The U.N. Human Rights Office must undertake an urgent, objective, and independent investigation for possible war crimes in the Tigray region of Ethiopia
We, ERIPS (Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy), are pleased to note that the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abyi Ahmed, has finally accepted the need for an investigation of the reported atrocity crimes committed throughout Tigray. We are particularly pleased to note that the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR) has indicated it is prepared to take part in such an investigation. It is pertinent that the investigation takes place as expediently and independently as possible before evidence is destroyed, tampered with, sanitized and witnesses are intimidated.
Understanding the complexity of the situation and the trail of biased reports we have been reading, we would like to express our serious concerns over the specific approach that is being promoted by the Ethiopian PM, namely: that the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) undertakes the investigation jointly with the U.N. Human Rights Office. This, we do not believe, can give the level of independence required to satisfy a due process, including reassuring victims and averting a possible cycle of retributive violence.
We are also concerned about the sincerity of the PM’s pronouncement of “African problems” requiring “African solutions” and claiming, “those that cultivate divisions amongst us as Africans…to assert hegemony”. We are weary of such rhetoric often being used to mobilize African support for the wrong reasons. In this particular case it is blatantly disingenuous as it comes from the same person, who, at the initial stage of the conflict, refused to listen to advise of the very eminent persons sent by the then Chairman of the AU, President C. Ramaphosa of South Africa, to resolve the conflict politically and in the spirit of African problems, African solutions.
Due to a confluence of political and institutional influences, the contributions of those organizations selected to work with the UNHCHR may lead to biased investigations or investigations perceived to be biased. Simply put, gaining the trust and cooperation of victims, and investigating objectively without bias will be required to avoid unintentionally exacerbating the situation and to prevent the widespread violence, retaliation, and vengeance from continuing endlessly. We therefore strongly recommend that the investigations be carried out solely by the U.N. as it is better placed to ensure professionalism, credibility and independence of the process and veracity of the findings.
Note: The Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy (ERIPS) is a US based research organization with around 200 volunteer researchers from various educational institutions, public corporations, and private enterprises. ERIPS also has a vast network within the Eritrean and other North-East African communities.
Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy