June 13, 2005                        

Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Chief Prosecutor

Office of the Prosecutor

International Criminal Court                                                                  

Po Box 19519

2500 CM, The Hague

The Netherlands

Fax: +31 70 515 8123


Re: Complaint of Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Ethiopian Government against the Anuak people.


Dear Mr. Prosecutor,


            The Anuak Justice Council is submitting a claim to the International Criminal Court of Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Ethiopian Government against the Anuak People pursuant to The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court where three elements that constitute crimes against humanity were established: 1) the perpetration of an enumerated act, 2) committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians, and 3) with the perpetrators having knowledge of the widespread or systematic attack. Although Ethiopia has not ratified the Rome Statute, crimes against humanity constitute customary international law and are thus applicable to and enforceable upon all states.[1] 

Based on a careful application of international legal standards to the crimes committed, it is evident that the Ethiopian government has committed the following crimes against humanity as defined in the statute: murder, deportation or forcible transfer of a population, rape, and the persecution of an identifiable group.


The Anuak Justice Council brings this claim regarding the actions of the Ethiopian Defense Forces of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia against the Anuak people of the Gambella region of Ethiopia. These actions reveal a pattern of serious and massive human and peoples’ rights violations. The Anuak Justice Council, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, serves as an umbrella group of Anuak organizations, dedicated to increasing the quality of life for Anuak people.  As such, the Anuak Justice Council respectfully seeks the involvement of the International Criminal Court in the intervention and the granting of relief to the Anuak. Furthermore, the Anuak Justice Council also requests that the International Criminal Court conduct an in-depth study of the treatment of the Anuak pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Rome Statute. Finally, the Anuak Justice Council requests a presence at the International Criminal Court to present its communications directly to the Court.

The Anuak Justice Council is well aware of the challenges that face the investigation of crimes of international concern and above all of Crimes against Humanity committed by the Ethiopian government against the Anuak in the Gambella region. We fully intend to remain engaged in respect to this matter and to do everything within our power to assist your Office and the Court in giving effect to the above recommendations.

In conclusion, the ethnic Anuak, who have been the victims of Crimes against Humanity, deserve justice and reparations. Their right to redress for the egregious crimes they suffered must not be overlooked. We look forward to hearing from you and to pursuing this dialogue with you on these issues.



Obang Metho                                                                                                           Prepared By:

Director for International Advocacy                                                     Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG)

Anuak Justice Council                                                                           Washington College of Law                                                                   

American University

                                                                4801 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th Floor, NW

                                                                                                                Washington, DC 20016-8184

                                                                                 Tel:  001-202-274-4147


[1] See generally M. Cherif Bassiouni, Crimes Against Humanity in International Criminal Law, Kluwer Law International, 1999, pp. 210-217; Prosecutor v. Furundzjia, No. IT-95-17/1, para. 227, Dec. 10, 1998 (“In many areas, the [Rome] Statute may be regarded as indicative of the legal views, i.e. opinio juris of a great number of states.”).