THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA
FIFTH REPORT
June 3, 1993

1. Introduction

It may be recalled that so far the Ethiopian Human Rights Council had no cause for complaint. Except for harassment in the media, nothing of any real significance happened to EHRCO or its members. But conditions seem to be changing quite fast. Therefore, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council would like to bring to the attention of the national and international public a few facts that seem to indicate new developments. First, two members of EHRCO, Ato Tesfaye Taddese and Ato Ashennafi Abeje, disappeared on the same day, May 20, 1993. To this day their families do not have any idea of where these persons are. Second, the apartment next to the Chairperson's was broken into and occupied by persons who presumably are outside and above the law. These facts may be totally unrelated. But we would like to record them. This is the fifth time that the Ethiopian Human Rights Council is reporting on the human rights situation in Ethiopia. It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian Human Rights Council had, in its previous reports, outlined various violations of human rights. There is almost no case of human rights violation which produced investigation with the purpose of bringing the perpetrators to justice in accordance with the laws of the country. This is a clear indication of the fact that human rights violations are allowed to continue with impunity in this tragic country. We can talk about the establishment of an independent judicial system and the rule of law taking root in the country only if and when wrong-doers are brought to justice for a fair trial. If violation of human rights are tolerated or are allowed to continue with impunity, then all talk about the rule of law and due process becomes meaningless.

The Council of Representatives of the Transitional Government in its 67th regular session (April 20, 1993) has ratified two important international instruments for the protection of human rights. These are: a) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and b) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The ratification of these two international instruments is a positive step that EHRCO welcomes. In order to make the human rights provisions embodied in these two international covenants operative, they have to be included in the appropriate municipal laws of the country. As EHRCO repeatedly reiterated, its objective in making the human rights violations public is not to discredit the government, but rather to act as a watch-dog in alerting the government to take appropriate rectification measures with regard to violations of human rights. It is to be remembered that the Ethiopian people have undergone untold sufferings under the previous government. Practices which would lead to the same kind of condition have to be brought to a halt. EHRCO believes that it is the primary function of the government to take appropriate legal measures to bring violators of human rights to justice and make conditions favourable for the observance and protection of human rights.

This Fifth Report is prepared taking into account the complaints received from December 10 to May 23, 1993. The report is based on concrete evidences and it is free from any kind of hearsay.

2. Defying Court Orders

The following persons who were restrained applied for habeas corpus to the Central High Court and the High Court, after due consideration of their application, ordered their immediate release without any bail. Although orders both from the High Court and the Special Prosecutor's Office (SPO) were given to Holeta Prison, the unlawfully restrained persons still languish in the prison.

Name of Detainees

File No.

Date of Order Issued

File No.

Date of Order Issued by the SPO

Ato Mesfin Aberra  

361/85  

March 31/93

4/12/85

April 1/93

Ato Tammene Demisse  

287/85  

April 2/93

10/14/85

April 5/93

Ato Suliman Husen  

465/85  

April 2/93

27/55/85

April 8/93

Ato Taddese Areddo  

478/85  

April 2/93

4/125/85

April 2/93

Ato Aseffa Alemu  

470/85  

April 2/93

4/125/85

April 2/93

Ato Ghetachew Kebbede  

494/85  

April 5/93

17/30/85

April 5/93

Ato Aweqe Terrene  

409/85  

April 7/93

28/54/85

April 8/93

Ato Ghetahun W/Gabriel  

501/85  

April 5/93

20/39/85

April 7/93

Ato Befeqadu Taye  

477/85  

April 5/93

21/40/85

April 7/93


3. Extrajudicial Execution

The following persons have been killed by members of EPRDF forces.

No  

Name of
Person Killed

Date Killed

Place killed

1.  

Std. Taddese Melaku  

Oct. 25/1993  

Wonchi Hale
Keyan Q. PA.
 

2.  

Ato Zelleqe leta  

Dec. 5/1993  

A.A. K. 19 Q. 54  

3.  

Ato Zewdu Yimer  

Dec. 21/1993  

A.A. K. 5 Q. 07  

4.  

Ato Ghirma Abate  

Jan. 18/1993  

A.A. K. 2 Q. 09  

5.  

Std. Senayit Aberra  

Jan. 31/1983  

A.A. K. 13 Q. 02  

6.  

Std. Tsegaye Adera  

Feb. 13/1983  

A.A. K. 21 Q.14  

7.  

Cap. Guta Atomsa  

Feb. 15/1983  

In Ambo  

8.  

Wzo. Yeshi Feyisa  

Feb. 22/1983  

A.A. K. 15 Q.27  

9.  

Sub-L. Samuel Mosisa  

May 13/1983  

Nekemte Q. 07  

10.  

Ato Yilma Mammo  

May 16/1983  

A.A. K.9 Q.07  

11.  

Ato Lemmessa Irko  

May 7/1983  

In Gore  

12.  

Ato Abraham Abate*  

May 2/1983  

A.A. K. 18 Q.06  


* The person who killed Ato Abraham Abate is under arrest. For the first time, the government has expressed its preparedness to bring to justice a member of the security forces for such an act. EHRCO would like to believe that Ato Abraham's death, although regrettable, marks a real and sincere change towards the rule of law.

4. Extra-Judicial Killing Of Prisoners

Everyone has the right to life, freedom and the security of person. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. Nevertheless, the following persons who were detained for unknown reasons in the police station of Nifas Mewcha (South Gonder Administrative Region) were extra-judicially killed at different times. These persons were not even given the right to appear before the Court.

1.  

Teacher Sisay Ghetinnet  

Teacher of Aqabe Elem School  

2.  

Student Menghesha Taddese  

A resident of Nifas Mewcha  

3.  

Ato Tsadiq Mihret  

A resident of Gayint District  

4.  

Ato Woret Dagnew  

A resident of Gayint District  

5.  

Ato Kindiye Direse  

A member of EPRDF  

These persons were killed at the place called Teme Ber on February 16,1992 after being taken out from Nifas Mewcha Police Station where they were detained.

6.  

Ato Alula Mersha  

A resident of Gayint District  

7.  

Ato Tsehai Bayleyegn  

A resident of Gayint District  

8.  

Ato Zemmene  

A resident of Gayint District  

9.  

Ato Birhan  

A resident of Gayint District  

10.  

Ato Indaweqe Kasu  

A resident of Gayint District  


5. Persons Who Have Died While Under Unlawful Detention

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights under Article 9 provides that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile." Quite a large number of youngsters from Addis Ababa were detained for mere suspicion of being involved in the crime of theft. These youngsters were taken to Shewa Robit and Ziway Prisons without being charged and given the benefit of appearing before the court of law. Among the youngsters who were unlawfully detained in Ziway Prison, the following have been found dead.
5.1. Mulugheta Ghemmechu
5.2. Sisay Bellihu
5.3. Tafa Hailu
5.4. Birhanu Demmeqe

6. Victims Of Torture And Physical Abuse

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights under Article 5 provides that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Nonetheless the following persons whose addresses are shown below were subjected to torture and to bodily affliction by EPRDF forces in contravention to the provision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is part of the Transitional Period Character.

