Monday , June 14 2021

PO: ED: Establishing trust in the judiciary: Why should Meaza Ashenafi enter the judicial review process?



Dr. Adem Kassie Abebe for Addis Standard

Addis Abeba, 07.07.2018 – The wave of reforms that drew Ethiopia and the world reached the shores of the judicial sector with the appointment of Meaza Ashenafi as the first female president of the Supreme Court and the real-time character that inspired the award. the film "Difret", in which a young lawyer confronts the tradition of forced abduction. While Ethiopia is at the edge of a new era of democratic period, the importance of an independent judicial arbitrator of the democratic play is not exaggerated. In an interview shortly after the official appointment, he said his top priority would be "restoring public confidence" in the judiciary. Ethiopian courts have never really enjoyed public trust which should never be blamed, and therefore they will create and feed a new self-confidence in the judiciary. This is an extraordinary challenge, which proposes a possible measure to help Meaza make progress. However, before I come to the main focus of this contribution – I would like to share my thoughts on broader reforms, in order to emphasize the importance of reviewing the judgments, the goodwill that has so far been the source of most of the celebrated. Acts with institutional security in Ethiopian politics.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pioneered and inspired an unprecedented process of renewal and democratic opening in the history of Ethiopia. Not everyone is happy and most are cautiously optimistic; and security revolutions, and the relative collapse of law and order, are often inevitable under the conditions of the revolution; Understandability can be understood in a country where friction is familiar with the short-term relief and joy undertaken by the exhausting periods of tiring periods. Caution is not necessarily bad or destructive. Some dissatisfaction is a necessary oil that will continue to burn and ignite the reform engine. Prime Minister Abiy and his core team should continuously struggle to relieve and improve policy agendas and approaches. Encouraging signals for a democratic dissatisfaction will lead to dissatisfaction, and the competition of ideas in an organized and rigorous but peaceful manner.

Corporate goodwill

Until now, reforms have taken the form of the appointment of new faces in critical positions. The wave of new women's appointments was particularly captivated by the Ethiopian people and the continent and international observers of Ethiopian politics. Ethiopia has a balanced cabinet with 50% of women, including women's ministries in the defense and security sector. We also saw new and young faces. This pivot, which aims to involve women and youth in leadership positions, will have structural implications in the evolution of society. However, all these positions remain political appointments based on the assumptions of political loyalty.

A better test of the good faith of the new administration should instead be measured by appointments to institutions that require independence from political processes. And in this context, appointments assigned to the president and to the President of the Supreme Court are remarkable beginnings. In addition to maintaining the position of bringing qualified women to their positions of prominence, these two appointments are separate because they involve individuals who are not perceptually politically dependent. The Presidency should remain above politics if it is relevant and unifying. And the appointment of Shahle-Work Zewde, a prominent diplomat as the country's president, means testing the position. Similarly, the appointment of Meaza Ashenafi, the leading advocate and founder of the Ethiopian Women's Lawyers Association, as the President of the Supreme Court is the first time a truly independent figure has occupied the post. The reform train also brought it closer to home than I expected. A good friend and a competent scientist. Gedion Timothewos was appointed to the Attorney General as one of three MPs. Like the two above, it is one of the new cohorts of politically independent appointments. I believe that the prosecutor's prosecutor functions should be separated and approved as an independent institution, for now, the appointment of a young expert to the office is a welcome start.

A better and more sustainable test of the reform commitment to democratic dissatisfaction is the adoption of institutional reforms. All the good names climbing the power ladders have been the result of individual goodwill. Political goodwill is unstable if necessary. Institutions and procedures should be established on the assumption that people who occupy them are not necessarily angels and are always mistaken. Therefore, more often, we should work to establish procedures that will lead to the appointment of qualified candidates with the required candidates. It is presidential, judiciary, election board, human rights commission, ombudsman, etc. Particularly indispensable for independent institutions, including. The recently appointed Legal and Justice Reform Advisory Council is working on some of these issues and I am hopeful. Over time, individual good faith will be complemented by procedural and institutional guarantees.

Establishment of trust in the judiciary: opening a case for judicial review

While many of them express their concern that Meaza is lacking in the necessary experience of judgment, this will probably work for the benefit of the judiciary. As a stranger, it will not be obstructed by untested assumptions and sticky work habits that damage any numbness, such as the Ethiopian judiciary. The challenges awaiting him were tremendous. He will lose hope of a nation and preside over a repetitive judgment; A judgment that causes more tears than it is dried. It is quite simple that it is a complex judgment, even if it is not an active and willing participant in the excesses of the last decades. Even when independence from political institutions is not a problem, the judiciary is often accused of corruption, extreme incompetence and lack of professionalism. Courts are often seen as more senior executives than the executive itself. I am hopeful that Meaza will have integrity, integrity, power and vision through the occasion. But to achieve this, he would have to face the problem. One possible idea is judicial control.

Judicial review mainly involves a process that requires the judges to undergo qualification and integrity testing to prove the correct position of their standing position. At the heart of the idea of ​​judicial review is the fearless freedom to protect freedom and the failure of an ordinary person to invade an ideology to support ideals based on the constitutional, continental and international commitments of Ethiopia. A unique aspect of the maturity process is the opportunity for the general public to express their views and experiences on individual judges.

Since judicial independence requires judges to be protected from unnecessary influences and threats, it is controversial to implement the trial discipline through normal procedures. However, skipping the existing legal protections would continue a dangerous precedent and send a false sign that the new rulers were trying to pass into the hands of their slaves instead of the ın old ”guards. However, judicial independence should be balanced with judicial accountability. In this way, the independence of the audit process is justified when justice and integrity are guaranteed. In order to ensure such independence and integrity, appropriate procedures should be established in consultation with judicial officials, including where necessary by constitutional amendments to preserve the legality of the procedure. The reputation and position of individual judges are likely to develop in the long-term institutional interest of the judiciary as the decision-making process progresses. Kenya entered a similar decision-making process after the adoption of a new constitution in 2010. Along with other measures to strengthen access to justice, the process has achieved significant success with the approval of the judiciary by the public. However, maintaining the credibility of the judiciary requires more than just one-off. Along with communication strategies for the continuous participation of the public and other critical actors, it should be accompanied by deliberate and uninterrupted efforts to increase accessibility, speed and quality of the provision of justice.

The new chairman of the Court of Cassation has a historic opportunity to advance a procedure to build and strengthen the judiciary's cleanliness and relative credibility. Popular support is the most precise way of sustainable judicial independence. Of course, there is the danger that the visa process can be caught by new power owners. Therefore, the independence of the process is critical. A strategy in Kenya was that three out of nine members of the whining body were foreigners. Ethiopia must not necessarily copy the Kenyan process, but it may attract the success and failures of Kenyan and other comparable experiences in the processing of a process that is independent in perception and reality. Importantly, most Ethiopian judges serve at the state level, and Meaza will have limited power to take down the visa process. The problems at the federal level are worse and possibly worse than at the state level. However, any review at the federal level will inspire similar processes at the state level.


Editor's Note: Adem Kassie Abebe works for the Constitutional Building Program of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). [email protected] / [email protected] The opinions expressed in this part do not necessarily represent the official position of the IDEA.



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