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Verdict Postponed in Mengistu Genocide Trial

An Ethiopian court has postponed its verdict in the genocide trial of former President Mengistu Haile Mariam until January of next year.

The presiding judge said Tuesday, the ruling will be delayed to give the court time to review all the evidence in the case.

The court in Addis Ababa had been expected to rule Tuesday, on whether Colonel Mengistu is guilty of genocide and human rights violations as well as on the cases of at least 60 other members of his regime facing similar charges.

About 20 defendants are being tried in absentia, including the former president, who fled to Zimbabwe in 1991 after being ousted by a guerrilla campaign led by current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The trial has been going on since 1994. Those found guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide could be sentenced to death.

The rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam 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.