ETHIOPIAN CONSTITUTION PDF
This Constitution establishes a Federal and Democratic State structure. Accordingly, the Ethiopian state shall be known as the Federal Democratic Republic of. Accordingly, the Ethiopian state shall be known as the Federal Democratic of the Constitution, the Commitment of the Peoples of Ethiopia to live together in. the bases on which state borders are delimited as per article 46(2) of the constitution),. Ethiopia's has been viewed by many commentators as “ethnic” or.
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Ethiopia. A key constitutional provision in this regard is the first paragraph of the. Preamble to the Ethiopian Constitution which states, among other reasons for. Keywords: FDRE Constitution, Federalism, One Political and Economic Community, New State Formation, Composition of the Military and Executive and NNP. Adem Kassie Abebe, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria Abstract The Ethiopian Constitution declares in unequivocal terms that it is the supreme law.
In such instances, the possibility that the legislature may reject executive proposals and vice versa is real, as the coalition may not have similar views on all important issues with the parliament. If one party has an absolute majority, however, the executive and the legislature are one and the same for all practical purposes.
It is an important mechanism to keep the political organs within the terrain set by a constitution. Today, most constitutions around the world establish constitutional review systems to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution. Constitutions around the world empower either regular courts or establish independent constitutional courts or councils with the task of reviewing the decisions of political organs in line with constitutional standards. Given the institutional conflation between the legislature and executive organs, only a constitutional review system effectively removed from the two organs can ensure compliance with constitutional prescriptions.
The Ethiopian Constitution establishes a unique constitutional review system that is different from the common trend internationally. The two most dominant constitutional review systems are the concentrated or centralized or European or Kelsenian review system, where only one constitutional court or the highest court of the land is granted the power of constitutional review, and the American or diffused judicial review system where all courts in the judicial hierarchy have the power to review the constitutionality of decisions of the political organs.
Although most constitutions in the world have established constitutional review systems, there are also constitutions that include clear provisions excluding any possibility of judicial review in respect of all or a certain category of statutes. For instance, article of the Constitution of the Netherlands unequivocally prohibits any form of judicial review of primary statutes.
However, such countries are guided by the idea of parliamentary sovereignty. The scholars who argue that Ethiopian courts have the power to decide the constitutionality of all acts and omissions except that of legislative statutes seem to rely almost exclusively on article 84 2 of the Constitution, which appears to refer only to constitutional challenges against primary statutes. Consideration of the constitutionality of primary legislation is but part of the broader spectrum of constitutional disputes.
Article 84 is intended to merely outline the power relationships between the Council and the HoF and the procedure that should be followed to address constitutional disputes that arise in judicial proceedings. However, it is only when there is a constitutional dispute of some sort that constitutional interpretation becomes necessary.
The two phrases should therefore be understood to refer to the process that ultimately results in determination of the meaning of a constitutional provision or provisions. In fact, the HoF is more likely to be absolutely dominated by a single political group than the HPR, since the members of the HoF are appointed by the political groups dominating legislative councils of the states.
The HPR has never been absolutely dominated by a single political group — the closest it has come to such an absolute dominance was in the elections where the EPRDF won Quite simply, the political group that has the majority in the HPR will almost certainly have a majority in the majority of the legislative councils of the regional states. As a result, the political group that has the majority in the HPR will almost certainly have the majority in the HoF.
Hence, it is difficult, if not impossible, to expect the HoF to effectively hold the HPR accountable based on constitutional standards.
The consequence is that the constitutional review system is controlled by and part of the political group that controls the legislative and executive organs of the government.
If courts are convinced that resolving a constitutional issue is necessary to resolve a non-constitutional case before them, they have no choice but to refer the constitutional issue to the Council. Courts have discretion only in determining whether 1 there is a constitutional issue and 2 whether resolving such issue is necessary to resolve the dispute before them. Even in cases where a court decides that there is no constitutional issue, the parties are allowed to refer the case to the Council within 90 days after the court has rendered the decision.
Not every mundane and peripheral constitutional issue has to be resolved by the Council and the HoF. The power to decide whether or not there is a constitutional issue serves a filtering purpose to ensure that only unavoidable constitutional issues reach the Council.
