitted independent monitoring of prisons and police stations by the ICRC and by diplomatic missions. The ICRC generally had access to federal and regional prisons, civilian detention facilities, and police stations throughout the country during the year. The ICRC was allowed to meet regularly with prisoners without third parties being present. In addition to visiting the CID detention facility which held numerous persons whose cases were under investigation at year's end, the ICRC was permitted to visit regularly all of the 29 police stations in Addis Ababa during the year. During the year, the ICRC received government permission to visit military detention facilities where suspected OLF fighters were detained. The Government generally gave the ICRC access to detention facilities that held Eritrean POWs, including the main camp at Dedesa. The ICRC also regularly visited civilian Eritrean nationals and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin detained on national security grounds. The ICRC also was permitted access to Zeway Prison, Showa Robit Prison, and other detention facilities; however, diplomats were not permitted access to these facilities.
Government authorities continued to permit diplomats to visit prominent detainees held by the SPO for alleged involvement in war crimes and terrorist activities, including former AAU President Alemayehu Tefera. In May Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA) President Taye Woldesemayat was released (see Section 1.d.). Mamo Wolde, former Dergue housing official and governor of Sidamo, who also was a 1968 Olympic marathon winner, was released in December 2001 after serving a 6-year sentence for murder but died a few months after his release (see Section 1.d.).
d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
The Constitution and both criminal and civil codes prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, the Government did not respect these rights in practice. Under the criminal procedure code, any person detained must be informed of the charges within 48 hours and, in most cases, be offered release on bail. Suspects of serious offenses could be detained for 14 days while police conducted an investigation, if a panel of judges ordered it, and for additional 14-day periods while the investigation continued. In practice and especially in the outlying regions, authorities regularly detained persons without a warrant, did not charge them within 48 hours, and, if persons were released on bail, never recalled them to court. The Government provided public defenders for detainees who were unable to afford private legal counsel, but only when their cases came before the court. While in detention, such detainees were not able to confer with legal counsel.
The Constitution provides that arrested persons have the right to be released on bail; however, bail was not available for some offenses, such as murder, treason, and corruption. In most cases, bail was set between $120 (1,000 birr) and $1,200 (10,000 birr).
There were reports that in small towns, persons were detained in police stations for long periods without access to a judge and that sometimes these persons' whereabouts were unknown for several months.
The Government continued its harassment of teachers during the year, particularly in Oromiya. According to the ETA, approximately 142 teachers were detained and accused of being OLF sympathizers, many of whom still were in prison at year's end. For example, in Wollega Zone, 28 teachers were arrested and held for varying lengths of time before being released on bail. In the town of Ambo, West Shewa Zone, 4 teachers were imprisoned, and in Sendafa, North Shewa Zone, 7 teachers were arrested and later released in cases related to the April student unrest in Oromiya schools (see Section 2.b.). The ETA also claimed that government authorities detained, threatened, and later released dozens of teachers from West Shewa Zone, Harari Region, Hadia, Dersahe Special Woreda, and Konso for their involvement in a February ETA conference in Awassa.
Thousands of criminal suspects remained in detention without charge; many of the detainees were accused of involvement in OLF violent activities or were arrested after the April 2001 student demonstrations. Some detainees were held for years without being charged. Such cases were remanded at least 10 to 15 times, for 2 weeks each time, and courts allowed police to conduct investigations that continued for months. In addition, judges were shifted among cases, judges failed to show up for hearings, or new judges were not reassigned upon the death or incapacity of assigned judges in time for hearing dates. Detention conditions remained poor.
Police detained journalists during the year (see Section 2.a.).
Police detained persons for holding illegal meetings and demonstrations during the year, and several persons detained in previous years for illegal meetings and demonstrations remained in detention at year's end (see Section 2.b.).
In March security forces detained and tortured three Sudanese refugees (see Section 1.c.).
