Constitution and Human rights






WHEREAS, it has been provided for in Article 71(7) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia grants pardon in accordance with law;


     WHEREAS, it has become necessary to prescribe by law the procedure of granting pardon by making compatible the provisions of criminal law and other laws with regard to pardon with the Constitution

     NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 71(7) and Article 55(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:

                           SECTION ONE


1.   Short Title

   This Proclamation may be cited as the “Procedure of Pardon Proclamation No. 395/ 2004. ”

  1. 2.   Definition

In this Proclamation:

1/   “House” means the House of Peoples’ Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;

2/   “Person” means a natural person or a body having legal personality;

3/   “Judgment” means a final court decision of principal penalty, secondary penalty, or a decision of preventive measures passed on a criminal case;

4/   “Petition for pardon” means an application submitted that a sentence be remitted in whole or in part, or that a penalty reduced to a lesser nature or gravity;

5/   “Court” means a Federal Court established by law and includes the regional courts that deal with federal matters pursuant to Article 78 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and regional court which passed death sentence on criminal case falling under its jurisdiction;

6/   “President” means the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;

7/   “Petitioner” means a person concerned with the sentence on which a petition for pardon has been lodged, and shall, in case of a crime involving co-offender or accomplice, include such persons.

                PART TWO

                PARDON EXECUTING


3.       Establishment of a Board

1/   There is hereby established a Board of Pardon (hereinafter referred to as “the Board”) that shall examine cases of pardon and submit recommendations thereon to the President.

2/   The Board shall be accountable to the President.

 4.       Powers and Duties of the Board

The Board shall have the following powers and duties:

1/   to submit to the President recommendations that the penalty be remitted conditionally or unconditionally, in whole or in part, or that the penalty be of a lesser nature or gravity, or that the penalty be confirmed when it is found unpardonable after examining applications for pardon made pursuant to relevant law;

2/   to request, when necessary, the appropriate public prosecutor and any other authority or an individual to appear in person or present their opinions in writing;

3/   to examine cases and submit recommendations of revocation to the President when persons granted conditional pardon by the President have allegedly failed to meet such condition or have violated it;

4/   to cause the study and implement the ways of giving quick responses to the petitions or pardon;

5/   to discharge other duties entrusted to it by law.

5.       Members of the Board

The Board shall have the following members:

1/   The Minister of Justice…………  Chairperson

2/   Senior Medical Doctor assigned by the Ministry of Health  …………….      member

3/  Senior Social Work Expert assigned by the

Ministry of Labour and Social Affair……………………………….member

4/   Representative of the Ministry of Federal

Affairs; One or two person, as may

be necessary, ……………………….member

5/ Representative of the Federal prison commission………………………member

6/ One or two person, as may be necessary; chosen by the President upon recommendation by the Board as representatives of the society  …………………………………member

6.   Powers and Duties of the Chairperson of the Board

The Chairperson of the Board shall have the following powers and duties:

1/   to preside over the meetings of the Board;

2/   to forward to concerned bodies the decisions of the President in respect of persons granted or denied pardon;

3/   to submit to the President a report on the performance of the Board every 6 months;

4/   to discharge other duties entrusted to him by the President.

7.   Meeting of the Board

1/   There shall be a quorum when two-thirds of the Board members are present.

2/   Notwithstanding the provision of Sub-Article (1) of this Article, the meeting of the Board may convene urgent petition for pardon where more than half of the members are present.

3/   The Board shall pass its decision by a majority vote.  In case of a tie, the Chairperson shall have a casting vote.  Dissenting opinion shall be included in the report.

4/   The Chairman of the Board may call an extra-ordinary meeting where necessary.

5/   The Board shall have its own rules of procedure.

8.   Office of the Board

1/   An Office of the Board of Pardon (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) is hereby established in the Ministry of justice.

2/   The Office shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

(a)  to accept petitions for pardon and collect the necessary records and documents;

(b) to keep the records and documents of the Board properly;

(c)  to keep properly the recommendations of the Board and decisions approved or rejected by the President, and prepare statistics thereof;

(d)  to prepare and present a model certificate of pardon to the Board for approval;  fill in the certificate the necessary information pertaining to persons granted pardon and submit them to the chairperson;

(e)     to record the decisions of granting or denial of pardons in the  register; keep the register properly, and, in accordance with directives of the Board, open same to the public;

(f) to carry out other activities related to matters of pardon.

 9.   Duties and Responsibilities of the Director of the Office of the Board

The Director of the Office of the Board shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

1/     to direct and supervise the Office;

2/   to pass to the Board members calls for meetings; ensure that the necessary documents for the meeting are delivered to the members;

3/   to pass directive concerning decision rendered in accordance with Article 16(4) of this proclamation to the concerned body.

