Did the Ethiopian National Defense force and the Tigray's people liberation front fighters commit violations amounting to war crimes under international law governing non-international conflicts? Yes, according to a UN report unveiled Monday by the Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.
The commission said it had found evidence of widespread violations by all sides since fighting erupted in the north of Ethiopia in late 2020.
Ethiopia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva rejected, Tuesday, the findings of the investigators.
"The report itself is self-contradictory and biased, ambassador Zenebe Kebede Korcho said. [It] doesn’t pay any attention to the atrocities committed in Afar and Amhara regions, but solely focusing on Tigray."
Method of warfare
Kaari Betty Murungi, one of the commission's three independent rights experts, and its chair, said the denial of food, medicine and basic services was "having a devastating impact on the civilian population".
The report claims Federal authories used starvation as a method of warfare. An accusation Zenebe Kebede slams:
"The only source they talked to is the TPLF itself. They wrote in their report what was dictated by the TPLF itself, otherwise there is not any single evidence that shows the government of Ethiopia used humanitarian aid as an instrument of war."
UN investigators conducted interviews remotely. Witnesses they spoke to reported crimes including pillage, murder and rape.
The Commission said it conducted interviews with "185 victims, survivors, witnesses, and other key interlocutors." Adding it deeply regreted that "Federal Government did not grant it access to any areas outside of Addis Ababa."
While in Addis Ababa, the Commission says it met "with officials of the Federal Government, related institutions, international organizations, academic experts, and other stakeholders".
As of the time of submission of the report, "the governments of Sudan and Djibouti had not granted the Commission access to interview Ethiopian refugees within their borders".
Fighting between government forces and their allies and rebels led by the TPLF reignited in August after a five-month lull.