THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA
EIGHTH REPORT
June 1995

1. Introduction

1.1. Since its establishment in October 1991, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) has issued seven reports on the democratic process, the rule of law and the human rights situation in Ethiopia. It has also issued special reports whenever immense problems and difficulties had arisen.
With regard to the four years of the transitional period, EHRCO has published a book entitled "Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights in Ethiopia: Rhetoric and Practice". EHRCO has become a target of unwarranted criticisms and campaigns of condemnations as a result of the publication of the book. The Ambassador of Switzerland to Ethiopia has started the campaign by denigrating not only EHRCO but also the Ethiopian people, in such a language that one wouldn't like to attribute to a diplomat of his stature and standing. The basis for his uncharacteristic reaction was that the Ambassador had not examined the contents of the book before its publication for which the embassy has donated US $10,000. The Executive Committee of EHRCO, while regretting the unfortunate misunderstandings, has given a prompt response to the baseless condemnations and criticisms by the Ambassador, and has also decided to pay back the money.

1.2. Following the campaign of condemnation unleashed by the Ambassador of Switzerland to Ethiopia, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has, on its part, also taken its own harmful measure against EHRCO. Three and half years ago EHRCO had entered into a contract with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and opened a checking account at Finfinne Branch, which it has been operating without any difficulties till recently. However, following the publication of EHRCO's book, and its subsequent condemnation by the Ambassador of Switzerland to Ethiopia through the government news media, the bank has withheld and blocked the accounts of EHRCO, thus providing ample proof that it is being used as a tool of the government. Since EHRCO neither anticipated nor suspected that the bank will take such blatant measures, it did not keep any of its money elsewhere. As a result, EHRCO was hard pressed for funds toward payments of such costs as the rent of its office space and telephone bills.

1.3. Nevertheless, the Ethiopian people who have closely been following the unfolding developments have swiftly responded to the serious challenge by standing solidly behind EHRCO, and the intended damage was, therefore, averted. To prevent the interruption of EHRCO's activities for lack of money, street beggars have donated the few cents they have collected from charitable persons. Peanut vendors have contributed the sales of their daily earnings. Shoe-shine boys have done like wise. Servants and maids have made generous contributions from their meagre hand-to-mouth wages. A woman employed as a maid in a certain West African country was grieved to learn of EHRCO's predicament from a newspaper, and has sent 70 Birr. Pensioners have contributed from their very small monthly payments. Numerous Ethiopians with unwavering support for the respect of human rights have donated freely. The contributions of Ethiopians living abroad are also notable and praiseworthy. Because all Ethiopians, both living in Ethiopia and abroad, have recognised the offensive directed against EHRCO as a flagrant violation of human rights directed against each and every individual Ethiopian, and have therefore responded to the challenges swiftly, EHRCO has been enabled to continue its activities as before with renewed vigour and vitality. EHRCO has unshakeable confidence in Ethiopians and counts on their support. It is deeply touched and would like to express its heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all Ethiopians who have made their generous contributions and is confident that their assistance will continue in the future as well.

1.4. EHRCO was also a victim of a criminal act. On the night of June 1, 1995 unknown burglars broke into the Office of EHRCO and took one computer together with its accessories and other office materials. The computer and accessories were seized in a taxi with the driver and another suspect who were apprehended, but no trace has been found of the other stolen items which comprise a computer manual, a wall clock, and an English dictionary. The case is under investigation by the Region 14 police Criminal Investigation Department. The computer and its accessories have now been returned to EHRCO and it would like to express its appreciation to the Region 14 police Criminal Investigation Department and the Zonal Public Prosecutor for their co-operation.