For analysis of the intention of the drafters see The constitutional review system in Ethiopia cannot be expected to rule against the policy choices and interests of the ruling political group.
As a result, constitutional review does not also provide an effective horizontal accountability mechanism. The constitutional review system in Ethiopia is a novel failure — but still a failure. Theoretically, it is possible to imagine a scenario where different political groupings dominate the HPR and the HoF, such as if the opposition wins the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, and the Oromia or the Amhara legislative councils.
Also if the regional councils organize elections to select the representatives to the HoF, it is theoretically possible that people might vote representatives of different parties to the HoF and the HPR. In such cases, the two Houses might be dominated by two different political groupings. This is practically very unlikely to happen, as people will likely vote for the same parties both to the state councils and the HPR. Nevertheless, even if it happens, the HoF will merely provide forum to represent the interests of the party that dominates it, rather than the principles entrenched in the Constitution.
In fact, the dominance of the two Houses by different political parties will lead to paralyzing and unnecessary political deadlock. On the other hand, if the HoF is dominated by a political group different from the one that dominates the HPR, constitutional review will serve as a tool to frustrate and blindly reject the decisions of the party controlling the HPR.
Both Houses are designed to give effect to the policy preferences and interests of the political party that dominates them. Although the Council of Constitutional Inquiry can be expected to fill the independence gap in the constitutional review system, it merely has recommendatory powers. Moreover, there is nothing in the Constitution which requires that the members of the Council should be independent. In fact, so far the members of the Council have also been active members of the legislative organs or the ruling political party.
Currently, for instance, the legal advisor to the Prime Minster and another active member of the HPR are also members of the Council. As such, the views of the Council should reflect the views of the group that dominates the legislative and executive organs.
The Council does not, therefore, alleviate the deficiency in independence that haunts the Ethiopian constitutional review system. The constitutional review system in Ethiopia is designed to be part of and work in harmony with whichever political group is governing.
Claw-back clauses Constitutional rights provide the principal limits on government power. Constitutional rights impose limitations on the exercise of legislative, executive, judicial and other forms of state power vertical applicability of rights.
Unfortunately, the human rights provisions are formulated in such a way as to enable the political organs to limits the rights simply by enacting a law. The Ethiopian Constitution does not contain a general limitation clause that regulates the limitation of human rights enshrined therein. There is no requirement in the Constitution which subjects laws that limit rights to internationally accepted standards for limiting rights.
In a case that dealt with limitations on the right to bail, for instance, the Council did not assess whether the complete preclusion of the right to bail in relation to all corruption offences was necessary and reasonable under the Constitution. Similarly, in a case that dealt with the constitutionality of judicial ouster clauses,45 the Council ruled that the power of courts to review decisions of administrative agencies depends on whether there is a law that allows or precludes judicial review.
It essentially ruled that whether or not a matter is justiciable before courts in terms of article 37 42 In some states, constitutional rights are made applicable even to private individuals and actors. This is referred to as the horizontal application of human rights. See for instance article 8 of the South African Constitution. The Council has, therefore, applied the claw-back clauses literally to enable the political organs to limit constitutional rights by simply enacting a law or regulation to that effect.
As a result, the constitutional limits on the law-making powers of the parliament have been undermined. The implication of the literal application of the claw-back clauses is that the parliament, not the Constitution, is supreme.
Federalism Perhaps the only horizontal accountability mechanism within the Ethiopian Constitution is provided by the federal structure of the state. Federalism ensures the division of powers vertically between the federal and regional governments.
The Ethiopian Constitution establishes a federal state on ethnic lines. The competition for power between the federal and the regional states should ideally provide an important tool to check and balance the activities of the governments at both levels.
It cannot, for instance, be expected to ensure effective compliance with constitutional human rights guarantees by those exercising political power.
It is only when any one of the governments has an interest that it will want to control the other level of government. In relation to matters that do not directly affect their interests, the different levels of government will likely avoid confronting each other.
Moreover, in practice, due to the absolute domination of both levels of government, since the Constitution was adopted, by a single political party, the EPRDF, the federal structure has not been able to provide the necessary check on government power. The National Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman Perhaps two other potentially relevant entities in terms of ensuring compliance with constitutional requirements are the Ethiopian National Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman.
With a view 46 For a discussion of the reciprocal relationship between the federal and regional governments and how federalism can serve as a check and balance see, R Wagner Parchment, guns, and constitutional order It also has the power to give consultancy service on matters of human rights.
The Commission is authorised to forward its opinion on human rights reports to be submitted to international organs and to translate into local vernaculars international human rights instruments adopted by Ethiopia and disseminate such instruments.
Clearly, the Commission has extensive powers to significantly contribute toward the realisation of rights.
However, in practice the Commission is involved in mundane day to day individual activities rather than controversial legal, constitutional and policy issues.
Note that this provision only refers to the rights of citizens. It is not clear whether the Commission has jurisdiction to entertain allegations of violations of the rights of non-citizens. When it comes to composition and guarantees of independence and pluralism, it does not seem so.
The Establishment Proclamation does not create procedures whereby CSOs and other actors may be actively involved in the nomination of the Chief Commissioner or any other member of the Commission. It is only members of legislative bodies, the President of the Federal Supreme Court and religious representatives that are represented in the nomination committee that recruits potential appointees for final approval by the HPR. There is no place for participation of university experts or other professional as required by the Paris Principles.
In practice, as well, the Commission has yet to firmly establish its role as an independent and credible human rights institution. So far, it has generally avoided engaging in politically sensitive cases at the highest level. The silence reflected in routinely avoiding engagement in politically controversial legal and policy issues can be seen as complacency on the part of the Commission.
Some of its activities in fact pose doubts about its independence and may imply that it is being used as political camouflage to legitimise and justify unacceptable government behaviour and deflect criticisms of international and domestic human rights groups. Just like the Commission, the Ombudsman has yet to challenge any sensitive government decision or policy. Both the Commission and the Ombudsman are invisible if the issue affects the interests of the ruling party.
The Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman are potentially crucial for the realisation of constitutional rights as they provide forum to challenge human rights violations committed particularly 55 Most of its work has focused on receiving and investigating complaints mainly asserting violations of labour laws in Addis Ababa.
The Commission is currently expanding its geographical presence by establishing branch offices in Mekelle, Bahir Dar, Gambella, Jimma, Hawassa and Jigiga.
The full letter of the Commission to Human Rights Watch is available at http: Resort to these two organs can also reduce the burden on courts. By recommending the repeal or amendment of laws that potentially contradict constitutional rights in line with their legal reform mandate, the Commission and the Ombudsman can complement the unsatisfactory constitutional adjudication process in challenging the constitutionality of laws.
The Commission and the Ombudsman should also encourage the government to adopt laws to give effect to constitutionally enshrined rights thereby facilitating their judicial enforcement. They have, however, yet to decisively prove their independence and actively engage politically sensitive human rights issue.
Constitutions of Ethiopia
Conclusion Constitutions are designed to establish the rules of a fair political game and entrench constitutional ordinances in the form of fundamental restrictions and obligations on those exercising government powers.
With a view to curve the abusive temptations of power, constitutions generally divide government power and establish permanent institutional overlaps that serve as safeguards against measures that might undermine constitutional restraints. In addition to vertical control mechanism provided by elections, the most common way through which constitutions do this is by establishing checks and balances, veto points to slow down, or prevent if necessary, the adoption of or invalidate measures that contradict constitutional restraints.
The legislature should be empowered to control the executive and vice-versa. The judiciary should be empowered to control all the political organs based on constitutional templates. A constitution that does not at least have one veto point cannot make credible claims to supremacy. This is of course in addition to the potential influence of democratic elections.
Despite all the challenges and skepticism on the accountability functions of elections, elections constitute a major institutional mechanism to constrain government power. It should be noted that vertical and horizontal accountability mechanism are complementary and even interdependent.
The strength of one enhances the effectiveness of the other.
In particular, the effectiveness of horizontal accountability mechanism depends to a large extent on vertical and social accountability mechanism and the existence of capable and well-organized opposition political parties. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian constitutional review system itself is designed to be part of and work in harmony with the principal political organs.
The Constitution does not establish any forum beyond the control of the wining political group where individuals and groups outside government can challenge the state. Despite the fact that the Constitution appears to have divided powers between the three arms of government, it has not established checks and balances.
