COMMUNICATION 301/O5 – Haregewoin Gabre-Selassie and IHRDA (on behalf of former Dergue Officials/Ethiopia) Summary of the Facts: 1. The present Communication was received at the Secretariat of the African Commission (the Secretariat) on 16 November 2004. It is submitted pursuant to Article 55 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples‟ Rights (the African Charter or Charter). The Secretariat later received a letter from the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (hereafter the IHRDA) dated 29th March 2006, whereby the IHRDA sought to join as co-author of the Communication. 2. The Complaint is thus submitted by Haregewoin Gabre-Selassie and IHRDA (the Complainants) on behalf of “the Dergue officials” (former officials of the Mengistu regime in Ethiopia) who have been detained by the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Respondent State) since 1991. 3. The Complainants alleged that following the overthrow of the former Mengistu regime in Ethiopia (commonly referred to as the Dergue1 regime) by the Ethiopian People‟s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in 1991, the Dergue officials surrendered to the new government and they were arrested and detained on account of collective responsibility for policies or abuses by the Dergue regime rather than on an account of individual responsibility for particular criminal offences. The Complainants submit that they have been in detention since then. 4. The Complainants also claim that a year after their detention a new legislation was enacted whereby the Special Public Prosecutor‟s Office (SPO) was established and mandated to conduct “investigation and bring to trial [Dergue officials] detainees, as well as those persons who are responsible for having committed offences and are at large, both within and [outside] the country”. 5. They submit that upon coming into force, the SPO Proclamation barred and suspended the applicability of provisions concerning time limitation of criminal action to proceedings instituted by the SPO office; thereby giving the SPO the liberty to submit charges, evidence 1 Dergue means “Council or Committee” in Amharic and it is usually associated with the Mengistu regime that toppled Haile-Sellasie‟ Monarchic regime in 1974, and ruled the country from 1974-1991. 1

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