1.5. EHRCO has filed a law-suit against the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia for unlawfully withholding over 670 thousand Birr of its funds and for freezing its account. The Registrar of Region 14 Zonal Court had earlier decided that a case could be filed after payment of a court fee. Accordingly, EHRCO had paid the required court fee of 9,616 Birr and had filed a suit. The file was then returned to the Registrar so that he would refer it to one of the divisions of the Court. However, the Registrar refused to forward the case to the court on the ground that EHRCO is not registered by the government, and therefore has no legal capacity to file a law-suit. However , since EHRCO believes strongly that the Registrar's decision was not in accordance with the law, EHRCO's attorney appealed to the Justices of the court who have ordered the case to be presented to judges, and a date has now been set for the hearing.

1.6. The law provides that "any person capable under the law may be a party to a suit." The question is "whether or not EHRCO has a legal capacity". When the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia froze EHRCO's account, the reason it gave was that "EHRCO has not been registered by the government and it does not have a certificate of registration", which would mean that it does not have a legal capacity. This is an erroneous interpretation of the law. Only business organisations are required by law to be registered in order to get a legal personality. Article 223 of the Commercial Code provides that "A business organisation shall have no legal existence nor personality until all the provisions of this Code relating to publicity have been complied with and registration is published in accordance with Article 87 of this Code." This article clearly states that a business organisation will not have a legal personality before it is dully registered and a notice to this effect has been published in a newspaper.
We do not find a similar provision in the Civil Code that requires non-profit making associations like EHRCO to be registered in order to have a legal personality. Associations established on the basis of Article 404 and subsequent articles of the Civil Code are merely required to have an article of association that is signed by at least five of the founding members (Articles 408, 409,410 411(2); to submit the article of association to the office of association within a month of the establishment of the association (Article 413); and to appoint the executive officers of the association (Article 426). An association that fulfils these requirements is legally entitled to perform all civil acts which are consistent with its nature (Article 454). It can sue and be sued (Article 455). The Civil Code nowhere states that an association which is not registered by the government and does not have a certificate of registration is not capable under the law.
The arguments of those who maintain that EHRCO does not have a legal personality arises from confusing business organisations with civil associations and do not, therefore, have any legal basis.

1.7. The office of association (the Ministry of Internal Affairs) has the duty, to keep in alphabetical order, a register of the associations established and declared to it (Art. 470(1)). It can only refuse to register an association if it finds that the objectives and activities of the organisation are unlawful or contrary to morality (Article 462 (1)). The executive officers of the association may also request the office of association to provide them with documents showing their capacity (Article 433). On the other hand, if the office of association unlawfully refuses to register such associations, or to provide the executive officers with such documents, they can appeal to the court against such a refusal (Article 470(2). EHRCO had earlier requested the Ministry of Internal Affairs to register it, but it was told, at the time, that a legislation defining "the relationship between the government, on the one hand, and political and human rights organisations, professional or labour organisations and various types of non-governmental organisations, on the other, including the relationships among themselves" was under consideration by the Council of Representatives. EHRCO was advised to wait until this legislation was issued. In the mean time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs had also responded to EHRCO's Fifth Report. After a long delay, the Ministry of Internal Affairs finally refused to register EHRCO alleging that it is a political organisation. The Executive Committee of EHRCO has been aggrieved by the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and has decided to take the matter to court and has forwarded it to an attorney at law.
So far the report has dealt only with the problem faced and encountered by EHRCO. We now report on human rights violations perpetrated against the Ethiopian people. (This report comprises petitions and evidence presented to EHRCO from June 8, 1994 to June 7, 1995.)

2. Ignoring Court Orders

The mere legislation of multiplicities of laws does not by itself ensure the rule of law and respect for human rights unless the laws are strictly implemented and judicial independence is ensured, and the decisions and orders of courts are respected and enforced.
When organs of the executive branch refuse to enforce court orders and in such cases if the courts can not take appropriate legal measures against the offending organs, citizens whose rights are trampled upon are bound to lose hope and confidence in the law and the legal system. Such cases of utter disrespect for the law will only result in abetting and encouraging lawlessness. The case presented below is illustrative of the above point.
Lts. Adane Wolde and Wagnew Ejigou were charged with crimes and were brought before Region 14 Zonal Court which examined their cases (File No.217/86) and acquitted them on August 4, 1994. The public prosecutor was, however, unhappy with the verdict and appealed to the Regional Court. The Regional Court in turn re-examined the cases of the defendants, concurred with the previous decision and ruled in favour of their acquittal. Nonetheless, the Addis Ababa Prison Administration, in defiance of the court order, has kept the defendants in prison.

