Chickens are coming home to roost!


By Yilma Bekele

It is an old saying. What it means is bad or illegal acts committed in the past are liable to cause problems today. In other words, there is no escaping the past. Sooner or later the day of reckoning will come. In Amharic we have the same saying ‘be seferut kuna yeseferu’.

What brought this is the news of the arrival of International Criminal Court (ICC) Deputy Prosecutor Mrs. Fatou Bensouda in Addis. Apparently there is report of imminent indictment against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir regarding his crimes in Darfur.

Sudan’s name comes from the Arabic “bilad al-sudan”, or land of the blacks. Sudan is a very big country in terms of size. It is slightly more than one-quarter the size of the US. Our dear friend al- Bashir is one of those tin pot dictators that litter our continent. It was in 1989 he took power as Chairman of Sudan’s Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and served as chief of state, chairman of RCC, prime minister and minister of defense. It is a situation of ‘le ras sekorsu ayasansu’. In the good old tradition of African despots he got legitimacy by organizing a national election and winning 86.5% of the popular vote. Al-Bashir is not very greedy it seems. Normally African despots like 99.9%.

Al-Bashir is the same individual that suspended all political parties upon assuming power as a military leader. He also introduced the Islamic Sharia legal code on a national level. This was an affront to the southern Christians and others. In 1998 he wrote and adapted a new constitution. In 1999 he passed a law allowing limited political association but made sure that it was a ‘castrated opposition’. It did not last long. In December of 1999 he drove his tank to the parliament and ousted his friend and mentor Hassan al-Turabi who was the speaker of parliament.

So much for tolerance and limited democracy. Sudan is internationally known for its civil war between the southern half and Islamic North. The conflict has been going on for the last twenty years. Our own Emperor has worked very hard to bring the warring factions together. The conflict has caused millions to be ‘displaced, starved, and deprived of education and health care’. Much progress was made throughout 2003, and in early 2004 al-Bashir agreed to grant autonomy to the south for six years, split the country’s oil revenues with the southern provinces, and allow the southerners to vote in a referendum of independence at the end of the six-year period. al-Bashir has managed to break the agreement on several occasions.

As the situation in the South was somewhat stabilizing, another conflict broke out in Northern Darfur on the western part of the country. Since 2004 a pro-government militia called Janjawweed has been a carrying out a policy of wholesale massacre and collective punishment against the local population. According to Amnesty International, Human Right Watch the government has facilitated the killing of between 200,000 and 300,000 civilians and the displacement of more than 1 million people.

This is the situation that has brought the International Criminal Court to get involved in this high stake poker game. The action by the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo of Argentina, will mark the first time that the tribunal in The Hague charges a sitting head of state with such crimes, and represents a major step by the court to implicate the highest levels of the Sudanese government for the atrocities in Darfur. The African Union is crying foul and invoking all kinds of obscure phrases such as sovereignty, internal affairs and the untouchability of a sitting head of state. Crocodile tears if you ask me. Each and every one of them is afraid the precedent set by such far-reaching action.

We in Ethiopia are very much exited about such a development. The crimes being committed in the Ogaden against our fellow citizens have been amply recorded by a host of International organizations and displaced persons languishing in Kenya and elsewhere. We call upon the ICC to look into the human catastrophe-taking place in Ogaden, Gambella, Gondar and Southern Ethiopia.

We are in agreement with the principle that no one is above the law. That no government is immune from prosecution. That massacre of civilians, deliberate acts of starvation and acts of collective punishment of peaceful UN armed civilians is cause for indictment and those who commit such crimes should answer to a court of law. We are hopeful that al-Basher and his associates will be made to answer for their hideous acts and the Sudanese people will find solace in knowing that ‘the chickens are coming home to roost’. I am sure Professor Al is paying close attention to this development. We feel empowered.


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23 comments on “Chickens are coming home to roost!

