Mengistu Sentenced to Death (VIDEO)

Above: Mengistu Haile Mariam has lived in exile for 17 years

Ethiopian court hands death sentence to Mengistu (Reuters)

By Tsegaye Tadesse

Mon May 26, 2008

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s supreme court on Monday sentenced to death former Marxist ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam, granting a prosecution appeal that argued a life sentence he was given for genocide was unequal to his crimes.

But Mengistu, who has lived a life of comfortable exile in Zimbabwe since he was driven from power in 1991, is unlikely to face punishment unless Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe loses a run-off election next month and cedes power.

“Considering the prosecution’s appeal that a life sentence was not commensurate to the crimes committed by the Mengistu regime, the court decided to sentence him to death,” the court said in its ruling.

The prosecution in July appealed a life term handed to Mengistu in January 2007, after he was found guilty of genocide for thousands of killings during a 17-year rule that included famine, war and the “Red Terror” purges of suspected opponents. Read More.

2 Responses to “Mengistu Sentenced to Death (VIDEO)”


  1. 1 Paulos Zeryihun May 27th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    By: Mulugeta Aserate Kassa

    This year’s Ethiopian calendar has highlighted 28thMay as “The fall of the Derg.” I am, however, somewhat not at ease with the choice of this appellation. The present title of the public holiday is neither emphatic in reflecting the landmark nature of the occasion nor high-lights the sea change in attitudes brought about by ‘the big bang of 28th May 1991.’ Mind you we are aware, are we not, that we are ecstatic not only because we all have succeeded in overthrowing a bunch of wayward, not to say trigger-happy, Dergs nor are we simply observing the end of our national night-mare. For Ethiopians, save Ethiopia’s gloom-and-doom politicians (followers of “Alekelat Ethiopia” school of thought) however, 28th May is short-hand for all the benefits which we had accrued in all areas of our national life. That is why it behoves it right for the House of Peoples’ Representatives to consider replacing the title of the public holiday. My humble suggestion of “Freedom and Democracy Day” might be worthy of the House’s gracious attention. On the other hand, I do hope churches and mosques in Ethiopia too, will be divinely inspired to declare the same date Ethiopia’s “Thanksgiving Day.” Do not let us forget freedom of worship was also one of the main casualties of Derg’s Reign of Terror.

    The very fact that this year’s Fall of the Derg is to coincide with the on-going landmark celebrations of The Millennium, makes the occasion all the more significant. This is mainly due to the symbiotic relationship that exists between the original aim and goal of those who started the liberation struggle and the overall aim and goal of our Millennium: to secure the renaissance of Ethiopia by making a difference in every facet of our national life. We will, therefore, be relishing this historical occasion with a renewed sense of joy and soul-searching. Joy because not only have we been liberated from the yoke of tyranny but we have become the stake-holders of a new Ethiopia too: a revamped unity based on the robust union of free and equal nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, freedom of religion and from religion, freedom of speech and after speech, durable peace and stability, a secular and pluralistic democracy that continues to grow from strength to strength, a tailor-made market economy that had, thus far alone, registered five consecutive years of double-digit growth rate, the turning into deeds the Government’s genuine and perfervid desire of transforming Ethiopia into an investor-friendly magnet, the steady flow of Ethiopian returnees from years in exile etc. Soul-searching because, I believe we must seize the Millennium’s feel-good and source of inspiration factors to probe into our national track record in search of our nation’s pluses and minuses so that we get a head-start in the preparation for the many challenges that lie ahead for us in the 21st century.

    A good place to start would, then, have to be a quick cursory look at Ethiopia’s contemporary history wherein resides the crux of the matter. The ability of Ethiopians to bounce-back after long spells of national adversities had defined one of the characteristic traits of Ethiopians for generations. Like the history of all nations on planet earth, Ethiopian history, too, had been a chequered one. Ethiopians had seen their hay days and grey days, and as we had basked in our glory days, so too had we bled during our gory days. But nothing, yes nothing, had prevented us in the past from bouncing back after a spell of Ethiopia’s crucible. Our history books are, therefore, redolent with proven track records of our adeptness in successfully bouncing-back following imperialists’ wars of aggression. Our main challenge had, however, been the need for sustaining the bounce-back factor so that it is converted into tangible efforts geared to the development of Ethiopia. In this regard, the post May 28th 1991 period had proved to represent a watershed in the annals of Ethiopia. Why? Is this what Americans would regard “the sixty-four thousand dollar question?” Or is there a clear-cut answer to it? Let’s go fishing for answers!