3. Extra- Judicial Killings

Article 3 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."
Nevertheless, EHRCO has received petitions, supported by documents, that the following individuals were killed, without due process of law, by members and forces of EPRDF.

3.1 List Of Individuals Executed At Various Places

No   Name of Deceased Date of Execution Place of Execution
1   Biruk Kebede   02/04/93   Dedder - W/Harerge  
2   Shigute Kefene   19/05/94   A.A., W. 19 Q. 57  
3   Teshome Haile Mariam   04/06/94   Insaro - Weqelo Peasant Assoc.  
4   Habtamu Mulate   04/06/94   Insaro - Weqelo Peasant Assoc.  
5   Shimekit Eshetu   17/06/94   Teferi Kela 01 Qebele  
6   Ayggefam Gashaw   15/07/94   Jihur - Tenbela Peasant Assoc.  
7   Mengistu Aferu   15/07/94   Jihur - Tenbela Peasant Assoc.  
8   Hundura Terefe(Teacher)   14/10/94   Shambu - Wellega  
9   Getachew Ejerso (Lt.)   18/10/94   Bedele Town  
10   Mohammed Yasin   20/02/95   A.A., Wereda 5 Qebele 06  
11   Wendimu Geter   20/02/95   A.A., Wereda 5 Qebele 06  
12   Zerihum Lema (Cap)   06/04/95   Shambu - Wellega  
13   Taye Belisti   19/04/95   A.A., Wereda 17 Qebele 20  
14   Henok Yonatan   28/04/95   Mume Fugso near Babogembel Town- Wellega  

Note:- The cases of the individuals in nos. 6 and 7. are reported in full detail in the recently published book by EHRCO entitled "Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights in Ethiopia: Rhetoric and Practice."

3.2. The Killing Of Haji Siraj Musa Obse

On February 21, 1995 a shot was fired by an individual named Ato Seadu Jemal at a gathering of Moslem worshippers in the Grand Anwar Mosque resulting in a fierce confrontation between the police, on the one hand, and the faithful, on the other. It was reported by the government that 9 people lost their lives while 129 were reported to have received injuries of various degrees. According to the report by the government, the confrontation took place between rival groups led by Haji Mohammed Awel Reja and Grazmatch Addis Nur Hussein, who are known to have harboured long standing differences and disputes between them. Moreover, the government maintains that Haji Siraj was killed by security forces while trying to flee from security forces. Nevertheless, the petition presented to EHRCO by members of Haji Siraj's family proves that this was not the case.
According to the report by the family of Haji Siraj, unknown people jumped over the fence of Haji Siraj's house no. 313, in Addis Ababa, located in Wereda 2 Qebele 11, at 12:30 PM in the middle of the night and ordered the occupants to open the door. When this happened, Haji Siraj telephoned Qebele 11 asking for help, and reported that unidentified people had jumped over the fence of the compound and were demanding that he open the door of the house. The person on duty at the Qebele, in turn, telephoned Wereda 2 police station, gave a situation report and requested the police to provide immediate assistance. Meanwhile, the people, who spoke Tigrigna, broke into the house of Haji Siraj, dragged him out of his bed, and took him by force. Returning half an hour later, they ransacked Haji's living and bed rooms. When they dragged him out of his house, it was reported that they did not even allow him to put on his spectacles. Haji Siraj was short-sighted and always wore his spectacles even while moving about inside his own house. He also had serious problems with his legs, which were often swollen, and he used to move about with the help of a walking stick and to pray seated on a chair as well.
Relations of Haji Siraj, who claimed his body from the morgue at Menelik II Hospital, had to look through 25 bodies before they were finally able to identify him. They paid 27 Birr to the hospital to have the body released, after which they took it back home and were preparing it for burial when they discovered that Haji Siraj had sustained a gun-shot wound on the right eye and the bullet was still lodged in the head, and another bullet had entered his abdomen just above the navel and exited on the right side of his spinal column. They also noted that his shoulders and back were severely bruised as a result of the beatings and severe blows he had received.
The eyewitness reports prove incontrovertibly that Haji Siraj's killing was planned and executed wilfully and deliberately. The government should have brought Haji Siraj's killers to justice instead of covering up the facts. It is hard to believe that Haji Siraj, an elderly man, who could not move without the use of a walking stick, was killed by security forces while trying to run away from the law. This was not only a naked lie but simply absurd and deeply troubling and that the cover-up amply demonstrates that the government does not in the least have the slightest concern for the wanton killing of its citizens by security forces who believe and act in a manner that they are above the law. It also makes one think that the perpetrators of such inhuman deeds and criminal acts enjoy the full support and protection of the state.

