Trial against suspect of Ethiopian war crimes commenced in The Hague

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On Monday 30 October, the criminal case against Eshetu A., a suspect of war crimes, commenced before the court of first instance in The Hague. The case focusses on crimes which have been committed during the so-called ‘Red Terror’ (1977-1978), a bloody period during the reign of the Derg regime in Ethiopia (1974-1987). The defendant is prosecuted in the Netherlands for war crimes on the basis of the Act War Crimes (Wet Oorlogstrafrecht). The defendant is suspected to have functioned as a regional representative of the Derg regime in the province of Gojjam. He is held to have ordered the execution of 75 young men who were members of the opposition. The victims were brought to a church and strangled, after which their bodies were dumped in a mass grave. The defendant is also suspected of torture, arbitrary detention and inhumane treatment of prisoners in detention camps in Debre Marcos and Meketel.

Lawyers Göran Sluiter and Barbara van Straaten act on behalf of six injured parties (benadeelde partijen) in this case. They have filed a claim for damages on behalf of their clients, which the court will address this Thursday 2 November. On that same day, some of the victims will also use their right to address the court and inform the judges of the crimes to which they have been a victim.

For further media reports on this case: 

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