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The UN Human Rights Council and the European Union Council have urged Ethiopia to include international components in the transitional justice policy under-preparation.

In  a joint statement issued on Friday, the UN and EU stressed that “robust independent, impartial mechanisms are needed to implement the policy. We encourage introducing implementing legislation promptly.”

Forty-four countries including the US, UK, Canada and EU members have signed the joint statement.

The UN and EU have been pressing the Ethiopian government to open up the investigation into human rights violations since the northern war to the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE). But following Ethiopia’s request, the UN did not extend the lifetime of the Commission.

The UNHCR and EU argue the human rights violations in Ethiopia involve war crimes and crimes against humanity, requiring the involvement of international investigative bodies. Eritrean involvement in the war also requires international investigation, according to the international community.

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While commending the Ethiopian government’s initiation to investigate the violations through the national transitional justice initiative, the UN and EU still demand an international component in the homegrown policy currently under preparation.

“Ethiopia’s victims deserve justice. Credible transitional justice and accountability processes are crucial to ensuring peace and reconciliation. The policy framework should be consistent with international human rights law, include an international component and ensure genuine accountability, truth-seeking, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence,” reads the joint statement issued on Friday.

Ethiopia’s transitional justice policy suggests establishment of a separate court dedicated to human rights violations, or the installation of special court benches in conventional court systems. The final decision is yet to be made.

The Ethiopian government has yet to issue a statement on how it expects the transitional justice initiative will address the international aspects of the human rights violations. Ethiopian courts also have no jurisdiction over external elements such as the Eritrean troops involved in some of the violations.

Ethiopia’s national transitional justice and the upcoming national dialogue initiatives are also yet to decide on the inclusion or exclusion of armed groups like Fano and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

“We welcome the continued commitment of the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Interim Regional Administration to consolidate the peace process and implement the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. At the same time, we remain seriously concerned about ongoing violence and human rights violations in the Amhara and Oromia regions. The extension of the State of Emergency in Amhara is also cause for concern. We call on all parties to pursue peace through dialogue and to participate in the National Dialogue process,” reads the joint statement.

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