 

Name

Date

Place

1  

Deacon Ghebeyehu Beqele  

Feb. 15,1993  

Addis Ababa  

2  

Ato Aberra Mohammed  

Feb. 8,1993  

>> >>  

3  

Ato Abush Deme  

June 22,1991  

In the district of Arsi  

4  

Ato Akiya Gobena  

June 22,1991  

Neghele Weye Rafa PA.  

5  

Ato Asfaw Bultom  

June 22,1991  

>> >>  

6  

Ato Amaru Hamda  

June 22,1991  

>> >>  

7  

Ato Ghemechu Hamda  

June 22,1991  

>> >>  

8  

Ato Lomisse Hibebo*  

June 22,1991  

>> >>  

*His whereabouts is unknown.

7. Disappearances

It is evident that one could be apprehended or detained in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under these circumstances the lawful apprehending or detaining authority which is designated as such has the legal obligation to inform the apprehended person the reasons why he is apprehended and the place where he is going to stay under detention. This information must be communicated to his family members or persons concerned. The family members, friends or persons concerned have the legal right to know the whereabouts of the detained. To keep a person in a secret place and incommunicado is a violation of human rights. Among those reported to have disappeared in the Fourth Report of EHRCO five persons have been released, the places of detention of four is now known. But we still do not know anything about the sixteen remaining ones. At present the whereabouts and conditions of the following persons is unknown by their family members, friends and persons concerned.br

No  

Name of the Disappeared  

Date Disappeared

Place

1.  

Lt. Yibeltal Atnafu  

Jan. 3,1993  

Addis Ababa  

2.  

Ato Taddese W/Aregay  

Feb. 7, 1993  

Merhabete Laybet  

3.  

Maj. Demmeqe Taddese  

April 1,1993  

Addis Ababa  

4.  

Col. Mekonnin W/Hawariyat  

April 27,1993  

Nazareth K.3, Q.13  

5.  

Ato Efrem Fantaye  

April 29,1993  

Addis Ababa  

6.  

Ato Tesfaye Taddese*  

May 20, 1993  

Addis Ababa  

7.  

Ato Ashenafi Abeje*  

May 20, 1993  

Addis Ababa  

*Members of EHRCO

8. Illegal Detention

It is to be recalled that EHRCO has, in its previous reports, revealed the number of prisoners in various parts of the country. The number of persons, who are unlawfully detained for different and unknown reasons and who languish at different prisons is still on the increase. The total number of illegally detained persons in our previous reports was 5406. The following list contains new information not included in the earlier reports.

No  

Name of Prison

No. of prisoners

Reason for Detention

1.  

Wolayita Soddo Police Station  

6

Unknown

2.  

Dilla Police Station  

2

Moa Anbessa Supporter

3.  

Aqaqi Police Station  

2

Unknown

4.  

A.A. District 21 Station  

1

Unknown

5.  

Debre Birhan Police Station  

4

AAPO Members

6.  

Ennewari Police Station  

1

AAPO Members

7.  

Merhabete Police Station  

4

AAPO Members

8.  

Dire Dawa Prison  

4

AAPO Members

9.  

Sendafa Police Station  

2

Unknown

10.  

Asella Prison Station  

14

Red Terror participation

11.  

Aggaro Prison  

12

Unknown

12.  

Qalliti Prison  

1

Red Terror participation

13.  

Tebasse Military Camp  

1

Unknown

14.  

Dese Prison  

16

Unknown

15.  

Nazret,Qebele 16  

9

Refusing to be witnesses

16.  

Navy Head Quarter  

1

OLF supporter

17.  

Selale Dedemo, Q. 01  

5

OLF supporter

18.  

Bonga Prison  

7

WPE members

19.  

Bonga Prison  

1

Unknown

20.  

Central Investigation Dept. A.A.  

7

Unknown

21.  

Qersa Wereda Prison  

6

Unknown

22.  

A.A. 3rd Police Station  

3

Unknown

23.  

Former 4th Division H.Q.  

23

Unknown

24.  

Dire Dawa Prison  

1

Unknown

25.  

Danghila Prison  

2

WPE members

26.  

Jimma Prison  

17

Former security members

27.  

Jimqa Police Station  

6

Rep. of the Regional Teacher's Association

28.  

Gobba Prison  

2

Red Terror participation

29.  

Danghila Police Station  

1

WPE members

30.  

Nazareth Police Station  

6

Unknown

31.  

Nekemte Police Station  

2

Unknown

32.  

A.A. Zone 3 Security Dept.  

1

AAPO member

33.  

A.A Emergency Security Dept.  

3

AAPO member

34.  

Tenta Prison  

3

Maladministration

35.  

Chagni Police Station  

145

Unknown

36.  

Basso-Werana Station  

9

Members of Police Force

37.  

Sendafa Police Collage  

127

University Student

38.  

Central Investigation Dept.  

18

University Student

39.  

Ambo Former Office of REWA  

19

Unknown


9. Negligent Use Of Firearms

On the eve of February 18,1993, while the TPLF (Tigray People's Liberation Front) was celebrating its 18th anniversary, there was a volley of firearms shooting throughout the city of Addis Ababa. As a result the persons whose names and addresses are indicated below have suffered bullet wounds and one lady has died:
No- Names-Addresses 1. Wro. Letemikael Berihun* K. 21, Q. 23/714
2. Wro. Tsega Menghistu K.21, Q. 32/493
3. Wro. Ajebnesh Asres K. 6, Q. 16/061
4. Ato Haile Mariam Menghistu K. 20,Q. 43/701
5. Wro. Werqambaw Teferra K. 3, Q. 47/364
6. Wro. Zewditu Kebbede K. 5, Q. 18/511
7. Wro. Tedbabe Haile Sillase K.22, Q. 02/419
8. Stu. Daniel Yohannis K. 4, Q. 50/089
9. Ato Alemayehu Abitew K. 4, Q. 36/1231
10. Baby Beza Lemma K. 24, Q. 14
11. Baby Yetinnayet Ghirma K. 2, Q. 17
*This lady has died of her bullet wound.

Although it is the right of every one to live in peace and security, in principle EHRCO finds it difficult to accept this problem as a deliberate violation of human rights. It goes without saying that such negligent use of firearms has responsibilities which the government must bring to bear on its armed forces.

10. Prisoners Of War

In its previous reports EHRCO has requested all concerned parties to disclose the conditions of prisoners of war. But no response has been received both from EPRDF and EPLF. The following list of prisoners of war does not include those revealed in the previous reports.

10.1. Prisoners of war under EPRDF

No  

Name of P.W

Date of captivity

Place Captured

1.  

Col. Sereqabirhan*  

June 16, 1990

Meragna, North Shewa

2.  

L/Col. Asefaw Demmeqe*  

>> >>

>> >>

3.  

Com. Shiferaw Werqineh  

>> >>

>> >>

4.  

>> Tariku Beqele  

>> >>

>> >>

5.  

Cap. Kasahun Yadeta  

>> >>

>> >>

6.  

>> Tammene Hailu  

>> >>

>> >>


* These persons are now to appear in court in Meqele. This was announced after EHRCO's Fifth Report was done. 10.2. Prisoners of War Under E.P.L.F.

No.  

Name of P.W.