In response to attacks by armed opposition groups operating out of Somalia and Kenya (see Section 1.a.), the military again conducted operations in and around border areas during the year. The Government denied the presence of its military in those countries. These operations resulted in the capture and detention of hundreds of opposition fighters and their suspected supporters on both sides of these borders. The vast majority of these incidents took place in the Oromiya and Somali regional states. Several thousand persons allegedly associated with armed opposition groups remained in detention at year's end. Most detainees were accused of participating in armed actions by the OLF or the ONLF. In typical cases, security forces arrested and held these persons incommunicado for several days or weeks before eventually releasing them. For example, on April 9, security forces arrested at least 60 members of the OLF for conspiring to commit terrorist acts in Oromia. Following the June bombing of the Dire Dawe train station, police detained many young Oromo males without warrants for questioning. Among those detained was Dinkinesh Deressa Kitila, an employee of Total/Elf oil company, who was arrested on June 7, and held at Karchale central prison on suspicion of being an OLF supporter. After the September bombing of the Tigray Hotel in Addis Ababa, the Government blamed the OLF and detained dozens of suspected OLF sympathizers without warrants (see Section 1.a.). The Government released some 600 OLF fighters during the year.Parliamentary immunity protected members of the House from arrest or prosecution except in the act of committing a crime ("flagrante delicto"). The two representatives of the SEPDC in the Regional Council, who were arrested in 2001 on charges of inciting violence without having their parliamentary immunity formally revoked, were released on bail during the year. A third parliamentarian who was charged separately in connection with the killing of a police officer and whose immunity was revoked, remained in hiding at year's end.
In April the court remanded until February 2003 the May 2001 case of Berhanu Nega and Mesfin Woldemariam, two prominent academics and human rights activists, and charged them with inciting the AAU students to riot.
Moga Frissa, arrested in October 2001 on charges of subversion and alignment with a terrorist organization, remained free on bail with charges still pending at year's end. Aberra Aguma also remained free on bail.
On May 14, President Dr. Taye Woldesemayat was released from prison after 6 years in detention after the Supreme Court, under international pressure, overturned the lower court's 1999 conviction for treason. The charges for membership in an illegal organization were not overturned, and Taye was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Charges against four other co-defendants were dropped.In the months immediately before the 2001 regional elections, authorities harassed and detained supporters of parties belonging to the SEPDC opposition coalition. Numerous SEPDC supporters who authorities in the Southern Region detained in retaliation for voting for the opposition in the 2000 national elections were released, and nine SEPDC candidates for office remained in detention at year's end. The 104 persons still in detention at the end of 2001 were split between Hosana and Durame prisons. Since May when 15 detainees were released on bail, another 16 detainees in Hosana were ordered released upon payment of $1,200 each (10,000 birr); however, all 16 remained in Hosana prison unable to post bail. In cases related to the elections, 38 SEPDC supporters were serving between 1-and 4-year sentences in Durame prison; another 16 SEPDC members arrested in part for illegal assembly in Durame remained in detention in Durame prison. The nine other SEPDC members who were detained for 3 years in connection with a murder in Siraro prison, Eastern Oromiya Zone, were released in December from Addis Ababa Central Prison because no evidence was found linking them to the crime (see Section 3).
During the year, approximately 50 elders, teachers, and civil servants charged with subversion following the 1999 student demonstrations were released.
The following detainees remained in custody at year's end: Alazar Dessie, an American citizen working as a consultant to the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, who was arrested for abusing his power and has been awaiting trial for more than 1½ years while not ever having been charged formally; 24 businessmen and government officials, including Seye Abraha and Bitew Belay, who were arrested in 2001 under allegations of corruption but never were charged formally; the official driver of the Eritrean Embassy, who was arrested in August 2001 and whose whereabouts remained unknown; 600 criminal detainees in the Oromiya region who were not charged, pending ongoing investigations; and 37 Oromos arrested in 1997 for their alleged involvement in OLF terrorist acts.
Several detainees at the Gondar Prison complained to government officials that they were detained without charge, some for years, while the police investigated their cases. Muche Berihun, who was charged with murder although the person whom he allegedly murdered was killed after he was detained, had been held in solitary confinement for 3½ years. In June his hearing began, and the court adjourned it until February 2003. He remained in detention at year's end. Wondante Mesfin has been in detention in Nefas Mewcha Prison in South Gondar Zone since 1994 and never has appeared in court nor been charged formally.
