Letter: What price justice? What value life?
By Makonnen Endalkatchew | December 23, 2010
It was with great disappointment that I read recent articles about the active campaign by several leaders of the major religious denominations and other self-serving individuals in our country to secure pardons and releases for the former Dergue junta members currently serving sentences in Addis Ababa’s Kaliti prison. This development is disturbing on many levels, a few of which I would like to highlight below:
Personally, when the Dergue fell and the EPRDF came to power, I was disappointed that these former Dergue junta members were not brought to trial quickly and given the justice they had denied so many Ethiopians. As the saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied. Subsequently, though, I was placated when they were finally brought to trial and, given the overwhelming evidence against them, found guilty and given sentences ranging from death to life imprisonment. At this time, however, I am extremely dismayed that there is even contemplation of commuting their sentences and allowing them to live free among the same populace which they persecuted and devastated for 17 years. Where is the justice in that? What is the value of even one of the lives which these animals took, let alone the value of 1.5 million Ethiopian lives?
For those religious leaders and “yager shimagles” who are advocating forgiveness and the value of redemption, might I suggest a visit to the burial crypt of the 68 former officials at Sellassie, and/or to the Memorial of the Victims of Red Terror at Meskel Square. It might help to give them some well-needed historical perspective and education on this very sensitive issue.
Some of the articles which were printed suggested that the families of some of the victims of the Dergue had been contacted about the issue of a pardon and had stated that they had no objections to the idea. I can categorically say that no one contacted any member of any family that I know of to request comment on this issue. For that matter, no member of the committee which manages and maintains the Memorial for the 68 Former Officials Executed by the Dergue was asked for their opinions on this matter. Therefore, it would be interesting to know who was asked and what was their rationale (if any) for giving their blessing for this ludicrous venture.
For those that are actively pursuing this issue and suggesting that justice has been already served, I have but one thing to say……SHAME ON YOU! Using this very sensitive issue to advance whatever personal agenda you might have is despicable and a major disservice to this blessed country of ours, and shows great disrespect for the many valuable Ethiopian lives which were lost during those dark 17 years of Dergue repression.
Due process was followed, and justice according to the Ethiopian Code of Law was delivered. That is more than can be said of the mock justice meted out by these individuals during their long time in power. As such, they should suffer the consequences of their actions and serve their sentences without any interference from supposed “concerned” external factions…… justice and history demands that, at the very least.
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