After Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed following an army mutiny in 1974, Ethiopia was ruled for a decade and a half by a communist military junta, the Derg, led by Mengistu Haile Mariam. The period was characterized by repression, war and famine. Estimates put the total number of casualties at between 500,000 and two million.
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDFA) came to power in 1991 following an armed campaign. A new constitution was adopted in 1994 and multiparty elections were held the following year. The EPRDFA has remained the dominant political force for more than two decades. Human Rights Watch and other international organizations report continuing human rights abuses.
Following a referendum in 1993, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia. However, a border dispute developed into full-scale military conflict in May 1998. An estimated 70,000 were killed before the conflict was brought to an end with UN assistance in December 2000.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is engaged in helping refugees in Ethiopia make contact with their families.
The Argentinean Forensic Anthropology Team has visited Ethiopia four times since 1993 to help excavate graves and provide forensic assistance to the Special Prosecutor’s Office in Addis Ababa.
In 2006, Mengistu Haile Mariam was found guilty in absentia of genocide by Ethiopia’s Federal High Court. He continues to live in Zimbabwe, beyond the reach of Ethiopian jurisdiction.