In 1997 the SPO formally charged 128 defendants with politically motivated genocide dating back to the 1976 "Red Terror" (see Section 1.e.). During the year, the Government acquitted 69 defendants and released 392 prisoners for lack of evidence. In December 2001, former Olympian Mamo Wolde, an official under the Derg regime, was released after serving a 6-year sentence for the state-sponsored killing of several teenage boys (see Section 1.c.). The trial of former AAU president Alemeyehu Tefera, imprisoned since 1993, was pending at year's end. At year's end, witnesses still were being heard and evidence taken in the ongoing trials. Opposition groups alleged that some of the persons detained by the SPO were held for political reasons, and the Government denied that it held persons for political reasons.
The last group of approximately 200 civilian detainees of Eritrean origin who had been held at Dedesa internment camp were repatriated to Eritrea in November under ICRC auspices, and the Dedesa camp was closed. During the year, the Government transferred 219 Eritrean military deserters who also had been held at the Dedesa detention center to a refugee camp in northern Ethiopia (see Section 2.d.).
The ICRC participated in all repatriations to Eritrea, and under ICRC auspices, 1,188 POWs and 774 civilians were repatriated to Eritrea during the year (see Section 2.d.).
Exile was prohibited, and the Constitution provides that citizens shall not be deprived of their nationality against their wills. There were no reports of forced exile during the year. A number of persons remained abroad in self-imposed exile, including 43 journalists (see Section 2.a.). The Government stopped deporting forcibly Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin after it signed the cessation of hostilities agreement with Eritrea in June 2000.
Approximately 317 Ethiopian students who arrived in Kenya in 2001 following the April riots at Addis Ababa University were granted refugee status and remained at the Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya at year's end. There was no new information during the year about students who reportedly fled to Djibouti after the April riots at AAU.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, the judiciary remained weak and overburdened. Although the federal and regional courts continued to show signs of judicial independence, in practice severe shortages of adequately trained personnel in many regions, as well as serious financial constraints, combined to deny many citizens the full protections provided in the Constitution.
Consistent with the Constitution, the Government continued to decentralize and restructure the judiciary along federal lines with the establishment of courts at the district (woreda), zonal, and regional levels. The federal High Court and federal Supreme Court heard and adjudicated original and appeal cases involving federal law, transregional issues, and national security. The regional judiciary increasingly was autonomous, with district, zonal, high, and supreme courts mirroring the structure of the federal judiciary. There were two three-judge benches at the High Court level to handle criminal cases. The SPO delegated some of the war crimes trials to the supreme courts in the regions where the crimes allegedly were committed, which increased the efficiency of the process.
Regional offices of the federal Ministry of Justice monitored local judicial developments, and the regional courts had jurisdiction over both local and federal matters, but the federal judicial presence in the regions was limited nevertheless. Anecdotal evidence suggested that some local officials believed they were not accountable to a higher authority.
To remedy the severe lack of experienced staff in the judicial system, the Government continued to identify and train lower court judges and prosecutors, although officials acknowledged that the pay scale offered did not attract the required numbers of competent professionals. Senior government officials charged with judicial oversight estimated that the creation of a truly independent and skilled judicial apparatus would take decades. The Government welcomed foreign financial and technical assistance to accelerate this process. Pending the passage by regional legislatures of laws particular to their region, all judges will be guided by the federal procedural and substantive codes.
According to the Constitution, accused persons have the right to a public trial by an ordinary court of law within a reasonable time after having been charged. Accused persons have the right to be represented by legal counsel of their choice. However, in practice, lengthy pretrial detention was common, closed proceedings occurred, and at times, detainees were allowed little or no contact with their legal counsel (see Section 1.d.). Defendants did not enjoy a presumption of innocence in practice, although the Constitution provides for it in theory. The public defender's office provides legal counsel to indigent defendants, although its scope remained severely limited, especially with respect to trials of the SPO. The law does not allow the defense access to prosecutorial evidence before the trial.
