September 1996

1. Introduction

It is now five years since EHRCO was established and started its work. However, it has not yet been allowed to register as an NGO. Its account at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is still frozen. EHRCO has filed two lawsuits with a view to getting a court order to make the concerned government institution to register EHRCO and to make the CBE release the sum of birr 676,516.16 to EHRCO. However, these cases have not yet been decided because of the restructuring of the courts in Addis Ababa and the dismissal of the judges.

In spite of the financial constraints caused by the bank's seizure of its funds, EHRCO has published a book titled Compiled Reports of EHRCO. The book contains EHRCO's regular, special and urgent reports and press releases issued during the last five years, copies of the letters it exchanged with the ambassadors of Switzerland and the USA concerning human rights issues, the speeches that the Chairman of EHRCO has made at international conferences and to an audience of ambassadors as well as representatives of different organizations, and the response of the Transitional Government's Ministry of Interior to EHRCO's fifth report. Copies of this publication have been distributed locally and abroad. EHRCO has also published a 70-page pocket-size book in Amharic that explains the basic human rights. Furthermore, it has been publishing a monthly newsletter in Amharic, titled Melikte Isemegu, in which it discussed each provision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights so that people will know their rights. It also organized seminars and discussion fora by inviting distinguished professionals to give lectures on various human rights topics.

During the last five years, representatives of various international human rights organizations, religious institutions, organizations dealing with refugees, and representatives of other governments have visited EHRCO's head office. Among these are the new Ambassador of Sweden, His Excellency Mr. Karl Olof Cederblad, and the USA's new Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. David Shinne.

Between September 1995 and August 1996, EHRCO had received complaints concerning 2927 individuals. These complaints relate to extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting bodily injuries, arrest and disappearances, illegal dismissals, confiscation of property, and other human rights violations. The complaints which have been verified by EHRCO are presented as follows. (EHRCO would like to confirm that it has the names of the perpetrators of the human rights violations recorded in this report.)

2. Extra-judicial killings

The government's security forces have carried out extra-judicial killings of citizens in violation of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." This same human right provision is also enshrined in Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: "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." The Constitution of the FDRE (Article 14 & 15), too, guarantees the same right.

2.1 Persons killed allegedly for being relatives of a shifta

The following persons were brutally killed on the ground of being relatives of a rebel called Berhanu H/ Michael and then abandoned to be eaten by wild animals in Shekacho Zone, South Ethiopia People's Administrative Region.

Victim's Name Relation with the Alleged Shifta Date of Killing Place of Killing
2.11     W/ro Mamite Wedo (65 years old) Mother May 1, 1995   Gemadro Forest
(Shekacho Zone)
2.12     Endeshaw Dima Uncle >> >>
2.13     Worku H/Michael Brother >> >>

The attempt to investigate the killing by arresting the seven members of the Zonal Administrative Council who were suspected of killing the above three victims failed because of the pressure of one of the suspects who was at the time the Head of the Zonal Council's Economic Sector and is currently a member of the FDRE Council of People's Representatives' Legal Committee. The same individual had also dismissed from their jobs Ato Alemu Chigo, the Public Prosecutor of the Zone who ordered the police to investigate the crime, and Ato Shachachew Sheno, Vice President and Presiding judge of the Zonal High Court who signed the court warrant for the arrest of the seven suspects. Due to this reason the brutal murder of the three persons has not been investigated and the perpetrators of the crime have not been brought to justice to date.

2.2 Persons killed arbitrarily

2.2.1 A youth by the name of Anwar Negash was shot dead by a police Lieutenant and a Tagay at 4:30 P.M. on June 11, 1995. He was killed in the town of Harar, Keftegna 02, Qebele 14 ( the Harari Administrative Region). The killers have not been brought to justice.
2.2.3 Tesfahun Workneh (Chefaw) was killed by soldiers in Keftegna 02, Qebele 09 of Nazareth town, Oromiya Administrative Region, at 6:00 P. M. on August 5, 1995. The killers of this youth have not been brought to justice.
2.2.4 The 20 years old Binyam Bekele was shot and killed by a policeman on July 11, 1995 at 4:00 P.M. in Addis Ababa, Woreda 01, Qebele 01. The policeman has not been brought to justice.
2.2.5 Ato Ibsa Adugna and his friend Ato Tenna Woyessa were shot dead by security men in the morning of August 30, 1996. The two men were killed in Addis Ababa, Woreda 11, Qebele 01, House No. 694. The security men who killed them dragged their bodies to their vehicle and took them away. Furthermore, the security men threatened with their guns the people who witnessed their acts and forced them to get into their houses. The bodies of the victims were found at Menelik II Hospital on August 31, 1996. Ato Ibsa Adugna was a vocalist and guitar player in the Bilisuma Band. No legal action has yet been taken against the killers.
2.2.6 Tewodros Fekade, who was a resident of Addis Ababa in Woreda 17, Qebele 24, House No. 777, was shot dead by the policemen of the Woreda on October 12, 1995 at 6:00 A.M. His mother paid 27 birr and collected his body from Menelik II Hospital and buried it on August 13,1995.

2.2.7 Sebsibe Gezahegne, a 12th grade student of Bole Senior Secondary School in Woreda 17, Qebele 17 (Addis Ababa), was shot on the chest and killed by a Tagay on February 18,1996. He was killed at 11:30 P.M. while he was busy preparing a feast. Gezahegne was a 22 year old youth who used to work during his spare time to support his poor parents.

2.3 Persons killed on suspicion of being supporters of OLF

The following persons were killed by armed members of the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO) on the ground of being supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

Victim's Name Date of Killing Place of Killing
2.3.1     Ato Jara Udessa   January 12, 1996   Hagere Mariam, Dada Buji PA (Borena)
2.3.2     Lt. Robe Ganale   February 15,1996   Hagere Mariam, Burjiji PA (Borena)
2.3.4     Ato Gayo Galano   February 15,1996   Hagere Mariam, Burjiji PA (Borena)
2.3.5     Ato Katelo Waji   February 19,1996   Hagere Mariam, Galena PA (Borena)
2.3.6     Ato Jenge Shano   February 23,1996   Barguda PA (Borena)
2.3.7     W/ro Alemnesh Fantu   February 25,1996   Hagere Mariam, Melka Sodo PA (Borena)
2.3.8     Ato Hotessa Analo   March 11,1996   Hagere Mariam, Burjiji PA (Borena)
2.3.9     Ato Shagula Elema   February 23,1996   Hagere Mariam, Burjiji PA (Borena)

2.4 Person killed on suspicion of planning to rebel Ato Haile Gelelcha, a resident of Meta Robi Woreda, Siba Qetchema PA (West Shoa), was shot dead in the town of Goro Mako on April 12, 1996. His killers were the Deputy Administrator of the Woreda and the Head of the Woreda OPDO branch. Ato Haile was killed because his departure in search of employment to support his poor father was taken as an attempt to rebel. The victim was his father's only son.

2.5 Persons killed by an army artillery fire

An artillery fire shot by soldiers near Desse hit a house in Karra Gutu Qebele at 8:30 P.M. on August 1, 1996 and killed the following persons who had gathered there for dua (prayer).
2.5.1 Sheik Hassen Adem
2.5.2 Ato Eshetu Kassa
2.5.3 Ato Nur Ahmed
2.5.4 Ato Hassen Ibire
2.5.5 Ato Ashebir Yimer

2.6. Persons wounded by the artillery fire and admitted to Desse Hospital
2.6.1. W/ro Fate Mohammed
2.6.2. Ato Seid Hussein,
2.6.3. Ato Mohammed Hussein
2.6.4. Ato Kedir Kemal
2.6.5. Shik Seid Kemal
2.6.6. Ato Mohammed Yimer
2.6.7. Ato Yesouf Ibre
2.6.8. W/ro Fate Amanu
2.6.9. Ato Hassen Amanu

2.7 Arbitrarily shot and wounded by a member of the Defence Force Private Geletu Abe, an ex-policeman residing in Dugda Woreda (Meqi town), Qebele 03, was getting off a gharry (a horse-pulled passenger cart) and walking when a member of the Defence Force shot him on the chest without warning at a place called Melka Oda. This happened at 2:00 P.M. on March 6,1996. Pvt. Geletu had also complained to EHRCO that he was unfairly dismissed from the Police. (See 6.5 below.)

3. Persons beaten and tortured

In violation of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Articles 16 & 18 (1) of the Constitution of the FDRE, all of which provide that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," the security forces have tortured the following persons.

