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Ethiopia's Mengistu found guilty of genocide
Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:43 PM GMT145
By Tsegaye Tadesse
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Ethiopia's former ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam was found guilty in absentia of genocide on Tuesday at the end of a 12-year trial over his bloody rule.
Mengistu, who now lives in Zimbabwe, was accused with top members of his military government of killing thousands during a 17-year rule which began with the toppling of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974 and included war, purges and famine.
"Members of the Derg (Mengistu's junta) who are present in court today and those who are being tried in absentia have conspired to destroy a political group and kill people with impunity," presiding Judge Medhen Kiros told the court.
The genocide verdict, which carries a death sentence, was passed by two votes to one on the three-judge panel.
Mengistu was ousted by guerrillas led by now Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and in 1991 fled to Zimbabwe, where he leads a luxurious though reclusive life.
He was tried in absentia in Addis Ababa with 73 others, including former Prime Minister Fikre Selassie Wogderesse and former Vice President Fissiha Desta.
Some 40 officials are in jail while 27 were tried in absentia. A few have died since proceedings began in 1992 and the trial formally started in 1994.
MENGISTU HAILE MARIAM
1937: Born in Walayitta
1974: Emperor Haile Selassie overthrown
1977-78: Thousands killed during Red Terror
1994: Genocide trial in Ethiopia begins
2006: Found guilty of genocide
In the 1977-78 "Red Terror" campaign, the most notorious purge, suspected opponents were executed by garrotting or shooting. Their bodies were then tossed into the streets.
Many Ethiopians hope the verdict, postponed from May, will close the door on one of the country's darkest periods.
"Mengistu sought to right the wrongs made by his feudal predecessors but in the end he committed far greater wrongs than they did," businessman Ephraim Zwede said.
STRANGLING THE EMPEROR
The most prominent victim Mengistu is accused of killing was Emperor Haile Selassie, said to have been strangled in bed and secretly buried under a latrine in his palace.
According to prosecution charges, the former officials also killed more than 1,000 people, including the execution of 60 top officials, ministers and royal family members by firing squad.
Zimbabwe oppo says time for Mengistu to go home
Witnesses have said family members who went to morgues to collect bodies of loved ones were asked to pay for bullets that killed them. Witness Gizaw Tefera said soldiers who killed his father cut his head off and offered it for auction at a market.
"No one wanted to buy my father's head," he said in 2000.
An Argentine forensic expert said some remains exhumed from mass graves showed victims were killed by garrotting.
"We found green nylon ropes knotted tight around their necks," forensic expert Mercedes Doreth said in 2002.
For months in 1984, Mengistu denied that famine was ravaging Ethiopia's north and aid workers have recalled how he flew in planeloads of whisky to celebrate the anniversary of his revolution. One million people starved to death.
Mengistu and his former officials face sentencing later in the month. They could be given the death penalty for genocide, which Ethiopian law defines as intent to wipe out political and not just ethnic groups.
Human rights groups expressed concern at the trial's length, but the prosecution says the complex nature of evidence, including signed execution orders, videos of torture sessions and personal testimonies, was what delayed the verdict.
Analysts say Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is unlikely to hand over Mengistu now he has been found guilty.
His army helped train Mugabe's guerrillas in their fight against white minority rule.
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This is great news for Ethiopia.
One Dergue group down, and one more Dergue group to go.
The issue at hand is the woyanne cockroaches, Meles Zenawi and Co, not menge.
Mengistu is not the one who is killing our people right now. The one that should be eliminated is Meles and his Tigrean gangs at the moment.
Mengistu Haile Mariam is guilty but he is not guiltier than Meles Zenawi. The court has no moral ground to accuse anybody unless it can apply the law for the thief murderer Meles Zenawi in front of the gate of the court.
Anyway, Mengistu Hailemariam got what he deserves…he is bullshit who bleeded his own country and make her week enough to be ruled by such a minority of clicks of Meles.
In my opinion, this is not only about individuals but rather about the entire history and collective mindset of a bunch of lowlife bandits who looted & terrorized Ethiopia for over a century. Their entire self-serving and criminal concept of nationhood and history is on trail. They are the scoundrels of our society who murdered our diversity and very essence. Our history has to be rewritten in the name of the anonymous heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Let it be known to CUD and the rest of the career criminals that never again shall we allow ourselves to be ruled by patented village idiots and be murdered in our homes.
Funny. Meles, how about you?? How about you who is responsible for all those mess? do you know what Mengistue was trying to do? he was trying to defend his country and his people thats all.
But you Meles, its your turn now to be on trial. And snetnced you to hung over the poll.
WHEN IS MELES CONVICTED FOR GENOCIDE?
Meles need to be brought to court for the genocide he committed in the past 15years.
He deserves to be hanged in public. Looking at his picture is making sick as I type this.
It is amazing that Colonel Mengistu has been tried by the same dictatorial regime. The killings of the innocents are still on to this day. So what is the difference between the Dergue and Woyane regimes? The only difference I see is that
1. Mengustu is darker in color ane Meles is a little lighter
2. Mengustu is full of hair and Meles is bald
3. Mengistu likes his military uniform and that dark blue khaki and Meles likes to dress up.
Well as I said their only difference is their appearance but their deed is the same eventhough the woyanes are a bit smarter tham Mengistu in their techniques killing their opponents.
My condolesance to you all!
I welcome the news that Mengistu has finally met his fate, the precariousness of the execution of the sentence whatever that may be notwithstanding. The purpose of trying former dictators is not just retribution. It is to deter similar future would be dictators. It is unfortunate that 15 years on, we Ethiopians are experiencing yet another and, of course, more systematized, grave and ethnic-based atrocity in the person of Meles Zenawi. Meles should soon be stopped and brought to the court of law to face justice. Comparatively, Meles’ crime is worse than Mengistu as it has put the country’s very existence at risk. He is also responsible for ushering in Rwandan-style genocide, which is imminent unless this living vampire is stopped sooner than later.
All dictators, past or present, deserve to account for their deeds!! !!!!!
Only insane or child minds can compare the Dergue regime and EPRDF!!!Only insane or child minds can compare the Dergue regime and EPRDF!!!
Don’t be insane. insane…..insane!!!!
I don’t think the “Dergue” people should shed any tears over a street thug. Look at his pictures and surely he must be the ugliest creature who walked the face of this planet. I see a mixture of hyena blood in the family tree and he will make a good snack for the lions at the old imperial zoo.
Oh it is funny, one dictator judging the other. Who supposed to be blamed for Deurg? You the Woyanes and the shabias who had a dream of destructing ethiopia. Mengistu had to defend that. Menge was really nationalist and always in defence of the nation even though the irregularities done in killing innocent people.
Compared with Melese, Mengistu had done a lot to our national interest. Melese and the Moron followers will face the next trial which i hope is bigger than the deurge.
Mengistu was found guilty of genocide today in Melese’s court. Is this similar to the genocide in Darfur where the light skinned Arabs killed hundreds of thosands of black Africans and for which USA accused the Sudan regime? Which nationaliites were wiped out under Mengistu? Why the West did not accuse Mengistu then?
Mengistu battled the Eritrean and Tigrayan liberation fronts with the majority support of Ethiopians early in the struggle and it also fought street battles in major cities with EPRP which is known as white and red terror.
In the battle between the Ethiopian army and the liberation movements there is no doubt that a war crime on both sides occurred. It is not surprising that Melese who accused Kinijit leaders as committing genocide should come of a lesser verdict on Mengistu than genocide.
The battle between EPRP and Dergue and the loss of thousands of lives in our major cities is a crime both of the combatants should be accountable in an open and fair trial including the present regime which is currently engaged in killing and torture of opposition party members.
No government and opposition parties have a right to take somebody else life and citizens should be vigilant and expose all the killings of innocent lives in the past and at the present.
The time Mengistu, Melese, Isayas and others will face justice, happy day in Ethiopia, is not far and Melese’s verdict is just another distraciton similar to the Mogadishu invasion.
Zelealem, yohannes, Satenaw ahiyaw,Che guevera donkey,Nuetral lair,rakoo korkoro:
My deepest condolences to you and your likes in the diaspora. We will bring you all to justice one by one. You shall never escape it.
Never shall you escape it indeed.
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