Executive Interference Against the Judiciary in Ethiopia: the Case of SNNPR

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


There are three levels of court structure in SNNPR, Supreme Court at the top, high courts in the middle and woreda courts at the bottom. It mainly reflects federal court structure and is constitutionally meant to exercise its judicial duty free from any interference. There are challenges in court administration of the region. The fundamental problem lies in lack of judicial independence. This problem is also identified by ECJSRP baseline study 2005. The program mainly picked out three core problems. First, political interference is deep-rooted problem in the administration of justice. Second, lack of autonomy to administer the budget aggravates the problem in the sector. Finally, appointment, selection, promotion and disciplining of judicial members are also not free from executive interference. As judiciary in SNNPR is being part and parcel of the national justice system, it faces similar problem. Hence, these problems have direct and indirect impact in the regional justice system requiring reform in the sense of having an independent judiciary, which is among essential factors for economic development, democracy and good governance Formatted: Line spacing: Multiple 1.15 li The research mainly relied on primary and secondary data. Secondary data sources include books, journals, court decisions and articles. Internet sources were also extensively used, particularly the literature for principles of judicial independence. Primary data source, i.e., legislations, Federal Supreme Court Cassation decisions and information obtained from researchers, judges and court leaders, public prosecutors, attorneys, top level government officials and parties to law suits as key informants for interview questions. Additionally, the researcher’s personal observation has alsobeen taken as valuable data for this study. Formatted: Font: 6 pt The findings on aspects of judicial independence in the region reveal that the judicial sector has encountered meager investment attention; increasing complexity of court management; challenges on the tenure security of judges and prevalence of inappropriate executive intervention including order of executive frequent and unjustified disciplinary measures taken against judges; and wide interference of law enforcing organs of the government by using finance, security issue, human power, disciplinary measures and media comments. This Thesis recommends for the setting up of independent bodies in the case of threats to judicial independence, constitutional protections for the judiciary aimed at providing the checks and balances between the powers of state, and the development by national judicial systems of self-regulating mechanisms that do not require external intervention. These conditions, which remain deep-seated to the regional justice system, call for further in-depth research and analysis.



Judiciary in Ethiopia