The Anatomy of Special Prosecutor v. Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam et al. (1994-2008)
International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, Vol. IV, No. 1&2
53 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 2009
In 1974 a popular revolution in Ethiopia ended the long reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. In the revolutionary disarray the Derg (a group of 120 army officers) seized power. The Derg era was characterized by the execution and disappearance of thousands of dissidents. The Derg was overthrown by the military forces of the Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Force (EPRDF) in May 1991. Upon coming to power, the EPRDF detained most of the Derg officials, established a Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) and began the long process of investigating and prosecuting the former officials for the crimes committed from 1974-1991. The SPO filled about 360 cases against the former Derg officials and their collaborators. The case SPO vs. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam et. al. is the leading case against the top members of the Derg. This article explains the anatomy of the case SPO vs. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam et. al. by providing the juridical details of the long process from the initial charges in 1994 up to the final decision on the case by the Appellate Court in 2008.
Keywords: Transitional Justice, Mengistu Hailemariam, Ethiopia, Prosecution of Human Rights Violations
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