Monday, May 20, 2024
NewsHigh-flown policy doc sets start date for transitional justice, calls for new...

High-flown policy doc sets start date for transitional justice, calls for new courts

The transitional justice policy ratified by the Council of Ministers this week will apply retroactively as far back as 1995, when the Ethiopian constitution was ratified.

However, the investigation and prosecution of human rights violations will go as far back in time as evidence allows, according to the policy document obtained by The Reporter.

The policy contains grand provisions such as the establishment of a special court system and a special attorney general’s office as well as a number of other institutions for the implementation of the transitional justice campaign.

It provides the legal basis for the extradition and trial of individuals living abroad accused of crimes and human rights violations in Ethiopia. Whistleblowers and people who provide tips as to the whereabouts of these individuals will receive a reward, according to the policy. People who testify against alleged perpetrators will be afforded government protection, it states. 

The investigation, trial, and compensation processes under the transitional justice campaign will require vast amounts of financial, human, and institutional resources.

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A special office of attorney general will be established to lead the implementation of the transitional justice policy and oversee investigators and prosecutors, who will be carefully selected based on merit and qualify for government protection, according to the document.

It provides that a special court system will be established for human rights cases if the House of Federation ascertains whether the establishment of such a court presents a constitutional contradiction. 

It reads that only judges with no history of connections to human rights violations will be selected for the tribunal, while qualifying judges must have expertise in international, human rights, and criminal law. The special court system will also include first instance and appeal courts.

The policy also includes the establishment of a Truth Finding Commission, which will have the power to pardon convicted wrongdoers and allocate compensation to victims. The Commission will comprise civil society organizations (CSOs), elders, religious leaders, experts, and others, according to the policy document.

The federal government is also slated to make an official appeal for forgiveness from victims, according to the document, and a special fund will be established to support recovery. It pledges that any institutions, policies, or legislation that enabled human rights violations will be reformed, with regional states mandated to establish institutions to implement the reforms.

Regional administrations are also responsible, among other things, for returning IDPs to their homes, according to the document. Traditional and local conflict resolution mechanisms will also be part of the transitional justice process.

The Ministry of Finance is expected to provide the undetermined budgetary resources for the implementation, while the Civil Service Commission is charged with introducing a salary scale for implementers and facilitating the necessary manpower.

The Federal Supreme Court will work with the special court to be established and the Central Statistics Service (CSS) is tasked with compiling data.

The Justice Ministry is tasked with drawing a roadmap for the implementation of the transitional justice policy.

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