    Though by now both supporters and opponents of EPDRF must be well versed with the whys and the wherefores of how we managed to make it to where we are today, due mention must be made and credit given here to those who made it possible for us to live in peace, equality and democracy, the freedom of which we have not experienced in the ancient history of Ethiopia. I am referring here, of course, to the heroic deeds of those sons and daughters of Ethiopia who, under their wise and able vanguard party – the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front – made it possible for all Ethiopians to bask in a new and free Ethiopia. Yes, you are not mistaken I am also paying my most humble share of tribute to the shedding of rivers of blood and the Moloch-like sacrifices paid by all Ethiopians. Only would our neanderthal armchair politicians dare display a penchant for the belittling of the heroic deeds of our torch-bearers of liberty and democracy. From the mouths of the great multitude, especially so from the millions of ‘forgotten Ethiopians’ of yesteryears, however, pours out the finest emotive words of eternal gratitude.

    These young men and women had paid in life and limb so that a new Ethiopia can be born from the embers of the Derg’s Reign of Terror. And to turn their sacred vision into reality, the avant-guard of the liberation struggle – ethnically mongrelised but politically unified EPDRF – wasted no time in tackling Ethiopia’s perennial problem of ethnicity head-on. This was a challenge successive Ethiopian administration refused to acknowledge – let alone attempt to address – at great cost to the peace and stability of Ethiopia. EPDRF, on the other hand was firm in its conviction that the key to solving Ethiopia’s myriad problems was entirely dependent on first and foremost addressing the pressing demands of Ethiopia’s nations, nationalities and peoples, the avoidance of which would have condemned Ethiopia to stew in an ethnic inferno, anarchy instability and its eventual balkanization. No sooner had we seen the back of the Derg, then, than EPDRF established a Constituent Assembly where the nations’ problems were freely discussed and solutions sought and its draft presented to a plebiscite. The outcome, of course, was the endorsement of The Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Critics of the newly constituted Ethiopia, however, were quick to claim foul play and even went as far as ventilating their gobbledegook to the US Congress and the European Union accusing the EPDRF Government of being the agent of some phantom external force which had vowed to turn Ethiopia into a Bantunization galore as a harbinger of Ethiopia’s dismemberment into tiny republics. The reality on the ground, nevertheless, had robustly smacked on the very face of the mad-cap idea of these prophets of doom and gloom. Much to the chagrin of – to borrow from Ethiopia’s Great Communicator, Prime Minister Meles Zenawis’ sound-bites – “victims of zero-politics,” therefore, far from overseeing the anticipated balkanization of Ethiopia, the new Constitution had, instead, granted Ethiopians cast-iron guarantee of the union of free and equal nations, nationalities and peoples for the first time in the history of Ethiopia. What better a unity can, then, replace this form of union by choice and choice only? Unfortunately, however, the knee-jerk reactions of our politically-verdant opposition parties and their gung-ho supporters both here and abroad were a superb potpourri of the lamentable and the laughable. Surely, mounting an opposition for its own sake cannot be deemed to be the badge of an alternative government, but the affectation of the democratically-challenged.

    By addressing Ethiopia’s burning ethnic issue in the most democratic manner, therefore, EPDRF succeeded, where others had failed, in removing the main hurdle which had prevented successive Ethiopian governments in the past from focusing on the need to raise the standard of living of the majority who by 1991 were incredibly still – to use a biblical expression – hewers of wood and drawers of water. This was definitely no easy task to undertake for any government, but for an EPDRF ‘marinated’ in hardship and which had from the onset of its liberation struggle convinced itself of the fact that footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down, the rapid economic recovery of Ethiopia was certainly deemed difficult, but by no means impossible. Cognizant of the fact, therefore, that 85% of Ethiopians depend on agriculture as a source of livelihood, agrarian EPDRF wasted no time in carving out its Agricultural Development-led Industrial Policy (ADLIP) to give a new lease of life to the development of Ethiopia. The success of ADLIP can be witnessed in the hills and valleys of the Ethiopian country-side, in the improvement of the standard of living of farmers who had benefited from the Government’s all round assistance, in the provision of improved farming techniques, in the purveying of fertilisers to farmers via the soft-loan scheme, in the introduction and expansion of the different strata of education, health care and access to potable water and electricity, not to mention, of course, the construction of all weather roads. Unfortunately, however, these conspicuous changes which had taken place over the last 17 years alone seem to constitute an allergy to the confused and confounded advocates of US Congress’ HR 2003, the overall aim and goal of which are to relegate Ethiopia into a pariah state. Nor are these developments visible to Ethiopian cyber-warriors and the movers of the politics of hate, envy and vitriol who shoot fusillade of invectives from the comfort of their homes in USA and Europe.

    Though through ADLIP we are destined to be self-sufficient in food in the not too distant future, one simply cannot guarantee a-drought-and-famine-free-Ethiopia here and now given the rampant nature of global warming. Mind you, our Revo -Democrats are known, are they not, more for doing the impossible right away, but miracles take a little bit longer. But of one thing we all can be certain of: come hell or high-water, famine in EPDRF’s Ethiopia will neither be caused nor will it be compounded by man. This does not, however, mean that life in Ethiopia is a bed of roses, but as a resident of Gambella had opined to me during my whistle-stop tour of the Region last year, it boils down to: “We’ve never had it so good!” The challenges for us would, therefore, be to build upon our successes by ensuring that everyone benefits from the dividends of a united, peaceful and democratic Ethiopia. I am confident that we will sooner than later triumph over our arch-enemy – poverty – if we continue tightening our belts and succeed in forging national consensus by agreement on common national issues. Only then will we be able to witness in our life-time the green shoots of the Ethiopian renaissance.

    On the other hand, it is a source of comfort to realise that ‘Zenawinomics’is very much alive and kicking in carving out successful cost of living calming measures and in the creation of jobs to unemployed and unemployable youth. In urban parts of the nation in general and in Addis in particular where the recent by-election has witnessed the triumphant return of the Revo-Democrats, it must be noted that there is no room for complacency for the ruling EPDRF. While bouncing back to City Hall, after losing Addis to the now etiolated Kinijit at General Election 2005, may rightly be regarded by EPDRF as having won back the trust of Addis Ababans, the Government should never lose sight of the fact that it is on probation with, of course, no honeymoon period at its disposal. The onus of delivering election promises to angry consumers who continue to suffer from biting price hikes on food has fallen on the now revamped and consulting administration of Teflon Meles Zenawi. Those of who voted EPDRF did so by looking at the resplendent track record of the incumbent Party and Prime Minister which spoke volumes of when the going got tough EPDRF kept on going. Voters also felt that the policies of the main opposition parties – that is provided that they had one – were not only convincing, but the main opposition parties still represented to them poor by condition, rich by ambition alternatives. All in all, however, while some voters remain cautiously optimistic about Ethiopia’s future with the ruling party, most are overtly confident that the future of Ethiopia with EPDRF is safe and sound.

    But we are also well aware, are we not, that Ethiopia faces a variety of challenges, the main one of which remains the need to combat international terrorism which keeps on rearing its ugly head on this, otherwise, oasis of peace of our Region from time to time. It is to be remembered that soon after EPDRF assumed power and long before the world knew about 9/11 Ethiopia rose to the occasion by single-handedly and robustly defending her peace and territorial integrity from attacks by forces wedded to international terrorism using anarchic and unstable Somalia as a spring-board for their attacks. Today, our gallant sons and daughters in Somalia, there at the invitation of the legitimate Government of Somalia, are doing commendable work, in maintaining Somalia’s peace and stability by necking it out with international terrorism so that we will able to live and go-about or daily business in peace and tranquillity. No doubt that everyone agrees on the need for us to shower our boys in Somalia with commendations and what better a time than the 28th May to do it? On our northern front, too, though the whimsical Government of the State of Eritrea is flexing its muscle by trying to engage Ethiopia in hide and seek games from time to time, it is well aware that Isaias’ decision to cross the Rubicon (red-line) would be a “suicidal act” for the one-man rule of Eritrea. There currently exists a consensus amongst ordinary Ethiopians who have reached the end of their tethers with Eritrea’s incessant acts of provocations, of witnessing the day that Isaias is made ‘to meet his Bademe’ once and for all. Now the defence policy of Ethiopia is in safe hands – in contrast to the main opposition parties’ “hands-up” defence policy – we can afford to continue to go about our daily routine without fear or hindrance.

    Now Ethiopia has, more or less, triumphed against many odds and is at peace with itself, we can afford to take time out for a little entertainment, too, on May 28th. A measured amount of singing, dancing and ululation might, therefore, be in order. We do this secure in the knowledge that the gains of May 28th will continue to flow to every section of society in leaps and bounds. On the other hand, don’t let us lose sight of the fact that May 28th is a good day to renew our pledge to pick up the torch of Ethiopia’s fallen heroes and march ahead with gusto to alleviate the rigours of abject poverty from our communities, to broaden the frontiers of secular pluralistic democracy and to enhance good-governance. As we all have fared well because of May 28th 1991, congratulations to all Ethiopians is in order. Happy birthday to freedom and democracy in Ethiopia!!

  2. 2 Bereket Tessema Jun 17th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Menge wondu
    limelesse new allu
    menge extradite hono simeta
    weyane sheshe yemata yemata
    bemeta alekugn bawetagn yenae alegnta
    deirashu yuitefal ya amtache balanta
    menteshale bakih nigergn menge
    ebidet sefene hager balege

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