The Constitution provides legal standing to some preexisting religious and customary courts and gives federal and regional legislatures the authority to recognize other courts. By law all parties to a dispute must agree before a customary or religious court may hear a case. Shari'a (Islamic) courts may hear religious and family cases involving Muslims. In addition, other traditional courts still functioned. Although not sanctioned by law, these courts resolved disputes for the majority of citizens who lived in rural areas and who generally had little access to formal judicial systems.The outbreak of hostilities with Eritrea adversely impacted the military justice system. Most foreign assistance to train officers and noncommissioned officers was suspended at the same time that the rapid expansion of the military greatly increased the need for trained military lawyers and judges. This training need remained unmet by year's end.
The SPO was established in 1992 to create an historical record of the abuses committed during the Mengistu Government and to bring to justice those criminally responsible for human rights violations. The SPO had the authority to arrest and interrogate anyone suspected of involvement in the Red Terror Campaign under Mengistu. The federal High Court considered the cases of 2,658 defendants accused of genocide, war crimes, and aggravated homicide. Trials began in 1994 and continued during the year; however, the process was subject to frequent and lengthy adjournments. Court appointed attorneys, sometimes with inadequate skills and experience, represented many of the defendants, following claims that they could not afford an adequate defense. The SPO reported that as of April 30, of the 6,426 defendants who were awaiting trial, 2,952 were tried in absentia, including former dictator Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, who remained in exile in Zimbabwe. A total of 1,569 cases had decisions handed down; of these 1,017 persons were convicted. During the year, the Government acquitted 69 defendants and released 392 prisoners for lack of evidence. In October the Federal High Court announced that all the cases of defendants indicted on charges of genocide and crime against humanity would be completed by September 2003. Cases were handled more quickly than in previous years; however, most cases still were in progress at year's end (see Section 1.d.). In 2001 the SPO opened a new case against persons accused of participating in the 1987 Hawzein Massacre; the majority of those named in the file have been charged already with other offenses. There was no further information on the status of this case by year's end.
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home or Correspondence
The law requires judicial search warrants to search private property; however, in practice warrants seldom were obtained outside of Addis Ababa.
There continued to be reports that police forcibly entered the homes of civilians. There also were reports that security forces took persons from their homes in the middle of the night without warrants.
Property and money belonging to the ETA that was seized following the arrest of Dr. Taye had not yet been returned to the ETA (see Section 1.d.). The next hearing regarding ETA property seized by the Government was set for March 2003.
At year's end, police had not returned confiscated documents taken during a May 2001 raid on EHRCO's offices in violation of a revised court order.
The Government arbitrarily monitored private communication such as Internet communications and cellular phone conversations. All electronic communications facilities were state-owned.
There were credible reports during the year of the forced displacement of families in rural areas. One displaced farmer said that in April, in the Abe Dongero Woreda in East Wellega Zone of Oromiya, the woreda administrator allegedly ordered the forced eviction of approximately 250 Amhara persons from their land to make the land available to a business investor. An Oromia Regional Government official acknowledged that a problem existed in the woreda and that the Government was studying the issue.
In July there were credible reports from the EHRCO that the Government, in an attempt to "clean up" Addis Ababa, forcibly resettled approximately 200 homeless persons to an area nearly 30 miles outside of the city. In September city bulldozers demolished approximately 10,000 shacks.
There were more credible reports during the year from EHRCO and opposition parties that in certain rural areas, local officials used threats of land redistribution and withholding of food aid and fertilizer to garner support for the ruling coalition. There also were credible reports that teachers and other government workers have had their employment terminated if they were not of the dominant ethnic group in their region. According to the SEPDC, some SEPDC supporters were suspended or dismissed from their jobs in retaliation for voting for the opposition in the 2000 elections (see Section 3).People from rural areas suffering from famine and drought who came to Addis Ababa sometimes were returned forcibly to their villages. In December approximately 300 famine victims from Western Hararghe Zone of Oromia Region were ordered by security forces to return to their villages. When they refused, security forces rounded them up and forcefully transported them in buses back to their villages.
The Family Law Code imposes a 6-month waiting period on anyone seeking to remarry following a divorce or the death of one's spouse (see Section 5). The Government maintained that this waiting period was necessary to determine whether a woman may still be carrying the child of her former spouse.
Security forces detained family members of persons sought for questioning by the Government.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at7:48 PM

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