Ethiopia: Victims 'Left in Limbo' As Rights Probe Mandate Ends

The UN-mandated Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia on Friday released a harrowing report on the “staggering” level of human rights violations and mass killings that have plagued the east African nation since the Tigray conflict erupted in 2020.

The independent rights investigators’ final report comes as their mandate ended on Friday, coinciding with the end of the UN Human Rights Council‘s 54th session, leaving victims in limbo.

Established by the Council in December 2021, their brief from the Council was to conduct through and impartial investigations into alleged human rights violations in Ethiopia, perpetrated by all parties to the conflict since 3 November 2020.

Steven Rather, an expert on the Commission, described the termination of the mandate as a “great blow” to victims seeking justice.

“It is essential that this work [the investigation] continues, and this legacy report offers a detailed resource to support the fight against impunity in Ethiopia,” he said.

Horrific findings

The Commission’s final report presents a detailed account of the atrocities – which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity – committed in Tigray, Amhara, Afar and Oromia, pointing a finger at all parties involved.

Due to time and resource limitations, the Commission was not able to determine the possible crime against humanity of extermination or genocide.

Experts called for investigations to continue to establish the full facts and legal implications.

The Ethiopian National Defence Forces, Eritrean Defence Forces, and allied regional Special Forces and militias are collectively responsible for a litany of horrors, the report said.

This includes mass killings, widespread and systematic rape, sexual violence – including sexual slavery, deliberate starvation, forced displacement, and large-scale arbitrary detentions, all of which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.