3.1 Ato Dereje Tegenaw is a farmer in Konbolsh and Qitchetch PA, Siya Debr, Wayu Woreda (North Shoa). On June 26, 1994, at 7:00 A.M., armed members of the military surrounded the house of this peaceful farmer and arrested him. After searching his house, they took him to the office of the Deneba Woreda Council. There they locked him up in a single room, tied his hands and feet, made him lie down on his chest and began to beat him with a stick and a gumare (a whip made of skin). They told him that they were informed by the Woreda Council of his being a member of the All Amhara Peoples Organization (AAPO) and his having a contact with a rebel by the name of Captain Negash Abebe. They asked him to show them where he had allegedly hidden his weapons and beat him to force him to comply. During this beating Ato Dereje was hit on his right eye and as a result his vision has been impaired.

3.2 Tagay Ismael Yesouf Almerdi joined the Benishangul People's Liberation Movement (BPLM) in 1989. From 1989 to the time of the fall of the Derg, Tagay Ismael had fought as a member of the BPLM. He had also served as a Battallion Commander of BPLM under the Transitional Government's Ministry of Defence. It was at this time that members of the Battallion under his command made demands for the protection of their rights. He put forward their demand to his superiors and for this he was detained at the Tsore Camp for four months doing hard labour. In August 1994, he was discharged from the BPLM Army. Soon after his dismissal, he and other persons organized the Benishangul and Western Ethiopia People's Democratic Party (BWEPDP). On September 9, 1994, he and Ato Reshdu Ahmed as well as Ato Almamu Mustafa were on their way to Assossa from Komosha town, where they had gone to brief the gathering of supporters about the BWEPDP's Political Program and to open a branch office of their party. On the road, they came across armed members of the BPLM led by a certain Tagay. The latter threatened them with their weapons and stopped their vehicle. Then they took the three people to Tsore Military Camp, where they tied their hands together with their feet and made them lie on their chests. They lifted them off the ground with wooden poles inserted between their legs and hands and swung them to and fro like a pendulum for three hours. Tagay Ismael Yesouf Almerdi was detained in this camp for three months and fifteen days without medical care and sufficient food. His right hand has also been atrophied as a result of the torture by the soldiers of the BPLM.

3.3. Ato Demisse Abadiga
3.4. Ato Abebe Gindo
3.5. Ato Teshome G/Tsadik

These three persons are traders who reside in Gimbo Woreda, Kaficho Zone. When the corrugated iron sheets of the roof of the producers' co-operative in Tepbuti Peasant Association (PA) was stolen by unknown persons, the Deputy chairman of the Woreda Council and three members of the Woreda Police arrested and detained the three traders on suspicion of receiving. On June 27,1995, at 2:00 P.M., the three traders were taken from the Woreda Police Station to the Woreda Council's meeting hall, made to take off all their clothes and mercilessly flogged to force them to confess that they had bought the stolen corrugated iron sheets. The flogging was reported to have been carried out by the Deputy Chairman of the Woreda Council and the three members of the Woreda Police.

3.6. Ato Tezera Zewde is an employee of Yeki Woreda Malaria Control Office. On the night of October 21, 1995, the guard on duty fired a shot to signal that a microscope was stolen from the office. Then the Woreda Police arrived and detained the guard. They also posted policemen to guard the office on that night. When Ato Tezera came to the office on Monday morning, he learned that the microscope he was using had been stolen. Soon the police came and took him to the police station for interrogation, but he was made to pass the day and night with other prisoners without being interrogated. At 9:00 P.M. on October 28, three policemen reportedly took Ato Tezera to the investigation room, made him take off his clothes, tied his hands with a nylon rope and dragged him on the ground telling him to produce the microscope. They were also reported to have beaten his feet and back with rubber and a wooden stick and inflicted on him severe injuries. Later, however, it was discovered that the guard was actually an accomplice of the thieves who had stolen the microscope and that Ato Tezera was innocently detained and subjected to torture for nothing.