Date of Captivity

Place Captured

1  

Col. Yosef Kasahun  

May 24, 1991

Asmera

2  

>> Ayachew Asmare  

>> >>

>>

3  

L/Col. Abate Sahle  

>> >>

>>

4  

>> Bobosha Aboma  

>> >>

>>

5  

>> Yirdaw Teshale  

>> >>

>>

6  

>> Tilaye Demise  

>> >>

>>

7  

Major Debele Feyisa  

>> >>

>>

8  

>> Tesemma Bedeye  

>> >>

>>

9  

>> Teghegn Abebe  

>> >>

>>

10  

>> Gehetachew Hailu  

>> >>

>>

11  

Major YeshinegaW.Kidan  

May 24, 1991

Asmera

12  

>> Taye Qumillachew  

>> >>

>>

13  

>> Teshome Deghefa  

>> >>

>>

14  

Cap. G.Ghiorghis Abay  

>> >>

>>

15  

>> Sileshi Tesfaye  

>> >>

>>

16  

>> Yewendwesen Tamirat  

>> >>

>>

17  

>> Abbayneh Desta  

>> >>

>>

18  

Cap. Tesfaye Zewde  

>> >>

>>

19  

>> Ghirma Mesqele  

>> >>

>>

20  

>> Qetsela Aklilu  

>> >>

>>

21  

Sub.Lt. Tahir Abdurahman  

>> >>

>>

11. Violation Of The Right To Freedom Of Association

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 20, Provides that "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association." This has also been guaranteed by the Transitional Period Charter. Accordingly, there are now quite a large number of organisations operating in the country. Nevertheless, the situation in which the Ethiopian Teachers' Association finds itself is very alarming. The Ethiopian Teacher's Association which has a membership of over 120,000 is one of the relatively oldest trade unions in Ethiopia. During the previous government, it had suffered undue interference as a result of which it was subjected to serve the program of the then ruling party, WPE. After the overthrow of the Menghistu regime the members of the association embarked on an effort to reorganise their trade union so as to make it truly independent. Although it did not last long the members of the association through a long and tortuous struggle managed to have an independent association. Failure to bring the leadership of the association under the leading party in power by all sorts of means has now resulted in an open campaign to close and destroy the branch offices and the head office altogether. This campaign has now materialised forcing many of its branch offices to be closed and making the head office almost inoperative. All the bank accounts opened in the name of the association are blocked.
The Ethiopian Teachers' Association in its letter dated January 23, 1993 has appealed to the Council of Representatives, the President and the Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia that such a campaign to destroy the trade union be stopped. But to date the association has not received any response from any of the authorities to whom the appeal was made. Ethiopian teachers have the right to organise themselves in accordance with their wish and the government interference and use of force is an abuse of authority according to the Charter. EHRCO believes that it is the duty of a government that claims to be democratic to encourage the establishment of free trade unions and to create all favourable conditions for those trade unions that are determined to be free from any kind of undue interference.

12. Violation Of The Rights Of Demonstration And Of Assembly

In accordance with Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights every person has the right "to freedom of opinion and expression." The Transitional Period charter accepts these same rights. Proclamation No. 3/1992 also ensures these rights by only providing prior information to the government. Nevertheless, Proclamation No. 3 cannot be interpreted to mean the violation of rights given in the Charter.

12.1 AAPO (the All Amhara People's Organisation) objecting to the sending of United Nations and OAU observer teams for the referendum in Eritrea, because it believed it was an interference in the internal affairs of a member country, wanted to stage a peaceful demonstration on January 3, 1993 in Mesqal Square. Although it applied to Region 14's office twice, it was denied permission. Finally, AAPO appealed to the Council of Representatives and sent copies of its letter to several organisations, including EHRCO.

12.2. The dismissed professors of Addis Ababa University are not allowed to enter the University campus let alone assemble there. Consequently, they paid for a hall in the Chamber of Commerce Building to have a meeting on May 24, 1993. This was banned by the government on May 21, 1993. Such practices which flagrantly violate the laws that the Transitional Government itself promulgated is contrary to the rule of law and will only negatively influence the expected democratic process.

13. Violation Of The Right To Work

The following persons have been allegedly dismissed from their respective jobs in violations of Civil Service Regulation, the labour laws and other appropriate legislation.

No  

Dismissee  

Place of Work  

1  

600 Workers  

Tendaho Agricultural Development  

2  

563 >>  

Ethiopian Petroleum Cor.  

3  

539 >>  

Marine Transport Authority  

4  

199 >>  

Dinkitu Agricultural Development  

5  

190 >>  

Southern >> >>  

6  

147 >>  

Addis Abeba High Court  

7.  

65 >>  

Children's Village Aloge(Ziway)  

8.  

42 >>  

A.A. University Professors  

9.  

15 >>  

Beverage Corporation  

10.  

12 >>  

Addis Ababa Municipality  

11.  

7 Registrars  

Addis Ababa Awraja Court  

12.  

4 Workers  

Eastern Wellega Agric. Dept.  

13.  

Wzo. Inkuayehush Birhane  

Gulele Soap Factory  

14.  

Ato Siyum Inghida  

Agricultural Marketing Cor.  

15.  

>> Allebachew Beqele  

Relief & Rehabilitation Comm.  

16.  

>> Bellete Dessalegn  

Dire Dawa Rail Way  

14. Violation Of Property Right

Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right provides that "Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others and also that" No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. "But in Contravention to their Article the properties of the following persons have been allegedly confiscated. 14.1. Property Allegedly Confiscated by EPRDF

Name of Owner  

Kind  

Estimate in Cash  

Date and Place of confiscation  

Zelleqe Teferra  

House hold goods  

10,999  

June 1, 1991 Bahir Dar  

Abdella Mohammed  

"DAF" Turck Plate No. A.A.3- 17252 with its trailer  

581,000  

June 8, 1991 Addis Ababa  

Arjafo Desta  

Toyota Pickup Plate No. A.A. 3- 20923
and other Property
 

71,700  

 

Tirunesh Beto  

A house and business enterprise  

60,000  

Sept. 11/93  

Allebachew Ammenu  

Cattle  

12,000  

Sept. 25/93

Wellega  


14.2. Property Allegedly Confiscated by EPLF

The following persons were residents of Assab and Asmera until EPLF. forces controlled Eritrea in May 1991.

No.  

Name

Kind

Estimate  

1.  

347 workers of Ethiopian Petroleum Corp.  

Household goods

Unknown  

2.  

Ato Derib Lakew  

>> >>

36,800.-  

3.  

>> Bete Beqele  

>> >>

50,400.-  

4.  

>> Ghetahun G. Sillase  

>> >>

26,872.-  

5.  

>> G.Ghiorghis Hagos  

>> >>

6,950.-  

6.  

>> Said Ahmed  

>> >>

49,430.-  

7.  

>> Ali Mohammed  

>> >>

28,460.-  

8.  

>> Altaseb Niguse  

>> >>

34,978.-  

9.  

>> Abebayehu Mandefro  

>> >>

62,471.-  

10.  

>> Kebbede Uma  

>> >>

28,826.-  

11.  

Ato Hailu Abebe  

Household goods

34,530.-  

12.  

Wro. Lemlem Leghese  

>> >>

6,800.-  

13.  

