A man accused of being responsible for unleashing a “Red Terror” on Ethiopia has delivered an impassioned speech in a Dutch court where he is being tried for alleged war crimes.
Eshetu Alemu – a confessed member of the feared Derg, the military dictatorship which ruled Ethiopia
from 1974 to 1987 – addressed a group of victims sitting behind him, imploring them: “Please save me from this. Yes it happened, but it was not me. I was not there.”
The 63-year-old told the judges at the district court in The Hague that he believed they were going to give him a life sentence.
“I am not guilty,” he said, adding: “I do not want to live anymore.”
Earlier today five victims shared their experience of losing relatives.
One woman, Sebeu Ademe, described her “handsome, charismatic” brother who disappeared.
Her lawyer passed two faded photos to the judges.
She expressed gratitude to the Dutch state for bringing the case to trial and said she was “lucky” because at least she could see justice done.
Another victim talked about being kept in a “dark room” and seeing 82 people strangled to death, their bodies piled into a mass grave, and the next day their captors wearing the victims wedding rings and clothes.
Eshetu Alemu denies four war crimes charges, including the murder of 75 people in a church, torture, arbitrary detention and imprisonment without trial.
The trial’s expected to last three weeks.
Source: BBC News