Addis Abeba -In the wake of the “agreement for lasting peace and cessation of hostilities” signed by the federal government and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have urged the government and its partners to enure the mechanisms of victim-centered justice and access to human rights experts and independent rights monitors to all areas affected by the two-year long war.
“For sustainable and inclusive peace to be achieved, the adoption of a transitional justice policy should be preceded and informed by a nation-wide, genuine, consultative, inclusive, and victim-centered conversation,” the state backed EHRC said.
The state backed rights body also highlighted the need for “inclusion of a diverse range of national actors including traditional and religious leaders, as well as the meaningful participation of women” as necessary, and asked the international community and partners to support the federal government “in setting up and/or strengthening a transitional justice mechanism, based on regional and international standards.”
Similarly, HRW said that “Ethiopia’s partners and the agreement’s backers need to make clear that accountability for the gravest crimes will remain on the agenda so the countless victims of this heinous war can obtain a measure of justice.”
Under “Article 2 – Principles Underpinning the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities“, the peace agreement signed between the two warring parties of the war they agreed to be guided by “Respect for fundamental human rights and democratic norms and principles;Protection of civilians; Respect for the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance; Accountability and justice in accordance with the FDRE Constitution and the AU Transitional Justice Policy Framework.”
“The agreement seen by Human Rights Watch does not explicitly mention the situation for civilians in Western Tigray zone, the site of the ethnic cleansing campaign. The warring parties should facilitate immediate and safe access for international humanitarian agencies – including to formal and informal detention sites without prior notification,” HRW said. It also lamented that the “agreement lacks details on formal accountability,” with the joint statement only mentioning a “transitional justice policy framework to ensure accountability, truth, reconciliation, and healing.”
HRW added that “given the Ethiopian authorities’ denials since the war began that they were obstructing humanitarian assistance in the Tigray region, it will be critical for the African Union and others monitoring the agreement to ensure that the obstructions end.”
“Over the past two years, impunity for serious crimes has taken root and driven further abuses,” Kaneza Nantulya, deputy Africa director at HRW said. “Ethiopia’s partners and the agreement’s backers need to make clear that accountability for the gravest crimes will remain on the agenda so the countless victims of this heinous war can obtain a measure of justice.”AS