Prosecutors demand life for Ethiopian war crimes suspect

Presiding Judge Renckens, center, opens the court session in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in the case against a Dutch national of Ethiopian descent for alleged war crimes committed during the 1970's regime in Ethiopia. (AP)
Updated 08 November 2017

Prosecutors demand life for Ethiopian war crimes suspect

THE HAUGE: In a rare move, Dutch prosecutors Wednesday 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.
Imposing such a sentence on the suspect, Eshetu Alemu, 63, would “also make clear to the international community how serious the alleged conduct of the suspect is.”
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.”
It “was intended to eradicate all opposition” to the then ruling Marxist-Leninist junta known as the Derg, prosecutors added in a statement.
“The nature and scale of the violence are hard to grasp,” they said, identifying Alemu as a representative for the military regime of former Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in northwestern Gojjam province.
“The case consists of a series of horrors that were purposely inflicted on people. The accused acted as master over life and death,” the prosecutors added.
Alemu has denied four charges of war crimes contained in a 100-page indictment, which includes the names of 321 victims — many of them high-school students.
Among them were 75 people killed in one night in a church in August 1978 whose bodies were then dumped in a mass grave.
But Alemu told the opening of his trial last month that he had never given any orders to execute political opponents.
“I do not recognize the role that has been assigned to me personally,” he said.


Two killed, 35 wounded in Baghdad protests: Police, medics

Updated 30 min 50 sec ago

Two killed, 35 wounded in Baghdad protests: Police, medics

  • One protester died immediately after a tear gas canister hit his head and another died in hospital from wounds from a stun bomb fired by security forces
  • More than 300 people have been killed since Oct. 1, as security forces have fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at crowds of protesters
BAGHDAD: Security forces killed two protesters and wounded 35 others in Baghdad on Thursday, police and medical sources said, as thousands of Iraqis continued a wave of anti-government protests.

One protester died immediately after a tear gas canister hit his head and another died in hospital from wounds from a stun bomb fired by security forces, police and hospital sources said.

More than 300 people have been killed since Oct. 1, as security forces have fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at crowds of protesters.