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Eritrea: UN Commission has urged referral to the International Criminal Court

By Martin Plaut GENEVA (28 October 2016) – States must heed the pleas of countless victims of crimes against humanity for justice and accountability, Sheila Keetharuth of the former UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights

By Martin Plaut

GENEVA (28 October 2016) – States must heed the pleas of countless victims of crimes against humanity for justice and accountability, Sheila Keetharuth of the former UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Eritrea urged the UN General Assembly today. The Commission has recommended that the situation in Eritrea be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Speaking for the Commission of Inquiry, Keetharuth, who is also UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, highlighted the Commission’s clear findings that crimes against humanity have been committed since 1991 by Eritrean officials, adding that such a dire assessment left no room for “business as usual” in the international community’s engagement with the Government of Eritrea.

“The crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic campaign against the civilian population. The aim of the campaign has been to maintain control over the population and perpetuate the leadership’s rule in Eritrea,” Keetharuth told the UN General Assembly.

“The Commission has concluded that the Government of Eritrea has neither the political will nor the institutional capacity to prosecute the crimes we have documented. The Commission therefore recommends that the UN Security Council refer the situation in Eritrea to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and that the African Union establish an accountability mechanism.”

“My plea to you, Excellencies, on behalf of the three members of the former Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, Mike Smith, Victor Dankwa and myself, is for you to pay heed to voices of victims of crimes against humanity in Eritrea.”

Keetharuth said the Commission had found that there was no material change in the country that could potentially have a positive effect on the situation of human rights.

“There is still no constitution, no parliament where laws are discussed, enacted, and where questions of national importance are debated; indefinite national service persists, with its adverse impacts on individual rights; there is no free press and no NGOs, except for Government-sponsored ones. The population lives in fear and the Government still controls their daily life, making the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all Eritreans a remote possibility,” she said.

She noted that while several foreign delegations, journalists and others had been invited to visit Eritrea over the past year, the rampant human rights violations taking place in isolated locations and detention facilities were not apparent to the casual visitor.

Keetharuth noted that Eritreans were among the largest numbers of African nationals seeking asylum in Europe and that the overall recognition rate for Eritrean asylum seekers in European countries remained high.

“The findings of the Commission underscore that it is not safe to forcibly return those who have left Eritrea. The Commission, in its first report, documented that individuals forcibly repatriated, with a few exceptions, have been arrested, detained and subjected to ill-treatment and torture,” she said.

“I appeal to Member States to grant Eritreans access to their territory and asylum procedures. I strongly reiterate my call to protect all Eritrean asylum-seekers from refoulement and to refrain from any forced repatriation to Eritrea or to third countries where they may still be at risk or unwelcomed.”

Review overview
  • tekle October 31, 2016

    No body denies the brutal governance in Eritrea, but regarding what is happening in the UN against Eritrea is that Eritrea is a poor country. The Eritrean authorities don`t have teeth to bite . If they can make a good contribution from the sale of gold, then they will be safe. We don`t have to be dependent on the UN. We have to make it ourselves

  • guest October 31, 2016


    The Eritreans who went out supporting the COI drama are gullible and trusting. The crooks and snakes who are hired by Woyane like yourself lied to them by saying ICC ruling will only affect Isaias and his comrades and doesn’t affect Eritrea. But in your hearts you know that is not true. COI was exercised on Libya, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq. Did that only affected the leaders? Unfortunately, Eritreans are the most trusting people which is why we have allowed ourselves to be used by the snakes time and again. We have gullible Eritreans trusting Isayas and he is taking the country to the gutters and on the opposition side we have self-serving politicians who deal with devil to get their foot on power.

    • Mike October 31, 2016

      You suffer so much from a sick backward villager chauvinism and superiority complex that you are finding hard to get rid off. Your sick backward mind is badly stained and polluted for life.
      Einstein once said, “weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character”. And poor character is not just about policy error only. That too, but what is even more scary is the possibility of it becoming a destiny. What we may need is a shift of attitudes where and when there would be a real chance to go even beyond fixing the current Eritrean problems.
      Imposing your backward village views on how far people take a debate is just intolerance and weakness of character. It is good to debate but “handef elka aytbeges astewElka tebeges”.If you have other major health issue especially with mental then stay away from politics and debates. Otherwise, you are in no position at all to boss around commentators, you are nothing, you may actually be the biggest Woyane ass kisser yourself but acting differently.

  • guest October 31, 2016


    Are you a human or a parrot? in the span of three response, you repeated the same quote from Einstein and your funny comments chauvinism crap. Are you a retard who can’t remember what he wrote previously or a hired woyane cadre whose only mandated is copy paste from few plug and play response lines prepared by the woyane superiors in Addis Ababa?