3.7. Ato Kasaye Limenih is a staff member of the Telecommunication Branch Office in Tepi town. When he came to his office in the morning of November 13, 1997, he noticed that the glass of the solar battery charger was taken away from the compound of the branch office by cutting off the wire. When he reported the theft to the Woreda Police, the Commander of the Woreda Police detained him there. At 9:00 P.M. on October 15, the Commander together with four other policemen took Ato Kasaye to the investigation room, tied his hands with a nylon rope and reportedly beat his back and the soles of his feet in order to force him to produce the stolen glass. However, with the help of information given by members of the public, the real thieves were arrested on October 19 and produced the glass on October 26 from where they had hidden it. Ato Kasaye was finally set free after 12 days of detention and suffering for nothing.

3.8. Ato Gelelcha Degaga is a farmer in Siba PA, Meta Robi Woreda, West Shoa. When his son went elsewhere in search of a job, armed members of OPDO arrested and detained him on January 12, 1996, claiming that since his son had rebelled he should tell them where they could find him. For the same reason, his hands were tied and he was reportedly whipped by the head of the Woreda OPDO and his colleagues. Not only this, after tracing Haile Gelelcha (the detained farmer's young son) in the Woreda town on January 13, the OPDO head and his colleagues are also reported to have made him lie face down on the ground and shot him dead with five bullets in broad day light, while people were looking on. The next day, they set free Ato Gelelcha Degaga, telling him that they had killed his son and that he should collect his body and bury it.

3.9. Ato Wogene Geda is a young man from Wolensu Qetchema PA in Meta Robi Woreda, West Shoa. At 9:00 P.M. on February 11,1996, two members of the Army took him from his home and handed him over to the chief of the police station. After two days of detention, the two soldiers and the commander of the army unit stationed in the Woreda reportedly took him to the office of the chief of the police station at 10:00 P.M. and accused him of being a supporter and spy of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). They ordered him to tell them who his colleagues were, what they had been doing and to take them to their places. Then they handcuffed his hands, bent his knees to form a loop between his handcuffed hands, and after passing a wooden pole through the loop and suspending him with it between two tables, they severely beat the soles of his feet to make him confess. After being detained at the police station until June 22, 1996 without even being brought to court, Ato Wogene was told by the Deputy Woreda Administrator and Head of the Woreda OPDO that a political decision was made by the OPDO to the effect that he secure his release by paying a fine of birr 4,000, of which birr 500 was to be paid immediately and the rest gradually after he had worked and earned the money. So, his parents got his release by paying the required sum of money to the head of the Woreda OPDO's armed unit who collects from prisoners the fines fixed by OPDO. When Ato Wogene asked to be given a receipt for the money he paid, he was told that receipts would not be given for payment of political fines.

3.10. Pvt. Abera Chewaqa (pensioner)
3.11. W/ro Gu-ay Kebede
3.12. Sergeant Geletie Negatu

These persons are residents of Addis Ababa, Woreda 24, Qebele 09. At 9:30 P.M. on February 6,1996, Pvt. Abera Chawaqa (who was a taxi driver) was returning home when a policeman who lives in the camp at Kolfe Police Training Center, together with four other policemen, pulled a gun and stopped him about 40 meters near his home. Then he forced him out of the taxi and beat him with a stick. When Pvt. Abera shouted for help and his wife W/ro Gu-ay and his neighbour Corporal Geletie arrived at the scene, they were told that they had no business there and were beaten likewise.

3.13. Ato Tolosa Kishe is a farmer in Begajo Buyema PA, Meta Robi Woreda, West Shoa. On February 19, 1996, he was taken to the Goro Forest from his home at 2:00 P.M. by a policeman and ten other members of the army. There, he was accused of being a supporter of OLF, feeding rebels, and hiding weapons. They tied his hands with a nylon rope and after making him lie on his chest they repeatedly beat him with a stick. They also pierced his leg several times with a bayonet and caused him serious injuries. The next morning they took him to a place called Qetqetto and detained him in the office of Wolinsu Service Co-operative until April 9, 1996.

3.14. Ato Motuma Lemecha is a farmer in Suba Agamis PA, Meta Robi Woreda, West Shoa. On February 24, 1996, he was detained at the Woreda Police Station by a policeman and a member of OPDO. On February 29, 1996, he was taken to the interrogation room at midnight by the policemen and his hand and feet were tied together. With a wooden pole inserted between his legs, he was made to suspend between two tables and then the soles of his feet were beaten severely. He was also accused of supporting the OLF and serving as a courier of letters from the Metcha and Tulema Association in Addis Ababa. Later he was told that "the OPDO had made a political decision that he pay birr 600 and be released". Accordingly, he paid the fine to the head of the Woreda OPDO's armed unit and got released. When he asked for a receipt, he was told that receipts would not be given for payments made in accordance with a political decision.

