Documentation of the Red Terror

Official records of the Derg in Ethiopia now are being archived at the Ethiopian Red Terror Documentation and Research Center (ERTDRC) by the University of North Dakota (UND) Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies (CHRGS).

The BBC explains the significance of the archive.

Ethiopia’s obsessive bureaucracy meant that everything was documented. Every arrest, every execution, every act of torture was authorised, signed for and rubber-stamped – and every piece of paper was filed away and kept.

At the time it meant that the officials “covered their backs”.

If any of their acts was queried, they could prove someone else had authorised them to do it.

But in the last days of the military regime, when it was threatened by rebels advancing on the capital, no-one seems to have made any attempt to destroy these incriminating papers.

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