    • Mike October 31, 2016

      Have you just been savagely raped by Woyanes or has your mother or sisters have been savagely raped by Woyane? Because all what you keep repeating or call everyone else is woyane, woyane, woyane shit. Make sure you are not savagely raped by the Rashidas or Bedowuins as well as might come back again calling everyone Rashaida cadre or Bedowuin cadre you SOB weirdo. When the Woyanes, Rashidas or Bedowuin finish with you they should just dump you in the ghetto shit where you really belong. Keep having more nightmares and hallucinations of your Woyanes lovers!!! Next they coming to make the mince meat of you by cutting you into pieces and opening up your blocked garbage sick head.

    • Solomon November 2, 2016

      guest, you are typical PFDJ thug. look at how you have reduced Eritrea to a shame and still going around social Media spit your Ugly Venom, certainly, your days are numbered and Eritreans have list of all PFDJ criminals which will be crucial for trials of crimes against humanity in Eritrea! You have too much innocent blood in your hands!

  • Ghirmay November 1, 2016

    Brothers Alem and Mike
    I am sure you have sensed a long time ago that this little nuisance ‘guest’ thing is not your caliber;
    I can see that you are simply trying to help him spark an imaginative existence. Best to just ignore him.

  • Alem November 1, 2016

    When u said “unfortunately we have gullible Eritreans trusting iseyas taking the country to the gutters” I think u are referring to hamasien. Right?
    Coi is not a theory or policy to practice. Coi was never practiced in libya, or afghanistan or yemen or iraq. But it had indicted and brought some notorious dictators who murdered their people to justice. Etc sullovodan milosovich,Charles taylor, uhuru kenyata and others. Some of these were aquited others killed themselves and others are sentenced. Absolutely nothing happened to Liberia Kenya and serbia as a result.

    • Mehari November 1, 2016

      Alem, ignore the stinking rat by the nick of ‘guest’, he is probably a guest/devil from hell.
      Mike seems to have sorted him out but if he keeps coming with different confusing pen names then he should be told off with devil language that he only understands.
      He is definitely a confused and lost individual and probably trying hard to confuse others.

  • Alem November 1, 2016

    Guest keep ur facts straight.
    Trying to sneak in like a justice seeker and divide eritreans who are standing against notorious criminal dictator is not going to work. What may work is to be bold enough to ask ur bosses to reform and remove those who have taken higdef in the wrong direction.

  • guest November 3, 2016

    Why do you call Eritreans you never met a Queer, and label sexual insults? Are you suffering from a gender complex? I am suspecting you had a traumatized experience in the Libyan Desert.

  • guest November 3, 2016

    I blame Isayas for the current state of Eritrea. For failing to implement the constitution, for failing to build a functional economy, for our depleted defense force, for failing to build equitable justice system etc… But he also deserves a credit for protecting the country from being ruined by foreign interest like the rest of African nations and for securing our borders to some extent. He done this against all ODDs and against the wishes of all super powers including, USA, Russia and others who supported the 1998-2001 war and the consequent pressures including sanctions against Eritrea.
    We need peaceful transition in Eritrea but the transition should be home grown, it shouldn’t be orchestrated by foreigners, because they will always prioritize their own interest and it will conflict with the interest of Eritrean people.

  • micheal Misigna November 3, 2016

    guest, you are really confuse person. you blame Super powers for “supporting the 1998-2000 War”. are you telling your readers that super powers supported PFDJ-Yemen war?, PFDJ- Djibouti war?, you are shameless and ignorant. All fingers are pointing at your unpredictable brutal dictators PIA. His menace personality disorder is responsible for suffering and tragedy of the Eritrean people. Eritrea has lost and is loosing its youth, Eritrea has lost its strategic economic importance to Djibouti Eritrean Image is being tarnished world wide, the damage is boundless and instead of hiding, you surfaced to unravel the PFDJ ignorance–you are shame to Eritrea my dear!

  • guest November 3, 2016

    Misigna: Stop trying to confuse people. Listen to what Mark Cohen latest interview in Ethsat or read wiki leaks. Ethiopia started the war with the agreement from US officials giving the monetary and logistic support. But Meles failed to deliver and Eritrea stood its ground

    Yemeni fishermen tried to steal our fish and they were given a leson which lead to Yemeni/Eri war, Djibouti is an errand boy for ethiopia and that too were given a lesson. I may blame Isayas for his internal policies but when it comes tothe external policies and repulsing the rif raffs, he is the lion of Nakfa. His most important accomplishment is the current crisis faced by Woyane. For the last 15 yaers Woyane has been setting a trap for Eritrea but yet Isays outplayed them and now Woyane is caught in the same trap they set for Eritrea.