A Workshop Holds on the Evaluation of Post-2018 Legal Reform in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa University (AAU) School of Law in collaboration with the Federal Institute of Justice and Law organized a workshop on the successes and weaknesses of various Ethiopian legal and institutional reforms focused on the steps taken over the past three years, at Hyatt Regency Hotel from 14-15th of February 2022.

Opening the workshop, Getachew Assefa (PhD), Dean of Addis Ababa University College of Law and Governance Studies, said, the main purpose of the workshop was to review the legal reforms that had been taken place over the past three years in our country.

As educational and training institutions are required to assist in legal reforms through research and training, as well as participate in the process and provide research and knowledge-based ideas, experts from AAU Law School and other colleges have made significant contributions in this regard, he added.

Dr. Getachew mentioned the reform as a major step taken by the current government which can be described as a momentous initiative after the historic codification measures deliberated in the late 1950 and 1960’s.

We Ethiopians have the right to be governed by laws of acceptable standards and professionally competent institutions. In order to realize this right, unacceptable laws have to be amended or reformed,” Dr. Getachew confirmed.

According to him, the existence of perfect laws alone without implementation remains shallow and the reform of the law cannot be separated from the importance of having professional and competent justice personnel.  The legal reform initiatives undertaken after April 2018 are meant to enhance the conditions for the realizations of the rule of law, he added.

The Minister of Justice of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Gedion Timotiwos (PhD), on his part said, a number of areas of legislative reforms have been carried out over the past three years.

“A panel of scholars, including the Judicial and Legal Advisory Council, under the auspices of the Volunteer Council, has been conducting various research and consultations with the government. In this process, various parts of the law including the Electoral Law, such as the Political Parties Law, the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Charities and Societies Establishment law have been amended with participatory steps,” Dr. Gedion said.

According to Ambassador Degife Bula, the Director General for the Federal Institute of Law and Justice, the efforts made earlier to liberate the judiciary and the professionals were not satisfactory; in order to make improved laws effectively solve the problems of the people, coordination between justice institutions at the federal and state levels is highly required.

Ambassador Degife added that despite the efforts made so far in the fight against maladministration and corruption, the leadership’s commitment is not enough in terms of eliminating the complexities that hampered the implementation of the revised laws.

“Better than ever before, the judiciary has been set free and professionals have been allowed to operate freely, but there is still a long way to go,” Ambassador Degife finally stressed.

Reporter: Tewodros Birhanu

Editor: Abraham Girmay