Since there are no institutional structures that can ensure that the constitutional rules of the game actually limit the exercise of power, the declaration of supremacy by the Ethiopian Constitution is an empty promise. As a result, the political group that is in power, not the Constitution, is supreme. In the absence of institutional veto points or players, politicians could easily violate or manipulate constitutional limits. In the absence of any institutional blockade against the adoption of measures that contravene the Constitution, compliance with constitutional limits on government power entirely depends on the generous will of the governing political group.
Given the absence of institutional veto points to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution, the Ethiopian Constitution is a constitution without a guardian.
The issue of which form of government Ethiopia ought to adopt should be addressed in a separate article. This article merely observes that parliamentary forms of government entail the fusion of the legislature and executive and, therefore, breed the lack of checks and balances between the two government departments.
On the other hand, the principle of checks and balances focuses on the desirability of ensuring that the constitutional order, as a totality, prevents the branches of government from usurping power from one another.
In this sense it anticipates the necessary or unavoidable intrusion of one branch on the terrain of another. No constitutional scheme can reflect a complete separation of powers: An absolutely dominant political group in charge of adopting a constitutional does not have the necessary incentive to establish procedures and institutions to constrain the exercise of political power. Without an incentive, it is counter-intuitive to expect politicians to willfully establish institutions that will constrain their power.
The Constitution matters. Its relevance is reflected in the fact that the government almost always attempts to justify its decisions under the Constitution and actively repulses allegations of violations of the Constitution. The Constitution also provides the critical standards for opposition groups, CSOs, the media, academics, individuals and even international actors based on which to evaluate the actions and inactions of the government.
These control or evaluation mechanisms are, however, soft and toothless. They are not sufficient to claim that the Constitution is as supreme as it declares itself to be. The declaration of supremacy has not been accompanied by the institutional structures that can ensure its supremacy in reality.
It must, however, be noted that the mere fact that a constitution establishes strong horizontal accountability mechanisms does not necessarily guarantee that the constitution will be supreme in everyday practice.
A perfectly designed constitution may fail to constrain government power for different reasons. Checks and balances are an imperfect solution and can only do so much. Even when power is divided, one of the organs may overwhelm the others. In many cases, the different organs find it in their best interest to cooperate than control each other. However imperfect, a constitution that embodies checks and balances is certainly better in enhancing the possibility of compliance with constitutional limitations on political 65 Long observes in the U.
Is a government part of a free country?
See also R Barnett The structure of liberty: Justice and the rule of law Constitutional design deficit therefore partly accounts to the dismal constitutional performance since the establishment of a multi-party democracy in Ethiopia. But constitutional design is certainly not the only, even the main, factor.
The success of the constitutional project ultimately hinges on politics and political culture than on subtle and innovative constitutional designing.
Ethiopian Constitution English Version PDF
Related Papers. By Wekgari Dulume. By Adem Abebe. By zelalem Eshetu. Tackling the Imperial Premiership and Abuse of Incumbency: Ideas for Constitutional Reform in Ethiopia. By Gedion Hessebon. By Adane Getu. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer.
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The Constitution of Ethiopia editing text on a pdf in acrobat was the first modern constitution for Ethiopia. In the preface to his translation of this constitution into English, William Stern. Criminal codeEnglish.
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Reflecting this structure the Ethiopian state shall be known as The Federal Democratic. Aug 21, The following English Translation of the Ethiopian Draft Constitution edit pdf with office is an unofficial draft. This Constitution establishes a federal and democratic state structure. The Constitution of Ethiopia, which is ebook mathematics the discrete laplace z transform pdf the supreme law of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, was adopted by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia.
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Schorel-hlavka o. Jump to Page. Search inside document. Ayele Angelo Ago. Karthikeyan Varun. Waqgari Regassa. Liliana Clim. Pravind Suppiah.First, the source itself doubts completeness of the data which is presented in the table. No member of the Council of the Federation may be arrested or prosecuted without permission of the Council except when caught in flagrante delicato for a serious offence.
This Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Freedom of the press and mass media as well as freedom of artistic creation is guaranteed. Resort to these two organs can also reduce the burden on courts.
Although vertical accountability mechanisms — elections — are important, they are not sufficient to ensure that constitutional limits on government power actually shape political behavior for several reasons. The first component is the right to establish government institutions with the three branches: