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Tigray Global Advocacy Group (TGAG) Demands the Trial of Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afeworki by the International Criminal Court (ICC)

ICC/OTP                                                                                                               January 27, 2021

P.O. Box 1959

2500 CM

The Hague, Netherlands



We members of the Tigray Global Advocacy Group (TGAG) demand the trial of Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and Isaias Afeworki, President of Eritrea, before the ICC for their egregious violation of international law with respect to genocide, crime against humanity, and aggression. Our demand is based on substantive and verifiable evidence of the crimes they have committed, and as explained below we present the physical and mental elements that can be easily attributable to the two dictators.

We at TGAG are aware that genocide was first recognized as a crime against international law in 1946 by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/96-1); subsequently, it was codified as an independent crime in the 1948 convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide (the genocide convention), and the convention has been ratified by 149 states (as of January 2018).

We are also aware that the above-mentioned UN convention was reinforced by the Rome Statue of the ICC (Article 6); moreover, the International Court of Justice has acknowledged several times that ‘the Convention embodies principles that are part of general customary international law, and this, by extension, implies that whether or not states have ratified the Genocide Convention, they are all bound as a matter of law by the principle that genocide is a crime prohibited under international law.

Following the definition of genocide and the principles of the Convention, thus, we hereby make some explanatory enumerations with respect to the crimes perpetrated by Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afeworki against the people of Tigray, in northern Ethiopia:

The physical element:

a)      Killing in part or in whole members of the Tigray families, extended families, and in some instances an entire village (as happened in Mai Cadra, where close to one thousand Tigray people were slaughtered and hacked with machetes and axes); similar crimes were committed by the Eritrean troops and soldiers of the Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) in Mariam Dinglat, near Adigrat, where more than 200 people were killed, and at the Aksum Church of Tsion where 750 members of the congregation were massacred; also, at a place called Edaga Arbi in Central Tigray, 48 priests were killed, not to mention the atrocities and killings committed by the Amhara militia who murdered pregnant women and beheaded young people after they have identified them that they were Tigrigna speakers, living adjacent to the Amhara Regional State.

b)      Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afeworki should be held responsible for causing serious bodily and/or mental harm to members of the Tigray people; there are evidences on this, including some victims whose necks and faces were slashed with bayonets; women who were gang raped, and a significant number of innocent people who were physically assaulted.

c)      The Abiy-Isaias combined forces have deliberately inflicted on the conditions of life of the people of Tigray by destroying their homes, villages, and harvested crops; while Eritrean troops burn crops and loot and destroy factories (such as the Adwa Textile), higher institutions of learning (ex. Adigrat University) and pharmaceutical industry (located at Adigrat), Mekelle University (first bombarded by Ethiopian Airforce and later looted by Eritrean troops); edible oil factory, hotel, and church destroyed by the combined Eritrean and Ethiopian forces in the Shire area of Western Tigray; and recently, the iconic and UNESCO heritage site of Abuna Aregawi Debre Damo Monastery was shelled and destroyed by Eritrean artillery and heavy guns. Adding insult to injury, the United Arab Emirates’ drones have targeted civilians in parts of Tigray and a place called Work-Amba in the Tembien district where 84 people have lost their lives.

d)      We do not have evidence on the imposition of measures intended to prevent births within the Tigrayan communities, but we have evidence coming from eyewitness accounts that some members of Tigrayan families were forced at gun point to sexually assault their own family members of the opposite sex.

e)      There is also ample evidence on forcibly transferring Tigrayan children suspected of either being potential fighters or supporters of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF); in some cases, the children were abducted and have disappeared and their whereabouts is unknown to this day; following the declaration of war on Tigray on November 4, 2020 by Abiy Ahmed, the Amhara militia has abducted over 1000 Tigrayan children and adults from Western Tigray, specifically from Dansha, Tsegede, and we are not sure whether these abductees are still alive or not.

The Mental Element: Per the Genocide Convention, “the intent to destroy, in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group” constitute the mental element; the special intent or dolus specialis may be difficult to prove, but as far as we are concerned, and as stated on item ‘b’ above, what matters is the fear and trauma that the Tigrayan people have encountered is wide ranging and immeasurable; in fact, it is highly probable that a significant number of Tigrayans need post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) clinical treatment.

The people of Tigray are victims of genocide, crime against humanity, and aggression, and  are deliberately targeted by the Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afeworki military forces, and based on the physical and mental evidences we have furnished and the principles of the convention, the two leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea have committed crime that is prohibited under international law, and though Ethiopia and Eritrea are not members of the ICC, Abiy and Isaias are responsible for their heinous crimes and are bound as a matter of law.




Tigray Global Advocacy Group (TGAG)

C/O tigray.advocate@yahoo.com