“Red Terror” Trial in The Hague: The Trial of Eshetu Alemu

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At the time The Hague’s "justice bubble” was rejoicing the grandeur of the UNICTY’s “legacy”, the city’s District Court heard its latest war crimes verdict on 15 December 2017. A second of its kind in 2017 (Kouwenhoven re. Liberia and Guinea), it virtually went unobserved. Absent from the courtroom during sentencing at the Paleis van Justitie was the main character, the accused, now convict: Eshetu Alemu. It was inprotest against the life sentence for mass atrocities in Ethiopia, 39 years ago. The 10-day trial before the ‘International Crimes Chamber’ was one of the most intense,unique and historical trials I attended in the past 15 years. After 39 years, eightvictims shared their grievances before foreign judges. In time and space, the crimescene was distant. In the dock sat a conversational, intelligent but unsettledperpetrator.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages3
JournalNewsletter Criminology and International Crimes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2018


  • Ethiopia
  • Eshetu Alemu
  • International Crimes
  • Perpetrators
  • Genocide
  • Red Terror
  • Mengistu Haile Mariam


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