Dutch Ethiopian jailed for war crimes appeals against his life sentence

The 63-year-old Dutch Ethiopian sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes by judges in The Hague at the end of last year is appealing against his conviction, the NRC has reported.

Eshetu Alemu, 63, was found guilty of ordering the killing of 75 detainees, many of them younger than 18 in 1978. Alemu, a former regional official, was also convicted of arbitrary detention, inhumane treatment, torture and mass murder.

Announcing plans to appeal, his lawyer Sander Arts said the defence had been unable to properly investigate the authenticity of documents and that some witnesses were not able to be questioned.

These documents include the most important evidence against Alemu, including two lists signed by him with the name of the 75 victims and the order to take ‘revolutionary measures’ against them.

Alemu arrived in the Netherlands as an asylum seeker in 1990 and had been in custody since 2015. He was sentenced to death in absentia in Ethiopia in 2007.

The Netherlands is one of the few European countries that has established an international crimes prosecution unit to prosecute people accused of war criminals who live in the Netherlands, even if their crimes were committed abroad, news agency Reuters said.

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