Ethiopia’s Military Faces Accusations of War Crimes in Amhara Region | Conflict Reports

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Human Rights Watch has accused Ethiopia’s army of committing war crimes by “summarily executing several dozen civilians” in the country’s northwestern Amhara region in January. The New York-based rights group called for a UN-led independent investigation into the incident, which occurred in the city of Merawi during clashes between federal forces and Fano militia.

According to HRW, the army’s actions resulted in one of the deadliest incidents for civilians in the region since the conflict began in August. Witnesses reported that soldiers shot civilians in the streets and during house raids, while also pillaging and destroying civilian property. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission estimated that at least 45 people were killed in the attack, with some accounts suggesting the number could be higher.

HRW emphasized that under international humanitarian law, the deliberate killing or mistreatment of civilians, as well as looting and pillaging of civilian property, are prohibited and may constitute war crimes. The rights group called for accountability for those responsible for the abuses and urged the African Union to suspend all deployments of Ethiopian federal forces to peacekeeping missions.

The Ethiopian government has not yet responded to the allegations, but HRW urged authorities to ensure accountability in order to prevent further violence and impunity. The incident in Merawi underscores the ongoing cycles of violence and human rights abuses in the region, as tensions persist between government forces and various militias.

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