Washington DC—The Founding President of Genocide Watch, Dr Gregory Stanton, has warned that Ethiopia, which is high on the organizations watch list, is facing a dangerous threat of genocide and mass killings as a result of the divide and rule policies of the minority rule of Meles Zenawi. Dr. Stanton referred the present system of governance, which is based on an exclusionary ideology, as one that resembles TPLF’s internal colonialism than a genuinely representative government.
In an interview with the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), Dr Stanton, who is also a professor at the US-based School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, said that the increasing level of ethnic animosity and hatred amongst the people is symptomatic of the possibility of genocide in Ethiopia. “The divide and rule policies of the Ethiopian government really had seriously dangerous consequences in Ethiopia. In fact the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian defense forces have committed acts of genocide,” he noted.
According to Dr Stanton, who drafted the UN Security Council resolution to set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the most striking case of genocide in Ethiopia was the massacres in 2003 of so many Anuaks in Gambela province. “Clearly identified as Anuaks, they really singled out the Anuak leaders and they killed them. That was very clearly genocide,” he said.
The Genocide Watch chief likened the situation in Ethiopia to that of Syria, where an Alawait minority government is trying to hang on to power through violence and terror that it has been unleashing against the majority. “The dangerous thing in Ethiopia, which is similar to the situation right now in Syria, is that you have a minority-run regime that is trying to hang on to power in a country where it knows that if it lets go off power it may lose everything. So it is a very dangerous kind of a regime because it can be ruthless in the way they hold on to power,” he noted.
Dr. Stanton further noted that the regime has created animosity and hostility among different ethnic groups. “In Ethiopia you have a minority-run regime. It is basically a Tigrian-run regime.” Noting that he has nothing at all against the Tigrian people, he said that there is no reason why they should be the victims of this regime or its policies. “I certainly hope that when this government is defeated finally that no one will take out their frustrations on the Tigrian people,” he said.
He expressed hope that Ethiopia would eventually have a government that transcends ethnicity and unify the Ethiopian people as a nation instead of dividing the country along ethnic lines.
Dr. Stanton also warned Zenawi that he cannot eventually get away with the heinous crimes he has been committing against the people of Ethiopia. Dr. Stanton, who wrote a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights initiating investigations into the crimes being committed by the regime, said: “If Meles Zebawi thinks that he can get away with this [crime] for the rest of his life, he better look at the Cambodian tribunal.” Dr. Stanton played a key in bringing leaders of the Khmer Rouge, which had committed genocide and crimes against humanity, to justice after a lengthy process.
He called on the Meles regime to recognize the diversity of the nation and to give true diversity to the country’s government to let people govern themselves. Dr Stanton also advised Zenawi to honor the constitution that allows diversity, equal representation and freedom of expression.
“If he wants to stay in power, the best way to do it is to reform and change,” Dr. Stanton added.