Ato Ghezahegn Demise  

>> >>

21, 560.-  

14.  

>> Zewdu Kebbede  

>> >>

22,122.-  

15.  

Wro. Kibbenesh Meta  

>> >>

16,515.-  

16.  

Ato Masresha Ferrede  

>> >>

43,152.-  

17.  

>> Hailu W. Yohannis  

>> >>

37,350.-  

18.  

>> Mulugheta Beyene  

>> >>

8,350.-  

19.  

>> Asrat Bellete  

>> >>

16,846.-  

20.  

>> Goddisso Yantena  

>> >>

16,846.-  

21.  

>> Asmelash Bihon  

>> >>

36,383.-  

22.  

>> Yoseph Mammo  

>> >>

5,230.-  

23.  

>> Shiferaw W. Senbet  

>> >>

11,050.-  

24.  

>> Mulugheta Taddese  

>> >>

42,266.-  

25.  

>> Tesfaye Nanu  

>> >>

18,58.-  

26.  

Wrt. Woizerit Mekonnin  

>> >>

36,030.-  

27.  

Captain Aklilu Tekle  

>> >>

9,684.-  

28.  

Ato Abdella Akmel  

>> >>

25,760.-  

29.  

>> Shibabaw Derese  

>> >>

27,340.-  

30.  

>> Kasa Ayalew  

>> >>

155,188.-  

31.  

>> Abebe Mekonnin  

>> >>

24,970.-  

32.  

>> Lemma Tilahun  

>> >>

43,811.-  

33.  

>> Menghistu Negatu  

>> >>

45,101.-  

34.  

>>Menghistu Mekonnin  

>> >>

60,934.-  

35.  

>> Beqele W.Ghiorghis  

>> >>

3,850.-  

36.  

>> Ghetachew Kebbede  

>> >>

13,058.-  

37.  

>> Kebbede Werqu  

>> >>

24,020.-  

38.  

>> Tsedey Dessalegn  

>> >>

7,750.-  

39.  

>> Yehualashet W.Yes  

>> >>

42,458.-  

40.  

>> Ararsa Sembeto  

>> >>

120.000.-  

41.  

>> Dereje G.Yes  

>> >>

41,796.-  

42.  

>> Mohammed Abdul  

>> >>

2,600.-  

43.  

>> Aseffa Dawid  

>> >>

188,300.-  

44.  

>> Derribe Belay  

>> >>

151,100.-  

45.  

>> Tsegaye Desta  

>> >>

52,500.-  

46.  

>> Shimellis Amare  

>> >>

21,700.-  

47.  

>> Tilahun Wagaye  

>> >>

26,140.-  

48.  

>> Tseganeh Mazenghiya  

>> >>

36,462.-  

49.  

Wro. Abeba Tekle  

Household goods

20,507.-Asmera  

50  

Ato Temesghen Kasa  

>> >>

132,329.-  

51.  

>> Zennebe Alemayehu  

>> >>

91,500.-  

 

TOTAL  

 

2,455,604.15  

15. On Addis Ababa University

The violent disturbances created by the government security forces on Addis Ababa University students on January 4, 1993, threatened the normal functions of the University. The cause of the disturbances was the action of the armed security forces which violently prevented the students to exercise their right to demonstrate peacefully.
The faculty and the administration, in a spirit of good faith, signed an agreement with the students in order to normalize the conditions in the University. This action was taken by the government as a grave mistake and indeed as a conspiracy on the part of the faculty and the administration. The government, therefore, dismissed the President and the two Vice Presidents of the University in an unusual manner, through the media, and closed the University for an indefinite period. The government decided to reopen the University after more than three months and registration was to take place on April 5-6. It is believed that out of about 9286 students 8532 registered. During this period new uncertainties developed:
a. Eleven students who were members of the "provisional student council" were not allowed to register by the order of the newly appointed Academic Vice President.
b. Students who were allowed to register were also obliged to sign statements that barred them from any "unauthorised assembly and demonstrations" and not to put up any unauthorised written material anywhere, etc. Neither the government authorities nor the newly appointed University Authorities seem to have realised that this imposition on the students is against the Charter. Moreover, the problem was compounded by the dismissal of some 42 faculty members--5 professors, 14 associate professors, 10 assistant professors and 13 lecturers. The government has been dismissing thousands of persons from their regular jobs outside the civil service laws. The dismissal of the faculty members has implications beyond the individuals concerned: it will dim the future of the country in so far as higher education is concerned. They were trained not only with the meagre resources of the country and the people but also through assistance of many countries such as the United States, Canada and many European countries. Even if the necessary funds are available now it will take many years to produce such professionals. The Government's action, therefore, is contrary to the Ethiopian people's right to development.
These faculty members are not allowed to use the facilities of the University, including libraries. They are not even allowed to enter the premises of the University. Some of them have been harassed by security forces on the streets. The former President of the University, Dr. Alemayehu Teferra, was detained a while back and was released after the intervention of the people of the Qebele he served and the necessary preliminary investigations. It is in full knowledge of this fact that the government selected Dr. Alemayehu amongst the candidates for president. After the disturbances in the University, Dr. Alemayehu was dismissed from his position as president. Now he is dismissed from his position as a faculty member in the Faculty of Technology and detained once more for the same reason. These various actions of the government did not help to improve conditions in the University. On April 14, 1993, the students presented a petition to the newly appointed President. Their demands were the following:

a. that the members of the student council be allowed to register;
b. that the dismissed faculty be reinstated;
c. that the semester examination period be postponed;
d. that the academic year remain the same.

When these demands were not heeded to the students began protesting and demonstrating inside the campuses, especially in Arat Kilo (Faculty of Science). The students were not allowed to get out of nor to move about in Arat Kilo campus for about three days. Over 100 students were arrested and taken to Sendafa and to the Criminal Investigation Department in Addis Ababa. The students continued their protest with hunger strikes, although they were not given adequate food. Groups of students have been released at different times. Most of the students have no relatives in Addis Ababa and they have no persons to provide them with food or to follow developments for them. The government so far has not come up with the names of the students who are arrested. This is important because it will save the government from responsibilities from issues that may arise in the future. It is difficult to create a just and peaceful solution to problems by attempting to correct one mistake by another. It is the responsibility of the government to create peaceful and stable conditions through legal means, and not to compound the problems only with the use of force.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council would like to state once more that it is still investigating the whole University problem.

16. Conclusion

The violations of human rights outlined above are contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is part and parcel of the Charter. Those government organs which are responsible for these violations ought to correct themselves without any attempt to rationalise their violations of the provisions of the Charter. On the contrary, we expect all government organs to stand for the democratic process, for peace and stability and for respect of human rights. EHRCO is convinced that respect of human rights is the basis for the democratic process, uninterrupted economic development while violations of human rights will be the basis for hatred, conflict and impoverishment. EHRCO is always ready to make its own contributions in all efforts made for legal and peaceful solutions of problems. EHRCO appeals to all persons of good will whether residing in Ethiopia or outside, human rights organisations, NGOs, governments and international organisations, political and religious institutions who support the democratic process, the rule of law and the respect for human rights to do whatever they can for the promontion of human rights, rule of law and the democratic process.

COMMENT ON 5th REPORT OF EHRCO (From the Office of the Co-ordinator of the Police and Prisons Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs)

(Published in The Ethiopian Herald on July 18, 1993)

The 5th report recently issued by the Ethiopian Human Rights Council has listed alleged human rights violations claimed to have been committed in various parts of the country. The report accuses the Transitional Government of murdering prisoners and innocent civilians, of inhumane punishment, kidnapping, torturing prisoners of war, and illegally dispossessing people of their property. It would clearly be in the public's interest to take up each one of the alleged human rights violations. However, we feel it will be sufficient here to take a closer look at the alleged cases from Addis Ababa, to illustrate the erroneous nature of the EHRCO's allegations.

Before looking at specific instances, it may be useful to refer to the introductory part of the report, which concedes that the Transitional Government has endorsed two key international human rights conventions. At the same time it claims that the human rights situation in Ethiopia is fast deteriorating referring, as illustration, to an incident which occurred near the residence of the EHRCO Chairperson, when a vacant house was forcibly broken into and occupied by some individuals. There is an attempt to link this incident to the allegedly "mysterious" disappearance of Ato Achenafi Abeje and Ato Tesfaye Tadesse on the same day.

It was in fact, an employee of the Committee for the collection of the Properties of Maritime Transport Corporation who with a relative broke into the vacant property. The reason for the forcible entry was, quite simply, the man's desperate need for shelter, which is a common occurrence in a city with such an cute shortage of housing. The illegal occupation of a vacant property was one out of the many petty offences committed daily, and is being dealt with by the courts under the appropriate legal provisions. It is extremely difficult to see the proximity of this incident to the Chairperson's residence as anything other than a coincidence, or to imagine how it can render the Transitional Government responsible for failure to safeguard human rights, or serve as proof of a deterioration in the overall human rights situation in Ethiopia. It is equally difficult to see how this can be linked to the case of Ato Achenafi and Ato Tesfaye, detained under a court warrants issued on May 18 and May 19, 1993, respectively, who are believed to be collaborators of Ato Gayim, a leader of the EPRP, an organisation which has refused to renounce violence during the transitional period, and who was recently killed while resisting arrest in Addis Ababa.

Omitting the information that Ato Achenafi and Ato Tesfaye were detained under a court warrant, and claiming that they mysteriously disappeared, is a puzzling position for the EHRCO to take.

We will now address some of the cases raised in the report and set the record straight, so the right of the public to know the truth can be served.

1. On the alleged "defiance of court order"

The report claims that nine people who were brought to court by the Prosecutor's Office are still in detention despite a court order to the contrary. However, 1. There is no one in detention contrary to court orders. All six hundred and seventy ex-detainees who have been adjudicated free by the court and the Prosecutor's Office have indeed been freed. Although a misunderstanding arose between the court and the Special Prosecutor's Office at the time when pleas for habeas corpus on behalf of the detainees were reviewed, this had no impact on execution of the court verdicts.
2. None of the people listed in the EHRCO 's report were prevented from being released. All were freed in the month of April except for 1) Ato Aweke Terefe and 2) Ato Befekadu Taye who were redetained by a court order. The EHRCO had the opportunity to enquire about these individuals and to obtain the facts prior to publication of its 5th report. Why it failed to do so is unclear.

2. On allegations of extra-judicial executions

The Council's report presents ordinary criminal offences and police activities to control them as politically motivated measures. It should be understood that: I. None of the persons listed by the Council in its 4th and 5th reports as martyrs have been killed because of their political views.
II.In cases where members of the police force have been suspected of excesses, these police officers are in custody pending investigation of each specific case, and will appear before the court in due course. Let us now refer to some specific cases of persons alleged in the 5th EHRCO 's Report to be victims of extra-judicial executions.

I. Ato Zeleke Leta - Known to have lived in zone 3, Wereda 19, Kebelle 54, as a guard at the Sebestie Negassi Secondary School in Addis Ababa. Ato Zeleke was observed by a security guard, who suspected him of stealing from the school, and ordered him to stop. Ato Zeleke refused to obey, and subsequently the security guard fired a shot which killed him. The security guard is now in custody pending investigations into whether he acted excessively or not.
II.Ato Zewdie Yimer - a resident of Zone 1, Wereda 5, Kebelle 07: Ato Zewdie was widely believed to be engaged in lucrative criminal activities. He expanded his operations by organising a gang, at which point he was apprehended by security forces and taken into police custody. Zewdie escaped, and remained at large for some time. He was later discovered engaging in robbery, and terrorising and injuring women, in the act of robbing their jewellery and other belongings. Zewdie was then recaptured, and after a period of time he confessed to investigators that he had a pistol and automatic rifle at his home which his gang used for conducting armed robbery. He volunteered to hand in the weapons, but tried to escape while walking to his home accompanied by the police. To stop Zewdie, a policeman fired a shot which killed him instantly. Anyone interested in this case can inspect the records of the investigation. The policeman who fired the shot is under investigation to determine whether the act exceeded appropriate measures.
III. Ato Girma Abate - Girma abate was found dead at Zone 5, Wereda 2, Kebelle 09. The body had bullet wounds, but otherwise the circumstances of his death, and his address, remain unknown despite police investigations into the matter. No relatives or concerned persons have so far appeared to report the death, absence or disappearance of Ato Girma. The investigation into this mysterious death is still continuing.
IV.Baby Senait Abera - the February 1993 issue of "Mudai" Magazine reported the death of baby Senait in Wereda 13, Kebelle 02, who was accidentally killed by a stray bullet. Months after the report of this tragic accident, and the explanation duly given by the TGE at the time, the EHRCO dramatised the death of the baby and reported it in an unduly exaggerated and sensational style. To portray the accidental death of a child as a deliberate case of human rights abuse by the Transitional Government defies all logic and common sense. This case is also going through the process of law.
V.Ato Tsegaye Adera: The police have the responsibility of discouraging street gambling and hustling, which are rampant in some quarters of the city. Tsegaye Adera, who lived in Zone 2, Wereda 21, Kebelle 14, was gambling in the street, and was ordered to stop this prohibited activity by a police officer. Tsegaye refused and tried to escape. Regrettably, the police officer fired a shot which killed the man. The police officer is now in custody while the case is investigated.
VI. Ato Yilma Mammo: This person was ordered to stop by a member of the security forces while running through Zone 4, Wereda 9, Kebelle 07 at midnight. Ato Yilma ignored the police officer's warning to stop and continued running. Suspicious about his conduct in running away so late at night, the police officer fired a shot to stop him, and killed him. The police officer concerned was arrested and is under investigation.
VII.Weizero Yeshi Feyissa: Information about the death of this lady had been made public long before the publication of the EHRCO 's report. She lived in Wereda 15, Kebelle 27, and was hit by a stray bullet, the source of which has never yet been identified. The incident occurred during the Yekatit 11 celebrations. Although is has so far proved impossible to determine who fired the bullet which killed Wro. Yeshi, all possible practical steps have been taken to avoid such regrettable accidents and deaths.
VIII. Ato Abraham Abate: This case was fully explained in the media at the time of the incident. Desta Alem Mesfin, a member of the Akaki Brigade fired the shot which killed Ato Abraham Abate. He is under arrest and members of the Brigade have expressed their conviction that Desta Alem should bear any legal consequences, as determined by the courts, arising from an act which resulted in the killing of an innocent person. The case is in court where the fate of Desta Alem Mesfin will be determined.

3. The case of allegedly missing persons as reported by EHRCO .

One of the EHRCO 's allegations is that individuals have been abducted and their human rights grossly violated. Its report claims that Ato Tesfaye Tadesse and Ato Achenafi Abeje disappeared on May 10th 1993. The EHRCO O tries to present these individuals as victims of a government conspiracy. In fact, the two men were detained following the issue of a court warrant for their arrest. The reason for their detention was the fact that both were caught while apparently preparing to commit terrorist acts in Addis Ababa, under the leadership of Gayim, who was Commander-in-Chief and a member of the Central Committee of the EPRP. To further investigate the case, the court ordered their detention in warrant issued on May 18 and 19,1993. This can be ascertained by referring to files no. 2823/85 and 2976/85 at Kechene Awraja Court. It is curious that these important facts were omitted from the report.

4. Concerning "illegal imprisonment"

Contrary to EHRCO 's report that many people have been thrown into jail without court warrants:-
There is no person detained in Kaliti without a court warrant
There are no prisoners in the former Naval Headquarters
No one is detained in the Central Prison without a properly issued court warrant
The Council has misinformed the public in reporting that twenty three people were imprisoned in the former Fourth Military Division Headquarters. First of all, the Fourth Division Headquarters is not a prison. While the Wereda 20 Police Station is under construction, some space in the Headquarters has been loaned to the police station to temporarily house people in custody. Secondly, the EHRCO 's report that 23 people have been imprisoned there for "unknown reasons" is inaccurate. They have been detained for non-political reasons pending their removal to Wereda 20 Police Station or their release, depending on the decision of the courts. "There are 63 men and 3 women currently detained at the Headquarters awaiting trial." The Council's report that prisoners have been jailed for "unknown reasons" misrepresents the situation. The EHRCO was in a position to make enquiries and ascertain that the prisoners have been detained for non political reasons and failed to do so.

I. The EHRCO 's report on the case of the university students is equally inaccurate.
II.The EHRCO gives the number of university students detained after the incident as 155, while the actual figure was 94, of which 62 were released by court order; 8 were released by the police; 15 are in Sendafa prison awaiting legal proceedings; 7 suspected in connection with the hand grenade incident are held in the Central Prison; 2 are held on other criminal charges in the 1st Police Station.
III.At the time the EHRCO 's report was issued only 24 students were still in custody. However, no serious attempt appears to have been made to determine and present the real facts of the case.

IV.The case of the Zewai Temporary Detention Centre.

It may be recalled that the police, in collaboration with the residents of Addis Ababa rounded up gangs of thieves, robbers and murderers, who had been terrorising the community. The population of Addis Ababa actively co-operated, both individually and through the Peace and Stability Committees, with the security forces in subduing the criminal gangs. While the government was taking measures to rehabilitate the detainees, there was a sudden malaria outbreak in the Zewai area where the detainees were being temporarily held. The disease caused deaths among the residents of the town, members of the police, and, obviously, the prisoners. Consequently, steps were taken to protect the detainees, and 325 robbers were released.

5. On the alleged confiscation of a vehicle

The object of the EHRCO's report under this title is a DAF truck which the EHRCO claims was illegally taken. It was in fact discovered apparently being smuggled out of the city and taken by members of the Nefas Silk security forces. The truck is now held subject to a court order, and is not in the hands of the EPRDF. Despite the fact that this simple truth could have been established by the Council, they chose to report it as illegal dispossession of property.
6. Concerning Prisoners of War

The treatment of prisoners of war is quoted as another proof of "human rights violations" in the Council's report. In its bitter struggle against the Derg regime, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) captured thousands of war prisoners. The majority of these have been released after rehabilitation. Those still held are under investigation and awaiting trial accused of crimes committed against the civilian population. The Commanders of the Third Division are accused by the people of Northern Shewa, Wello and Tigray of causing untold destruction and abuses, particularly against the innocent peasants. Bringing the case of these Generals to an independent court is a just and humane act. It is difficult to understand the position of those trying to pressurise the Government to release suspects of the most serious crimes. A human rights organisation would normally be expected to demand the prosecution of wrongdoers and justice for the wronged as the best mechanism for safeguarding human rights. While it is clearly valid to scrutinise the human rights record of the present Government, it seems inconceivable to address this issue without taking stock of the past.
Turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the Derg regime and the lessons they provide for the present and future generations is tantamount to minimising the importance of the issue as a whole. Ethiopia must face up to and deal with the magnitude of the crimes committed against the people during this past period in order to fully understand what is meant by human rights violations. The main issue is not the punishment of individuals from vindictiveness or revenge. The cardinal point is that those responsible for gross violations of human rights must face the law so that the people can be assured of their power to defend themselves against abuse.
The concern of the EHRCO for the human rights of the officials of the previous regime is valid and important. However, we must remember that horrendous violations of human rights have occurred throughout the world, including Ethiopia. Human rights groups have always, historically, been firmly committed to campaigning for criminals of oppressive regimes to be brought to justice. This however, does not appear to be a concern of the EHRCO .
It is the intention of the TGE to use this experience to put in place the necessary instruments to defend the people against human rights violations as well as to guard against any repetition of the past. It is ironic and disappointing that the EHRCO has not yet demonstrated any interest in documenting the past or making constructive proposals for addressing human rights issues in a comprehensive manner.
All citizens, whether criminal or not, are entitled to the full protection of the law and to basic human rights. It is therefore fully appropriate for human rights groups to raise issues concerning the treatment of a citizen whatever his/her status. It is not however, either appropriate or responsible to do so selectively, ignoring the context and circumstances surrounding a given incident, omitting key facts and information, without any reference to government measures already taken, to the bringing to court of those suspected of unlawful behaviour. The EHRCO can not be said to reflect a genuine concern for human rights when it operates in this way. It is an unfortunate truth that human beings, including police officers, err. When accidents happen, this is a cause for grave and public concern. However, it is unjustifiable to refer to such incidents without any clarification of the circumstances, without any reference to corrective measures taken to guard against repetition of such accidents, and to confuse human error with deliberate human rights abuses. These deliberate omissions can in no way serve the cause of human rights. The report further interprets the government response to violent opposition activities, as political in nature, without attempting any serious investigation into facts or circumstances, or any reference to the desirability of opposition groups opting for peaceful rather than violent means. A human rights group would normally be expected to take a clear stand on such issues. On the contrary, the EHRCO appears to be attempting to undermine the Government's efforts to introduce and further a democratic process, rather than contributing in a constructive, and positive way. Given all the above, we must, reluctantly, express serious doubts about the EHRCO as a genuine human rights organisation, and ask whether their operations do not reflect their own political activities and agenda rather than a sincere commitment to human rights.,br> The process of human rights monitoring is a very important part of the democratisation process in Ethiopia, and must be approached with integrity, in a serious, responsible and genuine manner. We have yet to see the Ethiopian Human Rights Council demonstrate such an approach.


RESPONSE TO THE COMMENT ON THE FIFTH REPORT GIVEN BY THE OFFICE OF THE CO-ORDINATOR OF THE POLICE AND PRISONS ADMINISTRATION OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS August 16, 1993

1. Introduction

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council welcomes the response from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We believe that the response given on July, 1993 to EHRCO's Fifth Report of June 10, 1993 indicates a positive step forward in the general concern for human rights in Ethiopia. It is also a step forward in generating open dialogue between the government and the Ethiopian Human Rights Council. From the point of view of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, it is differences of views that initiate thinking and generate new ideas; it is also through such open and sincere debate that the different social forces in the country can contribute to the establishment of the democratic process and to the formation of a democratic culture in the country.
The Ethiopian Human rights Council has three very clear objectives:
1. To help the establishment of the democratic process in Ethiopia and to promote the formation of a democratic culture is one of the objectives. This objective envisages as its central ideas the empowerment of the Ethiopian people and the exercise of all forms of civil liberties such as free press, free associations, free and peaceful political competition and free and fair elections.
2. The second objective is to foster the rule of law and due process in the country and to monitor arbitrary actions that will become obstacles to peace and stability, to sustained economic development and to the envisioned democratic process. The rule of law and due process are critical for the development of the democratic process because it is necessary to treat individuals and groups on the basis of equality and justice.
3. The third objective is to promote respect for and to monitor the violations of human rights in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people need to be informed in clear and precise terms their rights as human beings and as citizens of this country. The knowledge of their rights will eventually help them to defend these rights.
The comments given by the Office of the Co-ordinator of the Police and Prisons' Administration (Ministry of Internal Affairs) has opened a forum for dialogue. Accordingly EHRC O would like to give a brief response on the Comment.
2. About The Forcibly Occupied Apartment

The Office of the Co-ordinator of the Police and Prisons' Administration did not deny the breaking, entering and occupying the apartment next to EHRCO O's Chairperson. The apartment was not ownerless as the Office seemed to imply. It is the Agency for the Administration of Rented Houses (AARH) that owns, rents, and takes care of the apartment. Nor did EHRCO directly link the forcible occupation of the apartment with the disappearance of its two members. A desperate need for shelter is presented as a justification for breaking into an apartment and occupying it illegally. But we have to be careful lest we justify theft and robbery for the same reasons. The Office has revealed the fact that it was an employee of the Committee for the collection of properties of Maritime Transport Corporation who, with a relative, broke into the apartment, and that the offence is being dealt with by a court of law. But the Office failed to mention the names and addresses of the persons who broke into the apartment and did not mention at which court the case is being dealt with. This has made it difficult for EHRCO to properly follow up the matter.

3. About Disappearances

The Office in its comment on cases of disappearances underlined that, "the people's right to know the truth must be protected." As one of the objectives of EHRCO O is to raise the awareness of the people of their fundamental rights and freedoms, we uphold that everyone has the right to information. EHRCO did not receive or find any information about Ato Ashenafi Abeje and Ato Tesfaye Tadesse's detention on the basis of the issuance of a court warrant. Nevertheless, EHRCO has evidence which show that both Ato Ashenafi and Ato Tesfaye disappeared on May 20,1993 and that their families tried to find their whereabouts, but to no avail until after 27 days of detention. The illegality of such acts cannot be a subject of contention. It must be pointed out that the families of the two EHRCO O members and others whom EHRCO has reported disappearing have in fact tried to trace their whereabouts in police investigation centres and prisons. Furthermore, in its letter dated June 7,1993, Ref. No. EHRCO/17/I.R-C/86/85, EHRCO requested the Police Investigation Co-ordinator Department (Ministry of Internal Affairs) to disclose the whereabouts and conditions of the two EHRCO O members and five others. But EHRCO did not receive any response from the Department. It was after such inquiries were made that EHRCO included the names of the two EHRCO members and five others in its Fifth Report as disappearing. In light of the facts mentioned above, one would wonder how the Office presumed to comment as if the whereabouts of the victims were known to their families, friends, lawyers and EHRCO. How is this kind of information to help the public in learning the truth about certain events?

4. On Defying Court Orders

It is evident that Holeta Prison has been mentioned in EHRCO O's Fifth Report for defiance of court orders. Every person, whether natural or juridical, has the obligation to comply with orders from the courts in as far as they are lawful. Holeta prison cannot be an exception to this. Any person who receives a court order is expected to comply with it at the earliest convenience or on such a date as the court prescribes. Although orders were issued by the High Court of the central government that the persons, mentioned Under Item 2 of EHRCO O's Fifth Report, be immediately released without bail, the orders were not complied with by the Holeta prison. This is clearly an act of defying court order. In its comment, the Office stated as though there was a misunderstanding between the court and the Special Procurator's office. But viewed from the evidences that EHRCO has at its disposal, there does not seem to exist such misunderstanding between the two organs. This is so because the orders given to release the persons were not only from the court, but also from the Special Procurator's office. If this is the fact as it stands, where does the said misunderstanding lie? Moreover, EHRCO has evidence which indicate that similar disappearances are still continuing.

5. Concerning Extra-Judicial Executions

The Extra-judicial executions mentioned in the Fifth Report were of two kinds: Those were:-
1. Twelve Persons who were killed by members of EPRDF forces at different times in various places.
2. Ten persons who were detained for unknown reasons in the police station of Nifas Mewcha, Gonder Administrative Region, and were extra-judicially killed at different times. The Comment of the Office relates to the killings of eight persons in Addis Ababa. In its comment, the Office did not deny the killings, but only attempted to justify the ultimate actions of the security forces. It was also stated that the "police forces" who killed six persons are in custody pending investigations of each specific case. It also mentioned that the killers of Ato Girma Abate and Wro. Yeshi Feyissa are not yet known and that police investigation and follow up is still going on. The only name which is made public is that of Desta Alem Mesfin, who killed Ato Abraham Abate. To this day the names, addresses, the present whereabouts and conditions of the others whom the office has revealed to have been under custody are not disclosed to the public. In this connection EHRCO would like to express its concern about the rights of the six persons, who according to the statement of the Office are still in custody. As some of the extra-judicial killings took place some three months ago, if the cases were presented to the courts with appropriate jurisdictions for trial, the public should have been informed. Moreover, the rights of those alleged offenders in custody for a speedy trial must be respected. EHRCO appeals to all concerned government authorities to release the names of the offenders and the places where they "are put in custody" as well as the courts hearing these cases. In relation to the comment of the Office on extra-judicial executions which states that "none of the persons listed by the Council in its Fourth and Fifth Reports as martyrs have been killed because of their political views", EHRCO O would like to point out that the right to life is basically the same for all persons whether they are involved in politics or not.

6. About Illegal Detentions

Where there is reason to believe that a person has committed an offence and the offence is such as to justify arrest, the investigating police officer shall take such steps as are necessary to effect his arrest. Where the arrest cannot be made without warrant, the investigation police officer shall apply to the court for a warrant of arrest in accordance with provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Arts. 25, 26, 50, 51, 53) Where the police investigation is not completed the investigating police officer may apply for a sufficient time to enable the investigation to be completed, but no remand shall be granted for more than fourteen days on each occasion. [Art 59 (2), (3)] This does not, however, mean that remand will be granted for all cases. There may be certain complex cases of investigation which require sufficient time and which necessitate the granting of a remand. Even under such circumstances remands are not granted arbitrarily and indefinitely. This is so because the individual must be protected, lest he languish under custody in the guise of uncompleted investigations. The other issue which needs to be raised and discussed is who has the power to detain an individual and undertake investigation. It is a competent police officer or a member of the police who can detain and carry out investigation pursuant to the provisions of the criminal procedure code. This authority is not something which should be arbitrarily exercised by other non-police security forces, who do not have any competence emanating from laws. Furthermore, the places where persons under investigation stay in custody and where sentenced persons serve their sentences should be official and clearly known to the public. Detaining and investigating persons by men who do not have the legal authority to do so and placing the same in unofficial places and investigation centres are both unlawful. Furthermore, to imprison a person for an indefinite period of time under the pretext of investigation is to punish a person before charges are brought against him, tried and sentenced. The law does not provide for the punishment of a person before he is found guilty and sentenced thereof. It may be recalled that EHRCO, in its various reports, has repeatedly appealed for the immediate appearance of detainees before the court of law for a fair and speedy trial. But so far even charges are not made against most of the detainees. In this connection, EHRCO would, once again, like to appeal to all concerned government authorities that the detainees be charged and brought to the courts for trial.
7. Concerning Persons Who Have Died While Under Unlawful Detention

It is to be recalled that in its Fifth Report, EHRCO O has revealed the deaths of four youngsters in Ziway prison while serving unlawful detention. Although it has not disclosed the exact number of detained youngsters, the Office in its comment, has unequivocally confirmed the rounding up and detaining of what it called "gangs of thieves, robbers and murderers." The office has also revealed the fact that the youngsters were taken to Zeway temporary detention centre to be rehabilitated. If the detainees were "gangs of thieves, robbers and murderers," as the Office has alleged, why were they not charged and brought before a court of law for trial? EHRCO would like to point out that one does not have any legal authority to label persons as "gangs of thieves, robbers, and murderers," before judgement is given by a court of law. Because that would be defamation and would also infringe one's right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty. The Office did not deny that a number of prisoners died as a result of a sudden malaria outbreak. It also compared prison guards with that of detainees whose freedom of movement is curtailed. It is the responsibility of the government to provide food clothing, medication etc. to persons under detention or imprisonment. To present the cases of prison guards who died as a result of malaria attack as a justification for the deaths of unlawfully detained youngsters does not seem to be a reasonable argument. Although the Office has not mentioned what steps have been taken to protect the detainees at the initial stage it has however disclosed that it has released 325 youngsters, whom it considered "robbers," as a step to protect the detainees from malaria. From the figure given by the Office one can see that the number of unlawful detainees was over 325.

8. On The Students Of Addis Ababa University

It is to be remembered that EHRCO O has in its Fifth Report, revealed the overall situation in Addis Ababa University. It has made public that over 100 students were arrested and taken to Sendafa and to criminal Investigation department in Addis Ababa. The Office in its comment has confirmed the detention of 94 students. The Office has tried to criticise EHRCO O for raising the number of student detainees to 155. It is not clear from Where the Office got the figure 155. Nevertheless the important point is the government's confirmation of detaining a number of students before EHRCO's report was made public. If the issue is that of numbers then EHRCO would like to state that it has the list of names of over 155 university students who were detained in various detention centres prior to EHRCO's Fifth Report.

9. Regarding Prisoners Of War

The list of names of prisoners of war revealed in the reports of EHRCO O are not denied. It is the responsibility of EPRDF and EPLF to disclose the names, whereabouts and condition of the prisoners of war to their families, the Ethiopian public and to the international community at large. In its previous reports EHRCO O has requested all concerned parties to disclose the conditions of prisoners of war. But no response has been received both from EPRDF and EPLF. If, according to the statement given by the Office, the prisoners of war are "accused of crimes committed against the civilian population", why are they not brought to court for trial? And why are they not allowed to be visited by their families and their lawyers? EHRCO would, once again, like to appeal to both EPRDF and EPLF to disclose the names, whereabouts and conditions of the prisoners of war to the Ethiopian public.

10. Regarding The "Confiscation" Of A Vehicle

It is to be recalled that in its Fifth Report EHRCO O has revealed the confiscation of Ato Abdella Mohammed's truck with its trailer (Plate NOS. A.A. 3-17252, A.A. 3-03710). The Office has tried to deny the fact by stating that the said DAF truck was not confiscated by the members of the Nefas Silk Security forces, but held by court order. Nevertheless the evidences that EHRCO O has at its disposal clearly show that the truck was held by the order of Ato Mohammed Nur, chief of Nefas Silk Security forces, and not by court order. The following official documents show that the truck was held by the chief of Nefas Silk security forces.
1. A letter written by Ato Mohammed Nur, chief of Nefas silk security forces, on the date Oct. 23, 1991 under the title "To whom it may concern" which indicated the holding of the DAF truck on his own authority.
2. A letter written from the office of A.A. administrative region to the office of A.A. Security on the date of December 16, 1991 with ref. No.A.A.TG2/10/246 ordering the immediate investigation into the matter and requesting the finding of appropriate solution to the problem.
3. A letter written from A.A. Security office to Zone 3 security office on the date December 18, 1991/ with ref. No A.A. S.0032/84 ordering an investigation into the matter and requesting the immediate reply thereof.
4. Region 14 Zonal Court under file No. 1201/84 on the date March 05, 1993 decided that the office of Nefas silk security forces pay the sum of Birr 40,000 (forty thousand Birr) to the owner of the DAF truck as compensation for the damage caused as result of holding the DAF truck for a long time and a fine of Birr 500.

11. Conclusion

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council in its letter dated Oct. 24, 1991 has notified its establishment on Oct. 9, 1991 to the Transitional Government, Ministry of Internal Affairs, with copies to the Council of Representatives, the Prime Minister and to the Ministry of Law and Justice. One of the objectives of EHRCO is to monitor human rights violation by government institutions whenever they occur. The procedure adopted by EHRCO O at its initial stage was to communicate cases of violations to the concerned government institutions for appropriate rectification measures. If the concerned government authority fails to respond at a given period of time, EHRCO's procedure was to go public. Accordingly, EHRCO O sent its first report i.e., before it was made public, to the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Dec. 1, 1991. But the procedure EHRCO adopted could not materialise because His Excellency Ato Kuma Demeksa, Minister of Internal Affairs in his response dated Dec. 6, 1991 Ref.I.A 1/143/ A.9/91, stated that it was difficult for the Ministry to entertain the cases presented to it by EHRCO as the latter did not yet have legal personality. As a result EHRCO began making its findings directly public. The Comment given by the office seems to encourage EHRCO to return to the procedure it adopted at its inception that of communicating its findings to the concerned authorities for confirmation or denial. If there is such an attitude on the part of the government, EHRCO would like to express that it welcomes such an attitude. It will be in the interest of victims of violations of human rights. EHRCO, as it repeatedly expressed on many occasions is a non-political and non-partisan organisation dedicated for peace, the democratic process, the rule of law and respect for human rights.