Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Denial of War Crimes Perpetrated by Ethiopianist Gangsters in Ogaden is Full Proof of Guilt

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

The avalanche of reactions against the fallacies of the tyrannical government of Abyssinia has no end; Meles Zenawi administration´s shameful act of preparing a fake report to supposedly counterweight the devastating Report released last June by the leading Humanitarian NGO Human Rights Watch was viewed worldwide as a comprehensive corroboration of the Ethiopianist guilt.

United ´Ethiopia´ cannot exist but as tyranny; this is the last, final, ultimate conclusion in this regard. Here, I republish a press release issued by the Ogaden Youth League that calls for an "international mission to investigate and bring to justice the planners, and perpetrators of the crimes witnessed in Ogaden by the United Nations´ humanitarian mission at the end of 2007, then confirmed and well documented by the Human Right Watch".

In addition, I republish two illustrative reports one signed by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura of Africa Reuters (´Ethiopia Rebels Slam Government Probe into Abuses´) and the other elaborated by Peter Heinlein of VOANews (´Ethiopia Challenges Rights Group on Ogaden War Crimes Allegations´).

Ethiopia´s Refusal Over Ogaden War Crimes Issued at 26.11.2008
Ogaden Youth League - Press release - December 1st 2008. http://www.ogaden.com/oylpress011208.htm

Injustices and human rights abuses inflicted upon the Somali people in Ogaden date back to the first Ethiopian occupation in Ogaden more than a century ago. The Ethiopian government annexed illegally the last part of Ogaden province in 1954 just after the departure of the British who were colonising Ogaden. Since then the Ogaden people are fighting for their self-determination rights and all the Ethiopian governments including the current EPRDF/TPLF of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi committed war crimes and crime against humanity.

On 09th June 2007, Ethiopian prime minister declared in a news conference in Addis-Ababa that his army has launched a political and military operation to contain the activities of the Ogaden National Liberation Front. This was the beginning of the genocide which is still going on in Ogaden. The war crimes and crimes against Ogaden people perpetrated by the Ethiopian government was the first time witnessed by the United Nations humanitarian mission who visited Ogaden between 30 August – 5 September 2007 and recommended an independent investigation to be carried out.

With the aim of hiding the suffering of the civilians, the Ethiopian government expelled from Ogaden several NGO´s and the ones who are still there ordered to choose staying with out saying or saying and going out. In addition, to continue his genocidical politic in Ogaden, the government wants to impose a new law bill which bans the international NGOs work in a number of fields, including conflict resolution, children´s rights, disabled rights and criminal justice reform.

It´s obvious, that the international community isn´t waiting from the planners and the perpetrators of these crimes to say "yes" we did war crimes in Ogaden and this is the case of the Ethiopian report. The Ogaden people are not suffering only from the human rights field, but also socially and economically. With no aid from the international donors, the Ethiopian authority would not be able to stay in the Ogaden and commit War Crimes.

Finally, we argue the United Nations, the EU, the OAU, the international community and the NGOs to take their responsibility and force the Ethiopian government to open Ogaden for the international NGOs and media work freely. At the same time we request that they set up international mission to investigate and bring to justice the planners, and perpetrators of the crimes witnessed in Ogaden by the United Nations´ humanitarian mission at the end of 2007, then confirmed and well documented by the Human Right Watch.

Ogaden Youth League

Head office: Northampton Volunteer Centra,
15 ST Chilies Street.
NN1 1JA, Northampton.
United Kingdom.
Email: nsyouthcgroup@hotmail.co.uk

Ethiopia Rebels Slam Government Probe into Abuses

By Helen Nyambura-Mwaura

Nairobi, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Ethiopia's Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebel movement has slammed a government investigation refuting claims of war crimes against the people of a marginalised eastern region it operates in.

Ethiopian authorities on Wednesday said a government-funded probe showed a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that found it liable of abuses during a campaign against the ONLF, was fabricated.

"The reality of the matter is that the Ethiopian regime has committed war crimes in the Ogaden and is continuing to commit such crimes with impunity," a statement by the rebels said.

"At the same time Ethiopia is actively engaged in trying to conceal such crimes and the real purpose of these teams that it claims to have sent to the Ogaden was to insure that no traces are left."

HRW issued two reports in June that it said documented attacks on civilians in the arid region, one based on witness accounts and another on satellite imagery showing burnt-out villages during a year-long military offensive.

Ethiopia said HRW's claims were fabricated because it found villages that the rights body said were burnt by government troops untouched, and people allegedly killed, alive and well.

Villagers and elders also denied allegations of extra-judicial killings, rape or torture by the security forces, the Ethiopian investigators' report said.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government accuses the ONLF movement of being terrorists supported by arch-foe and neighbour Eritrea.

It launched the offensive in April 2007 after ONLF rebels attacked Chinese-run oil fields in the remote region also known as Somali, killing more then 70 people.

"If Ethiopia has nothing to hide, let it allow free access to international media and independent international investigators from reputable organisations to conduct an impartial investigation," the ONLF said.

(Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Sophie Hares)

(Email: nairobi.newsroom@reuters.com,
tel: +254 20 222 4717))

Ethiopia Challenges Rights Group on Ogaden War Crimes Allegations
By Peter Heinlein


Ethiopia is challenging a Human Rights Watch report that accuses Ethiopian soldiers of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during a counterinsurgency campaign in its eastern Somali region. As we hear from correspondent Peter Heinlein in Addis Ababa, a team of Ethiopian investigators has issued a counter report charging the U.S.-based rights group with making false allegations based on flawed methods.

The 47-page document issued by Ethiopia's foreign ministry Wednesday is a reply to a 136-page report released by Human Rights Watch last June.

The initial report is titled, "Collective Punishment: Crimes Against Humanity in Ethiopia's Somali Region". It accused Ethiopia's counterinsurgency forces in the Somali, or Ogaden region of a variety of war crimes, including torture and arbitrary executions of suspected members or sympathizers of the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front, and burning villages suspected of harboring insurgents. The Human Rights Watch report was based on interviews with hundreds of people who had fled the region, backed up by satellite imagery of destroyed villages.

But a government-appointed team of investigators led by independent consultant Lissane Yohannes rejected the Human Rights Watch findings. They issued a response titled: Flawed Methodology, Unsubstantiated Allegations." A video shown to journalists at a briefing Wednesday quoted commission members as saying villagers whom they interviewed flatly contradicted the Human Rights Watch conclusions.

"We visited all relevant areas and nearly all the villages Human Rights Watch mentioned by name. We met with people who could tell us they had not been killed or raped, as Human Rights Watch alleged," says an announcer. "We saw villages that had not been burned to the ground, as Human Rights Watch claimed."

Ethiopian foreign ministry legal adviser Minelik Alemu mocked the Human Rights Watch's report, saying it contains inflammatory language. He also criticized the rights' groups' investigative techniques, which did not include visits to the Ogaden region.

"In light of the gravity of the allegations of crimes against humanity, we would have thought more serious investigation would have been called for," Minelik Alemu said. "But that was not done. If you look at the report, you would see it is based on the testimonies that it collected mainly through telephone. They never had any on the ground visit to the region."

One of the authors of the Human Rights Watch report, senior researcher Leslie Lefkow told VOA in a phone interview that the group had several times submitted written requests to Ethiopia to visit the Ogaden during their investigation. She says there was no government response.

"In terms of our methodology, we stand by it 100 percent, and we would welcome a discussion with the Ethiopian government about the specific cases we mentioned," she said. "We did request access to Somali region several times formally by letter."

Lefkow said she would welcome the opportunity to discuss with Ethiopian experts the contradictions between the two reports.

"We have been carrying out research into situations of conflict for many years, and these kinds of allegations that we've been duped by a rebel movement, it's not the first time we hear this," she said. "These are sort of standard government responses. And we are trained investigators. And then we corroborate the information through independent sources, and in this case including through the use of satellite imagery, where we were trying to verify that attacks on certain villages had actually taken place."

Lefkow said she had not finished reading the Ethiopian report, but said she saw hope in Ethiopia's willingness to conduct an investigation. She said it was one of the first times in her long career in human rights activist that a country had taken the opportunity to issue a counter report.

She said she would again try to contact officials in Addis and in the Ogaden region to discuss Human Rights Watch's continuing concerns about the conduct of Ethiopia's counterinsurgency campaign in the Ogaden.


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