n African Human Rights Law Journal - Towards more liberal standing rules to enforce constitutional rights in Ethiopia

Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article analyses the legal regime governing standing to enforce constitutional rights in Ethiopia. It reiterates the direct link between standing rules and the right of access to justice. It observes that, although the laws of several states still require a personal interest in the action one wants to litigate, there is a developing trend towards the liberalisation of standing rules, particularly regarding human rights issues. It considers the activism of the Indian judiciary and the innovative changes introduced by the South African Constitution, recognising public interest litigation. With regard to Ethiopia, the article considers the rules governing standing in ordinary courts, the House of Federation and the Council of Constitutional Inquiry, the Human Rights Commission and the institution of the Ombudsman. It concludes that the current standing law regime is too restrictive as it requires the actual violation of personal rights and interests in a particular claim. The issue of standing is still governed by archaic rules which do not take into account the interest at stake and the individual circumstances of the victims. It recommends the liberalisation of standing rules to ensure that the constitutional guarantees can be enforced via, amongst others, public interest litigants.

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