ICC Note: A United Nations commission of inquiry is accusing Eritrea’s leaders of crimes against humanity, such as torture, rape, and murder. The council has called for international action against Eritrean leaders, hoping to hold them accountable for their crimes. The Eritrean state considers evangelical Christians who worship outside of the state-approved religions, enemies of the state. Many Christians continue to flee Eritrea, hoping to escape the constant persecution for their beliefs.
6/9/2016 Geneva (The New York Times) – The leaders of Eritrea are responsible for crimes against humanity, a United Nations commission of inquiry said Wednesday, calling for international action to hold them to account, including referral to the International Criminal Court.
The inquiry found that “officials at the highest levels of state,” including the ruling party and military commanders of the East African nation, “have committed and continue to commit” crimes including enslavement, imprisonment and disappearances, torture, rape and murder.
One of the most egregious offenses, the United Nation commission found, was the forced conscription of young people in a never-ending national service program that has driven thousands of young Eritreans to flee, many to Europe.
Eritrea, a small country on the Horn of Africa along the Red Sea, is known as the North Korea of Africa. It is one of the continent’s most secretive, isolated and repressive countries.
Its leader, Isaias Afwerki, an intellectual turned guerrilla fighter turned president, was once considered one of the smartest and most charismatic rebels in the world. During Eritrea’s war for independence from Ethiopia two decades ago, Mr. Isaias brought Christians and Muslims, nomads and farmers, and men and women together in the trenches; he even oversaw underground tampon factories for his female fighters.