3.15. Ato Usman Yusouf Umer is a farmer in Hara Deneba PA, Bedeno Woreda, East Harerghe. On April 12, 1996, his house was illegally searched at noon by two members of the army on the pretext that he had hidden weapons. Then they drove out his family from the house, locked the door, took Ato Usman to the compound of Hara Deneba Primary School, where there is the military camp of the 3rd Force of the 12th Battalion. At the camp, his hands were tied and then he was beaten mercilessly.

3.16. On June 23, 1996, Artist Tamagne Beyene went to Addis Ababa Stadium to watch the football match between the national youth teams of Uganda and Ethiopia. After the first half of the game a policeman took him out of the Stadium at gun point and, together with other spectators taken out in a similar way, he was driven in a police vehicle to Kolfe Police Training Center. There, he was beaten with 60 other spectators and received injuries. The fans were beaten allegedly because they booed at the Eritrean team. Ato Tamagne, however, was beaten on the ground that, during a 1992 musical festival held at the Stadium, "he incited the spectators to ridicule the guest of honour, the then prime Minister Tamrat Layne, by hailing slogans that glorified Ethiopia and Ethiopianness".

3.17. Ato Eshete Worku is a youth who resides in House No. 207, Qebele 33, Woreda 15, Addis Ababa. At 5:00 P. M on July 14, 1996, three policemen from Woreda 15 Police Station, took him for interrogation to the Police Station. There he was tied and beaten until he was seriously injured.

3.18. Ato Suleiman Seid Abdella was travelling to North Gondar on July 21, 1996 to visit his family. When he reached the town of Bichena, plain clothes policemen took him to the Bichena Police Station at 2:00 P.M. ostensibly for questioning. However, he was detained there and the next day transferred to Debre Markos Second Police Station. At 4:30 P.M. on July 23, he was taken to the military camp of a unit of the 20th Mechanized Division located in Gimja Bet. There he was accused of being a member of AAPO, his hands tied with electric wire and then whipped repeatedly. During his interrogation, he was asked whether he knew Professor Asrat and Dr. Taye, how many persons were sent with him to Gojam for agitation and where the others went, how many names of diplomats he had collected and given to Dr. Taye, and where the army of the Ethiopian National Patriots Front was operating. On July 26, 1996, he was brought to the Headquarters of the 20th Mechanized Division and detained there. Then one Tagay and three other soldiers took Ato Suleiman to a room where they again tied his hands and made him lie face down on a large table. They placed a big metal pipe across the nape of his neck and by pressing down both ends of the pipe so as to pin him down and prevent him from moving, they put a rolled piece of cloth into his mouth. Then they began to interrogate him about who sent him to Gonder, how many were sent with him, etc., and repeatedly whipped his back and legs with electric wire.

5. Persons abducted and disappeared

Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile." Article 19 (3) of the FDRE Constitution, which has enshrined the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights conventions that Ethiopia has ratified, states that "All persons arrested have the right to appear before a court of law and to be given a full explanation for the reasons of their arrest within 48 hours ..." Article 21 provides: "All persons in custody, including sentenced prisoners, have the right to conditions which respect human dignity. All persons shall have the opportunity to communicate with and to be visited by their spouses or partners, relatives and friends, religious counsellors, lawyers and medical practitioners." However, government security forces have violated these constitutional rights and abducted the following persons. Until the time of the issuance of this report their whereabouts was unknown.

Name of Disappeared Person Date of Abduction Place of Abduction
  4.1.1   W/t Aberash Berta   May 20, 1993   A. A, Woreda 19, Qebele 54
  4.1.2   Ato Endesirrachew Admasse   June 19, 1994   Gonder town
  4.1.3   Ato Teshome Bimrew   November 12, 1995   A. A, Woreda 13, Qebele 08
  4.1.4   Lt. Adis Bayileyegne   March 15, 1996   A. A, Woreda 16, Qebele 08
  4.1.5   Ato Adimew Tessema   August 14, 1996   A. A, Woreda 01, Qebele 08
  4.1.6   Ato Alebachew Worku   August 14, 1996   A. A, Woreda 2, Qebele 10

6. Persons dismissed from their jobs

Everyone has the right to work and make a living. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other international laws, and Ethiopian laws which are based on this basic principle provide that this right should be given legal protection.

