WHO Head Named in Criminal Complaint to ICC, Prosecution for Genocide Wanted
“Was a crucial decision maker in relation to security service actions that included killing, arbitrarily detaining and torturing Ethiopians”
An American economist nominated for the Nobel peace prize has called for the head of the World Health Organisation to be prosecuted for genocide over his alleged involvement in directing Ethiopia’s security forces.
David Steinman accused Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 55, who took over at the WHO three years ago, of being one of three officials in control of the Ethiopian security services from 2013 to 2015.
Dr Tedros was the country’s health minister from 2005 to 2012 and its foreign minister until 2016, when his Tigray People’s Liberation Front party was the main member of the ruling coalition.
Mr Steinman, an economist and campaigner nominated for the peace prize last year, lodged the complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
He claimed that Dr Tedros “was a crucial decision maker in relation to security service actions that included killing, arbitrarily detaining and torturing Ethiopians”.
Dr Tedros has risen to international prominence as the leader of the UN’s health body during the coronavirus pandemic.
He is the organisation’s first leader without medical qualifications.
The complaint to prosecutors at the ICC comes after General Berhanu Jula, Ethiopia’s army chief of staff, called last month for the WHO leader to resign. He accused him of trying to procure weapons for the Tigray region, where the Ethiopian army is fighting local forces.
In his complaint, Mr Steinman pointed to a 2016 US government report on human rights in Ethiopia that found the “civilian authorities at times did not maintain control over the security forces, and local police in rural areas and local militias sometimes acted independently”.
Mr Steinman added that the US report cited “other documented crimes”. He accused Dr Tedros of being involved in the “intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters”, including “arbitrary arrest . . . and lengthy pre-trial detention”.
The complaint also alleged that Dr Tedros oversaw the “killing, and causing serious bodily and mental harm to, members of the Amhara, Konso, Oromo and Somali tribes with intent to destroy those tribes in whole or in part”.
Mr Steinman claimed that during the four years Dr Tedros “co-led” Ethiopia’s government, the regime “was marked by widespread or systematic crimes against humanity by subordinates”. His complaint can proceed only if it is adopted by prosecutors at The Hague court, which is independent of the UN. If they do, it would be the first prosecution of a senior UN figure.
Mr Steinman, a former consultant to the US National Security Council, was a senior foreign adviser to Ethiopia’s democracy movement for 27 years until its victory in 2018 under Abiy Ahmed Ali, the current prime minister.
Dr Tedros has denied the allegations and any wrongdoing. He issued a statement last month regarding the current situation in Tigray. “There have been reports suggesting I am taking sides in this situation,” he said. “This is not true and I want to say that I am on only one side and that is the side of peace.”
Source: The Times
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to receive a criminal complaint against Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first African Director-General. This complaint will be filed by David Steinman on December 1st, 2020 in regards to Dr. Tedros’ alleged involvement and compliance in criminal activities during the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) reign in Ethiopia.
The timing of this complaint is not surprising, as Dr. Tedros has been under heavy scrutiny for the WHO’s response on the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently, his alleged involvement in weapons procurement for TPLF as the war continues in Ethiopia. Mr. Steinman is a staunch critic of the former TPLF regime, especially Dr. Tedros whom he believes was complicit in human rights violations across the country. The complaint outlines that Dr. Tedros violated articles of the Rome statute and Effects Doctrine. The ICC prosecutor will review the complaint and determine whether there is enough information to warrant an investigation.
This complaint has the potential to open Pandora’s box for Dr. Tedros and the TPLF, who dominated and controlled the political scene in Ethiopia for nearly three decades before being ousted from public office after massive state-wide protests between 2016-2018. During TPLF’s reign, Dr. Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005-2012 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012-2016. He was praised and awarded by the global community for his work on Ethiopia’s community health infrastructure and improvements across multiple health indicators. Despite his accomplishments in public health, Dr. Tedros’s reputation and tenure has been riddled with scandals and accusations.
Analysis of events and Implications of ICC Complaint
All of these scandals (and accusations) are examples of how there has been little to no investigation or accountability for the TPLF and their leading global comrade Dr. Tedros Adhanom. Furthermore, Dr. Tedros was an important pillar in this political party that engaged in massive human rights abuses all over Ethiopia. He served as the Minister of Health for nearly 7 years but remained silent as his political party deployed violent measures to maintain a democratic facade.
As a public health professional, Dr. Tedros had a duty to speak out against the impact of violence on health outcomes yet was silent as TPLF killed and tortured dissident communities.
It will be interesting to see if the evidence against Dr. Tedros is enough for the ICC Prosecutor to begin an investigation. My guess is that not much will come of this complaint formally because the WHO holds an immense amount of influence within the global community. However, what is at stake is TPLF’s reputation, or whatever is left of it. Leaders of the TPLF, like the late former PM Meles Zenawi are well-known global stakeholders who have developed key relationships in many sectors. Mr. Steinman’s complaint may finally be the last straw in the haystack that brings TPLF’s organization to its knees. Justice for the many people TPLF unlawfully jailed and killed may come sooner than expected.
Source: Addis Zeybe