  1. Eritrawi on

    Mr. Yilma Bekele, with all due respect to your good intentions your article misses the point, the ICC is not some higher power with full authority and neutrality that looks for and indictes state level criminals, it is created by western powers to serve their interests, the ICC should go looking for the very leaders who produce and proliferate the weapons used by the despots of Africa because the despots of Africa in the end work for their masters, they are only labeled criminal or dictator once they stop serving their masters in the west, Mobutu Sese Seko is a good example of that, they ditched him as soon as he about to be punished by his own people, did they ask the ICC to bring him to western style justice? the answer is NO.

    All the despots of Africa don’t need to be judged by their masters, they need to be judged by the very people they butchered by the hundereds of thousands and the millions to serve the interests of the neo-colonialists. You will have to dream until you die before they even think about bringing Melles to their justice because he serves their interests, they are giving him the money and weapons needed to commit these crimes. The only time they will “bring Melles to justice” is when they used him up and have a replacement ready to do some more dirty work on their behalf. My Ethiopian brothers and sisters lets wake up and not get fooled by westerners again and again. I would not let any African despot be judged by the very criminals who sent them to do the dirty work in the first place.

  2. mulu behayilu on

    i was wishing the great brains of ethiopians in diaspora – al mariam, berhanu, shekspear, . . . . would consolidate their power and intelligence to bring something towards the indictment of meles and his gangs. what we need now is to talk about who belongs to whom – we don’t have time to say to ourselves “i am of g-7, i’m of andinet, i’m of eprd-d, of mesfin, of berhano of . . . .” we want our leaders to put their powers together and get things done – LET’S GET MELES BE THE NEXT PERSON TO FOLLOW alBASHIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Truth~ on

    Melese should be brought into justice not to Hague but to our own court and justice. It would be another shame and humiliation to us when he as Ethiopian “leader” is hand-coughed and dragged to European capital. The only help we need from West is to stop the life support it gives for Melese and his regime; he soon falls in our hand.

    Today, Albashir; tomorrow Mugabe, Esias, Gadfi and others who oppose the grand design of the West will go to the Haegue one after another. Is it good News for Africa? As always, we capitulate and congratulate ourselves.

  4. Baheilu on

    I pray that our own crime minister will face the international court, for crime against humanity.

  5. HAILU on

    IT IS A GOOD COMMENTARY.
    “BE SEFERUT KUNA MESEFER AYKERIM”
    WHO KNOWS MELES AND HIS SERROGATES WILL ALSO FACE THIS CHARGE ONE DAY
    THNX

  6. damtew on

    we should all expose the crime committed is no less than Bashir and campagne to have him also be included – at least we know these guys will not be handed over until they are kicked out of power – but we know they would not dare to walk freely any where out side their cage

  7. Abera M. on

    The international community looks at African dictators based on their level of subordibnation to the west. Sudan has a terrible president but what makes the condition more terrible is that it has a bad relationship with the west. Zenawi did the most horrendous things to our country and its people. Very recently Zenawi had ordered the massacre of 193 innocent civilians, only this would have been enough to lock him in jail and throw away the key. The massacres in Ogaden, the massacres in the southern regions, in Arbagugu, Bedele are only a few. I believe we need an international organization that collects and shares information on the crimes Zenawi and his cronies had commited. If not the leaders of the west the population in the west might pressurize its immoral leaders to do the right thing in arresting and prosecuting this mad man.

  8. B.Tufa on

    Would someone give me evidence the Sudanese President had gun-down unarmed innocent civilians at day time as many dictators do in most part of the word? As far as I know, he is fighting armed separatists groups as many African nations are fighting almost everywhere. What makes the Sudanese dictator different than other dictators?

  9. Truth~ on

    Eritrawi,

    You said it all eloquently.

    Yelima Bekele and others are celebrating on their own capitulation.

  10. weqaw on

    As much as I don’t care if Meles’ head was chopped off, I resent that this so called ICJ, acting to appease the US, indicting an African! I would rather wait to see to it that Meles and his Weyane gangs are removed by the people of the Horn if not by Ethiopians.

  11. Solomon Mekuwanint on

    B. Tufa (comment #10)

    You will find the evidence when the court is in session. Just cool down – wait and see.

    If in case you’re trying to relate what you said to what Meles did – don’t worry we’ve more than enough evidence to show to the world.

  12. Omar on

    ICC is nothing more than the tool of western powers who are always working hard to eliminate those who don’t agree with them and don’t accept their “supermacy”. If ICC really seeks to address human-right violations, they should have brought the following big killers to their court.

    1. George Bush & Tony Blair: for initiating Iraq war in which more than a million Iraqis are annihilated.

    2. Viladmir Putin: for killing hundreds of thousands of civilian Chechens by carpet-bombing all their towns and villages.

    3. Meles Zenawi and Tigrean gangs by killing hundreds of thousnds of non-Tigrean Ethiopians of all nationalities and religions and peoples of neighbouring countries.

    4. Abdullahi Yousuf and and his criminal warlord comrades: for initiating and sustaining Somali civil war. By becoming accessories and proxies of enemies of the Somali people, they are responsible for the destruction of hundreds of thousands of Somali lives.

    Al-Bashir is not worse than these high profile killers. The charge against him is selective and politically charged. What a double standard!

    Thanks,

  13. Junior Yigzaw on

    Your article is well written. We all have to come together and display all the crimes committed by zenawi to the international court or the United Nations.
    Let’s keep together with the help of God.

  14. Amoraw on

    ER can help to collect petition to be submited for the court against the well known criminal and hidden terrorist suporter. His crime can be listed one after another, including his love for the sudan government. We can collect a million signature and force the court to act in favor of our petion.

    Doing so will save the court’s image as an impartial one, and likely to pass in one move.

    Let us discuss about this, and act on it. Zenawi is so coward, either he will get insane or he end up in prison.

  15. Qoraxey on

    Yilma,well done.But the West goes after its interest-not human rights when it comes to Africa.Look at Mogdishu and what Meles did there.It`s worse than anything done in Darfur.In Ogaden,Meles`crimes are worse and uglier than that of Bashir and Robert Mugabe but remains a good friend of theirs.However,we should demand that Meles should stand before a court of justice for his crimes agains humanity.

  16. Boru Jobir on

    I found the whole idea presented by Mr. Bekele very simplistic. I believe Mr. Eritreawi’s oberservation is more to the point and gives a historical perspective to the actions of the west in matters concerning the neo-colonialist reality of the present day Africa. Our continent had more than its fare share of corrupt despots who are swimming in the blood of their fellow countrymen. But if we are looking for remedies for all our social ills from the west, I believe we are the ones who should brush-up our history and political lessons to have a proper understanding of the problems facing us. The reigning powers of the west have never gone out of their way to help the people of Africa or for that matter the entire world unless their interest is jeopardized. And to think that they will put their neck out to bring justice to the people of Darfur is just the same as believing they went to Iraq to bring democracy and freedom to the region. One has to go beyond the empty propaganda and consider all the geo-political variables that may lead the west to take action in any part of the world.

    Al-Bashir, Zenawi, Mugabe, Afeworki, and more than eighty percent of African rulers should be brought to justice by their own people. They should pay for their criminal acts and most will certainly meet their fate in their lifetime if history is any testament. In order to untangle the web of deception and control that the west has laid out over our continent using our own criminals, it is imperative that we should put our trust in our own people to organize themselves and establish governments that serve their own interest. Otherwise, every time the west tries to play smart trick on us by pretending to care for our ills and present us with seemingly caring solution, we should be very careful and see it for what it is. Right now, the power of the west is as much a culprit in what is happening in our continent as the crimes that are committed by our “leaders”. As the saying goes, the west is part of the problem and not the solution. And we should not be jumping and down with excitement for finally getting somewhere with our problems. Al-Bashir is more of a problem for the Sudanese people as a whole as his counterpart Meles is for us Ethiopians. The process of removing these and other despots from power should be the domain of people in the respective countries. If we entertain any other alternative, we are only deluding ourselves and a disappointment is no further away.

  17. Assta B. Gettu on

    When Emperor Haile Selassie founded AU, his intention was to bring all the other African states more closely and to work together to improve the economy of the continent. He didn’t know he was creating in Addis Ababa a head quarter for notorious black guerrillas who care nothing about Africa itself but who are more interested in making love with the Ethiopian girls for many hours as they wanted to.

    Since the inception of AU, what have they accomplished for Africa? One thing they have done is that they have raped, and raped, and raped thousands of Ethiopian women. One of the purposes that they don’t want the head quarter of the AU to move to one of the other African states is that the other African states do not offer as many prostitutes as Meles does to his African guests, so smart Meles has been holding these black monsters to remain in Addis Ababa by offering them hundreds of young Ethiopian girls any time, at any place, and at any price they want. Therefore, these black African guerrillas are going to stay in Addis Ababa for a long time until Ethiopia appoints a new Prime Minister that prohibits prostitution in Addis Ababa. When that happens, the number of those who show up to work at AU will substantially dwindle.

  18. Abera M. on

    I read some of the points by Boru and Eriterawi, I completely agree that the west looks at this criminals based on the national interest of the west, NOT AFRICANS, but expecting them to get justice from their own people is far fetched. If it was by the level of criminal activity they commit, Zenawi must have been thrown out long time ago, the problem is Africam despots are using all available means to destroy all the apparatus of law and order. There is no army, there is no police, there are no courts, there is no parlament, all these structures are shaped to obey these monstsers. Therefore, although it is not for the right reasons, we should welcome the prosecution of these monsters by any one and everyone with a capacity. I would agree the removal of Zenawi even by a devil himself, as he is one.

  19. Tessema on

    Boru Jobir, you have a curious logic. The West caused the problem. They will not ‘go out of their ways’ your own words to help us. Therefore if they indict criminals like Charles Taylor, and others we should not be happy. Rather we should wait until we ourselves bring them to justice hopefully in the near undertermined future. Think of it, the only one who will argue like this is Meles or his associates. Why would you pretend that you are against despots and tyrants and at the same time criticise the police that is trying to bring them to court. You should argue to make sure the trial is open and transparent, and they are allowed good defense unlike what they did to their victims. You moronic disfunctional woyanes think we are all stupid like you. We use our brains, we don’t follow a devious little devil like your coward leader. I hope you will be there when we hang him in Arat Kilo after a fair trial. hehehe

  20. Shimu-Inta on

    Assta B. Gettu,

    እንዴት ያለኸው መደዴው ነህ ጃል?

    ሻዕቢያ በሸፍታነቱ ዘመን ከተጠቀመበት መጽሃፍ ነው እየጠቀስክ ያለኽው።

    በዛን ጊዜ ያው እንደምታውቀው ዋልጌ እና ሴሰኛ ለነበሩ የሰራዊቱ አዛዦች ምርጥ ምርጥ የኤርትራ ደናግል ጉብሎችን ዘወትር ምሽት በማቅረብ የጦሩን እንቅስቃሴ እና አጠቃላይ እቅድ ከእነዚህ ሴሰኛ የጦር አለቆች ዘንግ ላይ እያጉዋሩ በሚዘሉት ትናንሽ የሻዕቢያ ወጠጤዎች ዝሙት ተግባር አማካኝነት ይገኝ እንደነበርና በዚህም ሻዕቢያ ብዙ እንደተጠቀመ የቅርብ ጊዜ ትዝታ ነው።

    ያው አንተም እንደምታውቀው እኛ በዛ አሳፋሪ እና ጸያፍ ተግባር ላይ በውዴታም በግዴታም ተሰማርተው በነበሩት የያኔው ጥንቅሾች የዛሬው ሴታ ሴቶች ላይ በደረሰው የስነልቦና ቀውስ ምክንያት ምን ያህል እንደሚሰቃዩ ሁላችንም በሃዘኔታ የምናስበው እውነታ ነው።

    ታዲያ በዘመዶችህ ላይ የደረሰውን የወዲ አፎም ግፍ አሁን ምን ይበጃል ብለህ ነው የምትጠቃቅሰው?

  21. Assta B. Gettu on

    Dear editor,

    Can you explain to me what those question marks under #22 Shimu-Inta says: mean?

    Thank you for your help.

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