LEGAL ANALYSIS ON THE ONGOING AMHARA GENOCIDE IN "OROMIA" REGION,ETHIOPIA: A PLEA FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
Since young university students in the 1960s mistook the status of Amharic as a government language for ethnic Amhara dominance in Ethiopia, Amharas have been the subject of collective scapegoating hate speech and killings in Ethiopia. The apartheid-style ethnic federation established in the 1990s followed the ascendance of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF)-dominated government into power which transformed the hatred towards Amharas into recurrent massacre of Amharas in many regions of Ethiopia. A dramatic upsurge in mass killings and displacement of Amharas and burning of villages began in 2018 after Abiy Ahmed Ali, an ethnic Oromo, was selected as Prime Minister of Ethiopia. While ethnic Amhara civilians have been targeted repeatedly in other parts of the country, most notably in Benishangul-Gumuz, since 2018, the Oromia Region has been the epicenter of frequent massacres against Amharas.
The AAA started documenting these atrocities against Amharas by establishing a team of investigators in Ethiopia. The purpose of this report is to draw from evidence collected by AAA and others to characterize the crimes of ongoing systematic massacre against Amharas since the 1990s in light of the notion of genocide under international criminal law. The first section of this report (Part I) aims to discuss the causes and nature of the ongoing systematic massacres against the Amhara people in Ethiopia's Oromia Region by using the ten-stage characterization of genocide or the "Ten Stages of Genocide", used in many human rights discussions. As detailed in Part I of this report, the Amhara residents of the Oromia Region have been subject to the first step (classification) to the last, which is denial, with no adequate response from the Ethiopian Government or the international community. Furthermore, the facts presented in Part II of the report absolutely demonstrate the special intent (dolus specialis) of genocide: (1) the intent to destroy wholly or partially, (2) the Amhara ethnic group, (3) and as such. Furthermore, it is evident from the facts that at least two of genocide's core crimes—killing and substantial physical or mental harm—have been perpetrated (any one of these would be sufficient for a legal claim). The Amhara people of the Oromia Region have thus been the victims of genocide, based on the law and the realities on the ground. Both government forces such as the Oromia Special Force (OSF) [under the Oromia Regional Government] and violent armed groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)/Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and Qeerro (ultranationalist Oromo youth) were the main perpetrators of the genocide against Amharas in Oromia Region. The OSF not only tactically supported OLA’s mission to exterminate Amharas by refusing protection but also were involved in direct massacres against Amharas in many zones of Western Oromia. In many instances, properties of Amharas were looted and destroyed and Amharas were told to leave the region, emphasizing the shared ethnic cleansing objective of the Oromia Regional Government and OLA. The Federal Government is complicit and responsible for the genocide for refusing to hold accountable Oromia Regional leaders, for refusing to deploy military timely and for denying the massacres and/or the Amhara identity of the victims.
Most of the international community's attention has been focused on the Northern Ethiopian civil war over the past two years. But as this report shows, the genocide against Amharas, one of Ethiopia's largest ethnic groups, has exploded in other parts of the country during this time frame, particularly in the Oromia Regional State - where innocent Amharas, including children, pregnant women, disabled people, elderly and bedridden people, are killed every day in unprecedented numbers. Given the evidence of state complicity in the Amhara massacre in the Oromia Region, it is long overdue for national, continental and international organizations to hold the Ethiopian Government and OLA accountable for their decades-long crime of Amhara Genocide in Ethiopia. We call upon the United Nations (UN) Security Council to refer the Amhara Genocide to the ICC prosecutor’s notice pursuant to Article 13 of the Statute.