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An int’l lawyer says the forced eviction of Amhara is “an ethnic cleansing”


April 3, 2013

 Dr. Yacob Hailemariam, a former UN prosecutor in the Rwanda genocide trial in Tanzania, said to ESAT that the current forced eviction of Ethiopians of the Amahra ethnic origin from Benishangul Region and also last year from Gurafarda, South Ethiopia, is “an ethnic cleansing crime”.

Dr. Yacob said though the crime is not “genocide”, it is an “ethnic cleansing” which could be instigated anytime and is punishable according to Ethiopian or international laws. The scholar advised Ethiopian officials to think about the issue twice.

“If Ethiopians inside and outside the Country present tangible evidences to the United Nations Security Council, the perpetrators of this act could be accused” Yacob added. The acts could destabilize the Region’s stability, He said.

Recalling the statements of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who once stated that the evictions of Amharas was not because of their ethnicity but because they cleared forests and illegally settled, Yacob said “even if they cleared the forests, they should be accused for deforestation but not be deported back to their native regions”.

Asking every Ethiopian to denounce this act, the Scholar also said that all Ethiopian officials are responsible for this crime and the arguments being presented by the Government are “completely unacceptable”.

He said he was personally disturbed by the acts.