How was an autocratic emperor replaced by a totalitarian dictator? An unexpected popular upsurge in February 1974 made the ancien regime of Emperor Haile Selassie buckle. The Derg, a group of army officers led by an obscure and ruthless major Mengistu Hailemariam, seized power by military coup in September 1974 and removed the Emperor. What was the 'red terror'? The callous executions of members of the old regime initiated a cult of violence. The Derg were united by the shedding of blood. Search and destroy campaigns against militants led on to the full-blown 'red terror' in which thousands of the regime's opponents were brutally murdered in the streets. In what way was 'transitional justice' administered? The main officials were found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity by the Ethiopian Federal High Court and sentenced to life imprisonment. Some of the minor officials had already been sentenced to death, whilst President Mugabe has given Mengistu Hailemariam sanctuary in Zimbabwe. KJETIL TRONVOLL is Professor in Human Rights, Peace and Conflict Studies at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo; CHARLES SCHAEFER is Associate Professor of African History, Valparaiso University; GIRMACHEW ALEMU ANEME is a Research Fellow at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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