Ethiopian Red-terror’ Trial before The Hague District Court: Probing the ‘Nexus’ Element in War Crimes

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Kassaye Muluneh


The main objective of this paper is to examine the existence of the ‘nexus’ element in the war crime conviction of Mr. E. Alemu in the ‘red terror’ war crime trial before the Hague district court (Hague Court). For an offence to be qualified as a war crime there must be a ‘sufficient nexus’ between it and an armed conflict. The nexus requirement is mainly used to distinguish war crimes from other international crimes or ordinary crimes committed on occasion of an armed conflict. The study concludes that the Hague court employed an overly broad interpretation in determining both the context element (armed conflict) and the ‘nexus’ element in the ‘red-terror’ war crime trial which resulted in diverging interpretations of the same material acts and context by the Hague Court and the Federal High Court of Ethiopia (FHC). This approach undermines legal certainty and the very purpose of the requirement of nexus.

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