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Court Finds Former Ethiopian Dictator Guilty of Genocide


An Ethiopian court has convicted former President Mengistu Haile Mariam of genocide.

The 12-year trial of Colonel Mengistu ended Tuesday in Addis Ababa, when a three-judge panel found him guilty of genocide and other charges.

The former dictator was convicted in absentia. He fled to Zimbabwe in 1991 after he was ousted by a guerrilla campaign led by current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Only 34 of the more than 70 people accused of atrocities were present in court Tuesday. A total of 25 were tried in absentia, while 14 others have died since the trial began in 1994.

Those convicted of crimes against humanity and genocide could be sentenced to death.

Mengistu's rule from 1974 to 1991 is considered among the most brutal in Africa.

An estimated 50,000 people, including students, political figures and members of the middle class, were killed for opposing his regime.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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