In an appeal for the creation of a transitional justice system to hold those responsible for abuses committed during the conflict in Ethiopia accountable, the foreign ministers of France and Germany stated on Thursday that there can be no peace in Ethiopia without justice.
German Annalena Baerbock and Frenchwoman Catherine Colonna both traveled to Ethiopia to support the peace accord that was struck last year to put an end to the two-year violence in Tigray, the country’s northernmost district.
Colonna commended the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front for their “excellent progress, which we encourage to continue”.
The journey takes place one day after Tigrayan forces revealed they would begin handing over their heavy weapons, which was a crucial part of the Nov. 2 agreement to silence the weapons.
“Hostilities have ceased, aid has been able to reach the regions which had not received it… a return of arms (by rebels) has begun,” she said at a press briefing.
However, the ministers also demanded the creation of a system of transitional justice to punish crimes committed during the conflict.
“We, Germans and French, know from our own experience that reconciliation does not happen overnight. But without the prospect of justice for the victims of crimes, reconciliation and lasting peace are not possible,” Baerbock said.
“The question of accountability is important for us with a view to Ethiopia’s future and peace process, but also toward strengthening international law,” Baerbock said after talks with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Demeke Mekonnen, the nation’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, stated during the news conference that Addis Ababa will see to it that crimes were not left unpunished.
He claimed that Ethiopia had requested the deployment of monitors in areas impacted by fighting from both the UN human rights office and Ethiopia’s own rights commission.
The Pretoria peace accord has allowed for the restoration of basic services including banking and communications as well as the slow restoration of electricity to Tigray, an area of 6 million people.
After 18 months of suspension due to the conflict, Ethiopian Airlines finally started operating flights again between Addis Ababa and Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, late last month.
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