n African Human Rights Law Journal - The justiciability of human rights in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



Making human rights domestically justiciable by clearly defining their content and subjecting them to judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of enforcement is important for their effective protection. Although a legal framework for the justiciability of human rights exists in Ethiopia, the judicial practice reveals some problems. Lawyers and courts tend to avoid invoking and applying human rights provisions in the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and ratified international human rights treaties which form part of the law of the land. There is confusion regarding the mandate of the House of Federation to 'interpret' the Constitution. Procedurally, the basic laws of the country limit 'standing' in human rights litigation to those with a vested interest, failing to make public interest litigation possible and hence limiting the justiciability of rights. The article examines the justiciability of human rights in Ethiopia from a substantive, jurisdictional and procedural perspective. It juxtaposes law and practice in an attempt to show the extent to which rights are justiciable in the Ethiopian legal system.

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