However, the following civil servants have complained to EHRCO that they have been laid off without adequate reason or been involuntarily retired without any medical cause or without reaching the pension age.

Names of the Dismissed   Place of Work
  6.1   Ato Legesse Bajeba et al (1159 employees)   Akaki Textile Factory
  6.2   Ato Destaw Gebeyehu et al (1449 employees)   Tatek Engineering Factory
  6.3   Ato Ayalew Yifru et al (246 teachers)   From schools in various zones
  6.4   Sergeant Mesfin Taye   Shebedino Woreda Police
  6.5   Pvt. Geletu Abbe   Dugda Woreda Police
  6.6   Ato Eshetu Kassahun   Mafud Woreda Council
  6.7   Ato Dereje Wude   Addis Ababa Cement Factory
  6.8   Ato Mohammed Abametcha   Gimbo Woreda Court (Judge)
  6.9   Ato Ashebir W/Tsadik   Gimbo Woreda Court (Judge)
  6.10   Ato Gebeyehu Gizaw   Gimbo Woreda Court (Public Prosecutor)
  6.11   Ato Shatchachew Sheno   Shekacho Zone High Court (Judge)
  6.12   Ato Mengistu Woldeyes   Addis Soft Drinks Factory
  6.13   Ato Alemu Tchigo   Shekacho Zone Public Prosecutor's Office
  6.14   Ato Mekonnen Ferede   Bahir Dar Textile Factory
  6.15   Ato Gashaw Tsegaye   Bahir Dar Textile Factory
  6.16   Ato Abebe Tamiru   Bahir Dar Textile Factory
  6.17   Ato Habtewold T/Mariam   Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  6.18   Basha Tesfaye Ado   Kaficho Zone Police
  6.19   Pvt. Tekle Taddele   Kaficho Zone Police
  6.20   Pvt. Melaku Folla   Kaficho Zone Police
  6.21   Ato Getachew Kefyalew   Bonga Town Administration
  6.22   Ato Aberra Ebissa   Bonga Town Administration
  6.23   Ato Gebebo Gebre   Bonga (EDDC)
  6.24   Ato Ifa Wakjira   East Wollega Pub. Prosecutor's Office
  6.25   Ato Mekonnen Terrefe   East Wollega Pub. Prosecutor's Office
  6.26   Ato Abayneh Ali   East Wollega Pub. Prosecutor's Office
  6.27   Ato Kebede Desta   East Harerghe Pub. Prosecutor's Office
  6.28   Ato Tessema Rase   East Hareghe High Court (Judge)
  6.29   Second Lt. Mekonnen Mengesha   Chenna Woreda Police
  6.30   Secocd Lt. Getachew Ayele   Chenna Woreda Police
  6.31   Lieutenant Asqe G/Mariam   Chenna Woreda Police
  6.32   Ato Ayele Mamo   Wushwush Tea Development Enterprise
  6.33   Ato Alemayehu Abadama   Wushwush Tea Development Enterprise
  6.34   Ato Bekele Mekonnen   Wushwush Tea Development Enterprise
  6.35   Ato Ademe Haile Michael   Wushwush Tea Development Enterprise
  6.36   Ato Biadgiligne Tegbaru   Wushwush Tea Development Enterprise
  6.37   Sec. Lieutenant Wondimagegne Sisay   Sibu Sire Woreda Police
  6.38   Ato H/Mariam Churqo   Jimma City Council
  6.39   Ato Habtamu Haile   Menjiwo Woreda Court (Judge)
  6.40   Ato Tamiru Woyessa   Menjiwo Woreda Court (Judge)

7. Denial of pension right

The following members of the former army have complained to EHRCO that they were denied their pension rights in spite of fulfilling the age and service requirements for eligibility for pension.
7.1.Corporal Alemu Tessema Gobena
7.8. Pvt. Itefa Guta Negewo
7.2. Captain Shawul Moges Layew
7.9. Corporal Taddese Waqe Abbo
7.3. Sec. Corporal Tsegaw Asfaw Negatu
7.10. Pvt. Mohammed Agide Adim
7.4. Corporal Diriba Gudeta Debela
7.11. Sec. Corporal Taye Gobena Gelan
7.5. Corporal Awaju Megosha Tegegne
7.12. Corporal Ketema Kassaye Balla
7.6. Corporal Wolde Taddese W/Giorghis 7.7. Pvt. Gebere Igziabher Alem Guangul

