Ethiopia: UN commission of inquiry into Tigray war arrives

This is their first visit to Ethiopia: the three members of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations during the Tigray war, established last December, arrived in Addis Ababa earlier this week. They are due to leave on Saturday, after agreeing with the government on the modalities of its investigation on the ground. The Ethiopian government is indeed very suspicious of this commission of enquiry, with which it had initially refused to cooperate.
The Ethiopian federal government is more than reluctant. It argues that Ethiopia already has a National Human Rights Commission, that a joint investigation report of this commission with the UN has already been published, that a “national dialogue” is underway to find a way out of the political tensions, that the interference of the UN Commission of Inquiry is “counterproductive”.
Nevertheless, the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen had a first discussion on Monday with the three members of the UN commission. Other meetings are planned for this week. But in a statement, the federal authorities simultaneously made it clear that their cooperation would depend on “respect for the government’s position” and “if an agreement is reached” on how it will work in Ethiopia.
This mistrust, not yet defiance, was immediately underlined by the rebel authorities in Tigray, who said they were willing to cooperate with the commission, while accusing Addis Ababa of seeking to ‘compromise its credibility’.
It is therefore a complicated preparatory visit. Kenyan Kaari Betty Murungi, who chairs the commission, assisted by an American and a Sri Lankan lawyer, will make an initial assessment of the visit on Saturday before leaving for Uganda where her secretariat is based.