4. Victims Of Torture And Physical Abuse


Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." Articles 27 and 31 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ethiopia also state that no one shall be compelled to make statements.
Nevertheless, contrary to the letter and spirit of the relevant articles in the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the Criminal Procedure Code of Ethiopia, EHRCO has received documented petitions that the following individuals were tortured and physically abused by members of EPRDF security forces and police at various times and different localities.

4.1. Ato Derara Bayisa was detained at Ambo Police Station for a crime he was alleged to have committed. On the evening of February 10, 1994 he was taken out of his prison cell and was led to an investigation room in the station by (1) Getachew Leta (Officer in charge of the station), (2) Private Tesfaye Ashine (Investigator), and (3) Private Eshetu Kuma (Investigator) where his hands and legs were bound together tightly. He was suspended from a pole passed through the rope which bound his hands and legs and was then beaten severely with twined electric wires which caused severe damages to the soles of his feet.
Ato Derara was not permitted by Capt. Getatchew to receive medical help for injuries he received as a result of the beating. He was kept under detention at the police station from February 8, 1994 until his acquittal by the High Court of Western Shoa Zone on July 14, 1994.
4.2. Wro. Askale Habtamu and
4.3. Ato Kibruyisfa Afferu, both residents of Northern Shoa in Jihur Wereda, whose cases are presented in detail in EHRCO's recent book, were abducted from their homes on April 28, 1994 by Ato Mesfin Arrage at the head of several armed soldiers of EPRDF and were led to uninhabited area called Gode-Bora. They were senselessly beaten and ordered to lead their assailants to the place where Ayggefam Gashaw and Mengistu Afferu were hiding. As a result of the inhuman and severe beatings administered to them, Wro. Askale sustained a broken arm while Kibruyisfa lost the use of his right arm
4.4. Ato Haylegnaw Teshome, a representative of the Ethiopian Democratic Unity Party (EDU), was stopped by two members of EPRDF, Haddish Yohannes and Sequar Semere, while taking a stroll with his friend in Addis Ababa, on the evening of June 14, 1994 at 6:30 p. m. Ato Haylegnaw and his friend were ordered to produce their identifications, which they did. However, the security forces then started beating Ato Haylegnaw, then and there, because of his membership with EDU, and took him to Kebele 16 where he was beaten and detained over-night and released in the morning.
4.5. On January 7, 1995, at 10:00 p. m, Ato Girum Kebede, a resident of Ginchi, Higher 1, Qebele 02, was stopped by Areba and Dinka, members of OPDO/EPRDF forces, while he was on his way home. He was severely beaten with heavy sticks on the pretext that he has violated the curfew regulation. Ato Girum sustained a broken arm as a result of heavy beatings. Although the victim filed a criminal suit with the police station, his assailants were immediately transferred to Debre Zeyit by their unit to prevent the case from being investigated by the police.
4.6. Sgt. Lemma Weyessa, employee of the Ethiopian Democratic Coalition (EDC) of Awasa branch, was abducted from his home in Awasa, Higher 1 Qebele 03 House No. 396, on August 13, 1994, by members of the regional police force and was taken to Yirga Alem where he was detained. He was alleged to have planned to endanger the lives of legally elected members of the administration, such as members of the Council of Representatives and executive officers of the Southern Ethiopian Administrative Region and Sidama Zone, with poison and fire arms. His hands and legs were bound with a rope and beaten severely at different times, as a consequence of which he has sustained severe damages and injuries.
His case was later reviewed by the police, and the Sidama Zone High Court acquitted him on February 14, 1994 by closing his case (Cr. File No. 18/87).