8. Prisoners of War

8.1 Col. Belew Abay, who was an officer in the Organizational Department of the former army in Eritrea, was captured in Aqordat and, together with other captives like him, was held as a prisoner of war at the Asmara Revolution Square from May 27 to July 14, 1991. During this time, his family used to visit him and bring him food. After his transfer to the Sahel Prison, however, they have been unable to do so.

8.2 Ato Hagos G/Igziabher Berhe was a member of the banned Workers Party of Ethiopia (WPE) and Head of the WPE Department of Discipline and Inspection for Tigray province. When the EPRDF army overrun the city of Desse on May 18, 1991, Ato Hagos was captured and since then his whereabouts is not known.

9. Confiscation of property

Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: "Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property." However, contrary to this provision and the laws of the country, the following persons have reported to EHRCO that they have been deprived of their property and submitted their supporting evidence to this effect.
9.1 Ato Melaku Beyene is a resident of Harar town, Keftegna 3, Qebele 11, House No. 08. While Ato Melaku was being hospitalized at Dejazmach Balcha Hospital in Addis Ababa, members of the Police Force of Harar Administrative Region received orders from the Crime Investigation Officer and broke into the house of Ato Melaku on September 24,1995. After searching the house without a court warrant, they took away his automobile (plate no. A/A 2-038) which was parked in the compound. The car is now being used by the police after its plate number was replaced by another one which reads "Police 1705". Despite the repeated written orders of Asmedin Beri Woreda Court and the Woreda Public Prosecutor, the Police has refused to return the automobile to its rightful owner.

9.2 The Christians of Gimbo Woreda in Keficho Zone made contributions for the repair of St. Michael's Church in Kutti. The money was then handed over to Memire (Priest) Kassa Bekele (a member of the Church Committee), who paid birr 442 for 32m3 of rock for the repair of the foundation of the church's building. However, while he was transporting the rock to Kutti, a senior official of the Gimbo Woreda Administrative Council together with armed policemen stopped the vehicle carrying the rocks and forced the driver to unload the rocks at the Police Station. Then he set free the driver on bail and thus confiscated the church's property.

9.3 Ato Kero Wolde Michael is a resident of Uffa town in Gimbo Woreda. At 10:00 A.M. on September 8, 1996, he was transporting seven quintals of cement from Uffa to Wushwush, where he was building a new house. However, he was stopped on his way and his cement confiscated by two members of the Executive Committee of the Woreda Administrative Council and a policeman, who took the cement to the Police Station.

9.4 Ato Sari Jirmo has a hotel registered under House No. 344 in Qebele 02, Yabello town in Borana. When he came to Addis Ababa for medical treatment, a meeting of the Woreda officials was held on March 6, 1996 at the Woreda office and a resolution passed. It was decided that "since Ato Sarri Jirmo has rebelled and is unwilling to give up his hand, his hotel should be closed and sealed." Accordingly, the hotel was closed down and sealed and the owner made to incur financial losses. His hotel has not been returned to him until the release of this report.

9.5 Ato Bekele Bediye owns a hotel called "Shoferoch Hotel" in Qebele 01, Hagere Mariam town, Borana. When the owner came to Addis Ababa for medical treatment, his hotel was closed down and sealed by the Woreda officials on the pretext that he had run to the bushes to rebel against the government. His hotel was returned to him after it was closed for five months.

