Addis Ababa June 4/2021 (ENA) Federal Attorney General Gedion Timothewos disclosed that the TPLF leadership had established “Tigray Military Command” that comprising eight divisions and one mechanized unit as well as 23 regiments before it assaulted the Northern Command of the National Defense Force.
The military command established through the decision of TPLF Executive Committee was run by retired generals that hailed from the region, it was learned.
According to the Attorney General, the key findings of the criminal investigations and persecutions have revealed that suspected senior and veteran leaders and affiliates of the TPLF committed the crimes.
At a press conference he held along with Press Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister, Billene Seyoum yesterday, Gedion said the so-called Tigray Military Command had own logistics and structure command apparatus.
He also confirmed that the leadership of TPLF, which is now a dully designated terrorist organization, had played active role in organizing, arming, and financing the command. .
“The TPLF had (also) armed and financed different armed cells in various parts of the country, including in Afar, Amhara, Oromia and Benishangule-Gumz regional states. The TPLF had used the entities as agents in its effort to destabilize the country and undermine the federal government,” the Attorney General elaborated.
Gedion further explained that on November 4, 2020 the illegal force organized by the TPLF group attacked the Northern Command of the National Defense Force and the federal police in Mekelle city and other places. It also demolished several infrastructures in the region.
Noting that the aforementioned findings on the TPLF attacks was found in the first phase of the investigation, the Attorney General said federal prosecutors are in the process of having such evidence recorded by the federal first instance court.
Once the process of entering evidences and testimonies is finalized, the appropriate charges will be pressed at the federal high court, Gedion added.
“The above sets of facts that have been ascertained through our investigation constitute serious crimes and many suspects are believed to have had a direct and major role in the commission of these crimes; and they will face charges including, but not limited, to armed uprising and instigating civil war, impairment of the defense power of the state and crime of terrorism, ” he elaborated.
Speaking on criminal investigations and persecutions on allegations of sexual or rape and killing of civilians in Tigray region, the Attorney General said 53 members of the National Defense Force have been accused of murdering civilians and sexual assaults.
He added that investigations on criminal investigations and persecutions on allegations of sexual or rape and killing of civilians have also been carried out by different entities.
The military justice system, the regional police and prosecutors, federal police justice system and investigators, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission have jointly carried out the investigation parallel to the criminal investigation, he stated.
According to him, the Ethiopian National Defense military prosecutors and the police have conducted their own investigation and so far they have pressed charges against 28 soldiers who have been suspected of killing of civilians in places where there were no military necessity. The trials of these suspects are underway and things are expected to be handed down shortly.
Furthermore, the military prosecutors have pressed charges against 25 soldiers who have been suspected of committing acts of sexual violence and rape. The trials of these suspects are also underway, he noted.
In connection with the Maikadra massacre, more than 250 witnesses were taken and after examining forensic results using a medical team of forensic experts, the investigation team has ascertained that more than 200 individuals have been killed and several victims have sustained serious injuries.
The Attorney General said the investigation team has identified around 200 individuals who are believed to have taken part in the commission of these crimes.
“While most of the suspects are believed to have fled to Sudan, around 23 suspects have been apprehended and charges have been pressed against the suspects at the federal high court, and their trial is already underway,” he added.
He finally reiterated the commitment of the federal government to ensure accountability for all violations of pertinent local and international laws.