On November 2, 2022, the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement ended two years of brutal conflict in northern Ethiopia. Now, Ethiopia is emerging from the war during which all parties committed atrocities. “I commended both sides for reaching that agreement and the significant progress made in its implementation,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. However, “To build a durable peace, there must be acknowledgment of the atrocities committed by all parties, as well as accountability together with reconciliation.”
“After the department’s careful review of the law and the facts, I’ve determined that members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Eritrean Defense Forces, Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces, and Amhara forces committed war crimes during the conflict in northern Ethiopia,” he said.
“Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, the Eritrean Defense Forces, and Amhara forces also committed crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and persecution. Members of the Amhara forces committed the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer and committed ethnic cleansing through their treatment of Tigrayans in western Tigray.”
“We welcome the commitment that the parties to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement have made to acknowledge the atrocities committed and their devastating consequences,” said Secretary Blinken.
“The Government of Ethiopia is taking the first steps by publicly releasing a detailed green paper of transitional justice options based upon best practices and building upon the experiences of other states emerging from periods of mass violence. It has invited experts from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to join the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to deploy a team of human rights monitors to conflict-affected areas to ensure that such acts have truly ceased.”
“Finally, and crucially, we urge the Government of Ethiopia and the Government of Eritrea, as well as the TPLF, to hold those responsible for these atrocities accountable,” said Secretary Blinken. “These steps – acknowledgement, accountability, reconciliation – are key to breaking the cycle of ethnic and political violence that has gripped Ethiopia and prevented it from reaching its unlimited potential for so long.”
“The United States will partner with Ethiopia as it implements a credible transitional justice process for the benefit of all victims and affected communities,” said Secretary Blinken. “We will stand with Ethiopia as it honestly faces the abuses in its past, provides accountability for the harms committed against its citizens, and moves toward a future of lasting peace.”