Eshetu Alemu

08.02.2017 ( Last modified: 11.01.2018 )
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In 1974, the Communist military regime, known as the Dergue, overthrown the Emperor Haile Selassie I and seized power in Ethiopia. The regime effectively ruled the country for 17 years. In February 1977, the Red Terror was officially declared and the mass killings, arrests, torture and disappearances of suspected political opponents began.

Eshetu Alemu is accused of ordering the execution of 75 people, of torturing 9 people, and of controlling the illegal detention of more than 300 people in cruel and inhuman conditions in Ethiopia’s Gojjam province during the Red Terror.

In 1991 he fled to The Netherlands, and he became a Dutch citizen in 1998.

Legal Procedure

On 12 December 2006, Ethiopia concluded a 12-year trial of former Dergue officials, convicting Eshetu Alemu and 57 other regime officials of genocide and crimes against humanity. Eshetu Alemu was judged in absentia and received a death sentenced.

Eshetu Alemu was arrested in The Netherlands in September 2015. The Ethiopian government has forwarded its trial documents to the Dutch prosecution office.

The Eshetu Alemu’s Trial began on 30 October 2017 in The Hague. He was accused of ordering the killing of 75 young prisoners in 1978 and of being responsible for the detention and inhumane treatment of more than 300 people.

The public prosecutor requested a life sentence. Eshetu Alemu pleaded not guilty to these charges.

On 15 December 2017, he was found guilty of war crimes, including arbitrary detention, inhumane treatment, torture and murders. He was sentenced to life in prison.