Mengistu Haile Mariam
Country Ruled: Ethiopia
Years Ruled: 1974-1991
Current Residence: Zimbabwe
Mengistu, an army officer, participated prominently in Emperor Haile Selassie's overthrow (1974). Emerging through violence as preeminent military ruler by 1977, he sought Soviet aid, established a socialist People's Republic and fought off Somali incursions and Eritrean rebels. He was elected president in 1987. Regional rebellions increased while Soviet aid receded amid economic deterioration. Mengistu abandoned socialism, but unable to mobilize military resistance, he was forced to flee to Zimbabwe in 1991.
From 1974 to 1991, Mengistu's "Dergue" regime was responsible for human rights violations on a massive scale. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians were tortured, murdered or "disappeared." Tens of thousands of people were also killed as a result of humanitarian law violations committed during Ethiopia's many internal armed conflicts. Many others, perhaps more than 100,000, died as a result of forced relocations ordered by the Mengistu regime. These violations are documented in Human Rights Watch's 1991 book- length report Evil Days: 30 Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia.
Mengistu is currently living on his private ranch in Zimbabwe.
- Columbia Encyclopedia entry for Mengistu Haile Mariam
- Mengistu Haile Mariam: A Human Rights Watch background paper
- South Africa Urged to Bring Ethiopian Dictator to Justice
Mengistu is available for immediate assignment.
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