5. Cases Of Detention And Disappearances.

The list below contains the names of individuals who were detained by government security forces at various times, and their present whereabouts are unknown.

No   Name Date of Arrest Place Arrested
1   Zewdu Abebe   25/03/94   A.A. Wereda 2 Qebele 13  
2   Daniel Agonafir   25/03/94   A.A. Wereda 14 Qebele 07  
3   Diregna Banti   26/03/94   A.A. Wereda 15 Qebele 27  
4   Manaye Habtamu   23/04/94   Jihur Tenbela Peasant Ass.  
5   Tilahun Yitna (Maj.)   26/05/94   A.A Wereda 28 Qebele 02  
6   Shimelies Argaw   26/05/94   A.A Wereda 4 Qebele 37  
7   Abyeworq H/Mariam   27/05/94   A.A Wereda 5 Qebele 15  
8   Damtew Tafesse   27/05/94   A.A Wereda 5 Qebele 15  
9   Sewinet Mulualem   01/06/94   A.A Wereda 7 Qebele 33  
10   Desalegn Abdena (Pvt.)   02/06/94   Welisso Town  
11   Yonas Irgete (cadet)   06/06/94   A.A. Wereda 19  
12   Teshome Beyene   15/06/94   A.A. Wereda 15  
13   Abera Aregawi (Lt.)   19/06/94   Kombolcha Town  
14   Getachew Eshetu   22/06/94   A.A. Wereda 17 Qebele 25  
15   Berhanu Ijegu   22/06/94   A.A. Wereda 17 Qebele 25  
16   Demisse Tesfaye (Teacher)   18/07/94   Arbaminch Town  
17   Asrate Mekonnen   10/08/94   A.A. Wereda 20 Qebele 38  
18   Mola Ijegu (Teacher)   12/08/94   A.A. Wereda 9 Qebele 21  
19   Estipho Argaw   13/08/94   A.A. Wereda 18 Qebele 35  
20   Motbaynor Nure (Teacher)   03/09/94   A.A. Wereda 28 Qebele 01  
21   Yohannes Afework (Cap.)   29/09/94   A.A. Wereda 17  
22   Berhanu Zewdu (Member of EPRDF Security Force)   03/10/94   Naziret Town  
23   Mesfin Amare   17/10/94   A.A. Wereda 7  
24   Bekele Gemeda (Pvt.)   19/10/94   A.A. Wereda 28 Qebele 25  
25   Worqineh Uwisa (Maj.)   10/05/94   A.A. Wereda 15  


Note: Ato Manaye Habtamu in 4 above in the table was abducted from his home on 23/04/94 by Ato Mesfin Arage at the head of EPRDF forces and was detained at Enewari Police Station until 08/05/94. Since then, however, his whereabouts are unknown.

6. Status Of Prisoners

Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile." Article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that "Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge...."
EHRCO has nonetheless received a large number of petitions on behalf of prisoners whose status is either unclear or unknown; and the following tables, classified by regions, present their cases. (The number of prisoners in this report does not include those published in earlier reports of EHRCO.)
6.1. Southern Ethiopia Administrative Region

No Name of Prison   No. of Prisoners
1   Awassa wereda police station   47  
2   Yirgalem Prison   40  
3   Welayita Sodo prison   38  
4   Awassa Prison   18  
5   Arba Minch Prison   16  
6   Jinka Police Office   14  
7   Angacha Wereda Police Station   13  
8   Welayita Sodo Police Station   10  
9   Qadida Gamela Wereda Police Station   10  
10   Hosana prison   8  
11   Gimbo Wereda Police Station - (Kaficho Zone)   5  
12   Shekicho Zone Police Office   4  
13   Gimbichu Wereda Police Station   1  
14   Southern Ethiopian Peoples Administration Police (criminal investigation department)   1  
  Total   225  

6.2 REGION 4 (Oromia)

No   Name of Prison   No. of Prisoners
1   Assela Prison   42  
2   Western Showa Police office   32  
3   Zeway prison   31  
4   Becho Wereda Police Station   19  
5   Tateq Engineering Factory - (Ambo)   10  
6   Weliso Prison   8  
7   Weliso Wereda Police Station   4  
8   Beree Amba Peasant Ass. (Guna-Arusi)   3  
9   Neqemte - Former AEPA Office   1  
  Total   150  


6.3 REGION 14 (Addis Ababa)

No   Name of Prison   No. of Prisoners
1   A.A. Criminal Investigation Department   10  
2   Central Investigation Organ   6  
3   A.A. Prison   4  
4   A.A. Wereda 2 Police Station   3  
5   A.A. Wereda 3 Police Station   2  
6   A.A. Wereda 14 Police Station   2  
7   A.A. Wereda 8 Police Station   1  
8   A.A. Wereda 13 Police Station   1  
  Total   29  

6.4 REGION 1 (Tigray)

No   Name of Prison   No. of Prisoners
1   Alamata Prison   6  
2   Maymaido Woreda Police Station   4  
3   Endamehoni Wereda Police Station   2  
4   Korem Woreda Police Station   1  
5   Mekele Town Police Station   1  
6   Mekele Prison   1  
7   Adigrat Police Head Quarter   1  
  Total   16  

6.5. REGION 3 (Amhara)

No   Name of Prison   No. of Prisoners
1   Dessie Prison   3  
2   Gonder Prison   2  
3   Debre Tabor Prison   2  
4   Enewari Woreda Police Station   1  
5   Tebassie Military Barrack   1  
6   Achefer-Durbete Police Station   1  
  Total   10  

6.6 REGION 13 (Harar)
Name of Prison - No. of Prisoners
Harar Police Head Quarter - 8

6.7. Dire Dawa Administration
Name of Prison - No. of Prisoners
Dire Dawa 2nd Police Station - 2
Grand Total - 440

7. Prisoners Of War

The civil war waged between EPLF and EPRDF, on the one hand, and the Derg, on the other, was concluded four years ago with the defeat of the Derg. Since then, however, members of the armed forces and civil servants in the previous regime are still in various prisons since their capture by EPLF and EPRDF. EHRCO has received a number of petitions on their behalf.

No   Name of War Prisoner   Date Captured   Place Captured  
1   Ato Getachew Haile   May, 1988   Maichew  
2   Lt. Col. Afwork Wase   August, 1988   Afabet  
3   Pvt. Taddese W.Mariam   11/02/89   Massawa  
4   Ato Tariku Geda   11/02/89   Massawa  
5   Capt. Girma Mekonnen   24/05/90   Asmara  

Note:-Ato Getachew Haile in 7.1, was captured by EPRDF, while the remaining prisoners were captured by EPLF.

8. Violation Of The Right To Work

The following persons maintain that they were illegally dismissed from their jobs in violation of the Civil Service Regulations and the Labour Law of the country.

No   Name   Place of Work  
1   Ato Firework Ayalew   Ministry of External Affairs  
2   Ato Getiye Yeshi   Ethiopian Bonded Warehouse Enterprise  
3   Ato Getachew G.Mariam   Engineering Industry Commission  
4   Ato Hailu Leyikun   Ethio-Plastic Factory  
5   Ato Mohammed Umer   Kidame Gebeya School-Dessie  
6   Ato Tesfaye Mekonnen   Saw Mills & Joineries Production & Marketing Enterprise  
7   3 Policemen   Kaficho zone police  
8   15 workers   Ethiopian Jute Factory  


9. Violation Of Property Rights

Article 17(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Any one has the right to own property either alone or jointly with others". In sub-article (2) of same Article it is stated that" "No one may lose his/her property arbitrarily."
Nevertheless, the property of the person named below has been confiscated by Northern Shoa Zone Police in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provisions, and the laws of the land as well.
Wro. Amarech Habtewold, a resident of Debre Berhan, Higher 1, Qebele 02, House no. 070, owned and ran Kokeb Photo, a photography and photocopying shop, with proper commercial registration ( / 2-3216/85) and commercial license (15/ /244), located in Debre Berhan Higher 1, Qebele 02, House No. 169. She was detained by Pvts. Abebe Taffese and Yewendwesen Tsige on July 23,1994 for having allegedly taken photographs, on March 5, 1994, at the time "bandits attacked the main prison in Debre Berhan and freed several prisoners". On July 25, 1994 a search warrant was issued by the Wereda Court at Debre Berhan (Ref. No. 1120/86) and the premises of her business was searched in her presence, elected officials of Qebele 02 and elders. However, the police illegally took from the shop equipment valued at 10,000 Birr when they should have searched for and seized only those items which were relevant for the investigation as stated in Article 33 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Because the business, for which she has been paying the taxes required of her regularly to the government, was sealed illegally for the past 10 months, she has suffered financially.
Weyzero Amarech has appealed to the following government bodies who have direct legal jurisdictions over the case and have repeatedly ruled in her favour, but to no avail. The following government bodies have issued orders to Northern Shoa Police to return the property seized and to allow Weyzero Amarech to operate her business.
1. Northern Shoa Zone Public Prosecutor's office in a letter dated August 16, 1994 and ref. no. 1239 / / 3803/.
2. Region 3 Administration Public Prosecutor, in a letter dated march 10, 1995 and ref. no. 313/ /4051/ /180/187.
3. Northern Shoa Public Prosecutor, in a letter dated May 12, 1995, ref. no. 1239 / / 7048/87.
However, because of the refusal of Northern Shoa police to abide by the law and their rejection of the various orders issued by superior bodies, Weyzero Amarech is presently experiencing extreme personal and financial difficulties.

10. Conclusion

The concerned officials of the Transitional Government should take note that the human rights violations presented in detail in this report are violation of rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the Charter as well as by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Respect for human rights is a pre-condition if peace is to prevail and democracy to take root in the country. Government officials as well as employees of the government are duty bound to respect human rights and to rectify the weaknesses and errors committed as a result of their wilful and intentional neglect of human rights. It is also imperative that they manifest positive attitudes toward human rights and their respect, and to provide adequate proof to the Ethiopian people that they are committed to protect human rights, and that they will take personal responsibilities for their failures to do so. The pronouncement made by Ato Girma Wakjira, Chief of the Special Public Prosecutor with the rank of minister, in connection with the trial of Col. Mengistu H.Mariam and associates, that " the law does not provide special privileges to any government authority, including the head of state, to commit murder, to maim or to abduct citizens and conceal their whereabouts" should be noted and heeded to by all. EHRCO agrees that it should not be the case that the law applies to government authorities only when they are forcefully removed. If we claim to abide by the law and conduct our functions and discharge our responsibilities in accordance with the law, then the law should equally apply to incumbent government authorities when they violate it. The sword of justice should fall not only upon the disgraced but also upon incumbents.
EHRCO would also like to remind the Ministry of Internal Affairs that it is legally responsible for registering associations and for ensuring the respect of the right of the citizens to organise.
Finally, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) requests individuals, human rights organisations, political and religious organisations, governments and international organisations to support and promote the cause of human rights, the democratic process, and the rule of law in Ethiopia and to write to the addresses listed below requesting the rectification of the violations outlined in this report.