10. Conclusion

As exposed in the present and past reports of EHRCO, members of the Police and Defense Forces have broken the law and violated human rights. Whereas it is their duty to find the person they believe to have rebelled and bring him before a court of law, they kill his relatives instead. Without sufficient proof they accuse a person of intending to rebel and kill him, or detain and torture him and inflict upon him physical injuries that lead to disability, or kidnap and make him disappear, or confiscate his property. Despite the fact that the law recognizes the right to be a member of a political organization or hold any political view, they accuse people of being supporters of a political organization and commit against them the above-mentioned atrocities. The government has not been observed protecting human rights by taking legal action against the perpetrators of such violations. What leads one to criticize the government is its passively watching these violations and the culprits' liberty to continue with their illegal acts. It is these conditions that make one to conclude that the government is not making any effort to improve human rights. If no attempt is made to implement the existing laws, it is futile to talk about the kind of laws the government has promulgated, the international human rights conventions it has ratified, or the provisions included in the Constitution. This is one of the basic points that some agencies that profess to be monitoring human rights have failed to appreciate. These parties consider the mere existence of human rights laws as a major improvement in the protection of human rights. The fundamental issue, however, is not the existence of the laws on paper, but their strict application.
As pointed out in EHRCO's Ninth Report, there is no improvement in the judicial system. The administration of justice which was weakened by the summary dismissal of judges in 1992 has been totally paralyzed by the second round of dismissals in 1996. In the latter action taken in the name of "restructuring the courts", quite a considerable number of well qualified and highly experienced judges have been laid off. For this reason many benches have been merged. For instance, in Addis Ababa alone there were 28 Woreda Court criminal benches, 28 Woreda Court civil benches, no less than six Woreda Court labour benches, four High Court criminal benches, six High Court civil benches and two High Court labour benches. Each of the Woreda Court benches were presided over by one judge. Even then the number of cases was so high that the cases were not decided within a reasonable time.
To make matters worse, however, the over 72 Woreda and High Court benches have now been trimmed down to just 12 benches. Over 35,000 of the cases that were under examination by the 62 Woreda Court benches plus thousands of other cases which were under the High Court benches but now transferred to the First Instance Court are being handled by only five First Instance Court benches. Thus, since a court is made to examine more cases than could be handled in one day, the benches are forced to stay in session outside working ours just to fix a day for the next hearing. Unless additional judges are appointed and more benches opened, the citizens are going to be denied justice.
The fact that the cases of several thousand detainees who have been accused of committing human rights violations and war crimes during the Derg regime are going to be examined by one bench is indicative of the government's insensitivity to the plight of the detainees. There is quite a considerable number of detainees who have not yet been formally charged even six years after the fall of the Derg. The excuse given for the delay of their trial is that the investigation of their cases has not yet been completed. However, to claim that the investigation has not been completed after detaining so many people for six years is not credible. Nor can the shortage of judges be an adequate justification for the delay since there is no real shortage of qualified legal professionals as such. For instance, from the Amahara Administrative Region alone, 17 judges with LL.B degrees, one judge with a Diploma in Law, and altogether a total of 18 High Court judges were dismissed without adequate reasons. From Addis Ababa, too, 20 judges with LL.B degrees and 20 others with Law diplomas were dismissed without adequate reasons. Even Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has publicly acknowledged that the reasons given for the delay of the trial of several thousand detainees have now been exhausted and said "we cannot go on listing any more reasons henceforth." It is hence a violation of human rights to keep thousands of persons in detention without bringing them to justice. Not taking appropriate legal action against government officials and security forces who violate human rights and failure to implement the laws are tantamount not only to leaving the door open for such violations but also to encouraging the continuation of the violations.
Therefore, EHRCO requests the government that:
 those kept in detention without charges be brought to justice without further delay, or that they be set free if there are not adequate grounds for filing charges against them;
 the necessary legal action be taken against the perpetrators of the human rights violations which have been exposed in the present and past reports of EHRCO;
 to improve the administration of justice, additional benches be opened and more judges be appointed;
 the illegally confiscated property be returned to the rightful owners;
 those unfairly dismissed from their jobs be reinstated;
 efforts be made to implement the human rights provisions enshrined in international and national laws.

EHRCO also appeals to all governments, human rights organizations, international NGOs, religious organizations and individuals living within or outside Ethiopia and who support respect for the rule of law and human rights to use their influence to make the Ethiopian government respect human rights.

Council of People's Representatives
P.O. Box 80001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

His Excellency Dr. Negasso Gidada
FDRE President
P.O. Box 1031, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

His Excellency Ato Meles Zenawi
FDRE Prime Minister
P.O. Box 1031, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

His Excellency Ato Mahteme Solomon
Minister of Justice
P.O. Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ato Kemal Bedri
President of Supreme Court
P.O. Box 6166, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia