UN probe finds evidence of brutal violence that may amount to crimes against humanity, including gang rape by all combatants.
A UN joint investigation into alleged atrocities in Ethiopia found all sides committed grave abuses that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes in the yearlong war in the Tigray region.
The report, a collaboration by the UN human rights office with the government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), was released on Wednesday as the country enters a new state of emergency with rival Tigray forces threatening the capital, Addis Ababa.
More than 1,300 rapes were reported to authorities, with many more likely to have been unreported.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said the Tigray conflict has been marked by “extreme brutality”.
“The gravity and seriousness of the violations and abuses we have documented underscore the need to hold perpetrators accountable on all sides,” Bachelet said.
The probe found several Ethiopian military camps were used to torture captured Tigray forces or civilians suspected of supporting them. Others were detained in “secret locations” and military camps across the country, with arbitrary detentions in many cases.
Tigray forces detained some ethnic Amhara civilians in western Tigray in the early days of the war on suspicion of supporting the military and in some cases tortured them, the report found.
The joint investigation covers events until late June when Tigray forces regained much of their region, but it failed to visit some of the deadliest sites of the war, including the city of Axum, because of security and other obstacles.
Obstacles included the Ethiopian government’s failure to release satellite phones procured for the investigation, the report said.
The UN told The Associated Press news agency the collaboration with the EHRC was necessary for its team to gain access to a troubled region. Ethiopian authorities have largely prevented journalists, rights groups and other outside observers from entering.