4/  to serve as secretary of the Board;

5/   to carry out other duties assigned to him by the Chairperson of the Board.

10.     Powers and Duties of the President

The President may:

1/   grant or deny pardons based on the recommendations of the Board or on his own appreciation of the facts;

2/   revoke pardons based on Board recommendations regarding persons who failed to meet or violated conditions of pardons.






11.         Purpose of pardon

The main purpose of granting pardon is to ensure the welfare and interest of the public.

12.  Application for Pardon

1/   Any person who is convicted and sentenced by a court may, unless the granting of pardon is prohibited by law, apply for pardon in person or through his spouse, close relatives, representative or lawyer.

2/   Without prejudice to the provision hereinabove, the Ministry of Justice and the Federal prison commission may apply for pardon for persons entitled to it. Where the offices decides to apply for pardon, it shall deliver a copy of the application letter to the person in whose favour it is to be made.

3/   Where a person in whose favour a petition for pardon has been submitted pursuant to Sub-Article 2 of this Article declines it, he shall notify, the same to the Board in writing within fifteen consecutive working days from the date of receipt of the copy of the petition.

4/   Except in cases of force majeure, the acceptance of the pardon shall be presumed where the convict fails to notify about his rejection within the time specified in Sub-Article 3 of the Article. The person, who has failed to notify such rejection due to force majeure, shall notify within fifteen consecutive working days from the date of disappearance of the problem by also stating the force majeure that he has encountered.

5/   Where the sentence of which an application for pardon is made is unpardonable by law, the petitioner shall be notified of such legal impediment.

6/   Where the sentence of which the application for pardon is made pursuant to Sub-Article (1) or (2) of this Article involves a co-offender or accomplice, the application for pardon shall be presumed to include same.

13.  Particulars of Pardon Application

An application for pardon shall, in particular, contain the following information in respect of the petitioner:

1/   full name including grandfather’s name, age as well as mother’s full name, and address;

2/   position of responsibility, if he was a government employee,

3/   residential address of the petitioner in the five years immediately preceding the date of commission of the crime;

4/   the act with which he is convicted, the law with which is held responsible and the penalty imposed upon him, the court which sentenced him, the stage of the execution of the sentence and number of the case docket;

5/   apart from petty offences, all previous convictions, the penalty imposed and the sentence served, if any;

6/   the name of the prison, in which the petitioner serves his sentence, corrective institution or confinement;

7/   the reasons for his being eligible for pardon;

8/   the list of supporting documents, if any, attached to the application for pardon;

9/   the place where supporting documents, if any, not attached to the application for pardon are found;

10/ the full names and addresses of three persons who are not related to the petitioner by consanguinity or affinity, and organizations and associations with the reasons for their support of the pardon;

11/ whether or not he is in debt to the government;

12/ the date of previous granting or denial of pardon, if any;

13/ if the applicant is applying in another’s favour, his legal ground for lodging such application.

14.  Time for petition

Any person who wishes to apply for pardon pursuant to Article 12 of this Proclamation may do so:

1)   at any time after the sentence;

2)   six months from the date of rejection of his previous application;

3)   notwithstanding Sub-Article 2 of this Article, any time prior to the expiry of the six months under Sub-Article (2) above if the question is considered urgent and three-fourths of the members of the Board approves it;

15.   Examination of Application

The Board shall, upon the receipt of the application for pardon, examine information required under Article 13 of this Proclamation in addition to the files of the prosecution and the court as well as evidence and information furnished by any person, and any other evidence that it gets on its own for or against the application for pardon.



16.   Revocation of Pardon

1/   A decision for pardon may be revoked for sufficient reasons before it is delivered accepted and accepted by the grantee.

2/   A pardon delivered to and accepted by the grantee shall be of no effect on grounds of fraud or deceit.

3/   The decision of pardon shall be of no effect if it is known that the condition for its granting has not been met.

4/   When the decision of pardon is rendered ineffective under sections (2) or (3) of this Article, the Board shall order the return of the grantee to the place where he was before he obtained it.

17.  Procedure Required for Revocation

1/   When a cause for revocation of pardon exists, the grantee shall be furnished with a written notice of such cause in a language he understands clearly.

2/   The grantee may, within twenty days from the date of receipt of such notice, submit his reply against it.

18.   Proof the Pardon

1/   A receipt of pardon shall be proved by producing the original certificate thereof.

2/   Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-Article (1) of this Article, the grantee may prove his pardon with another authenticated evidence if he shows convincingly that he lost the original certificate due to force majeure.




19.  Inapplicable Laws

Any law which is inconsistent with this Proclamation shall not be applicable.

20.   Duty to cooperate

Any person is duty bound to co-operate for the implementation of this Proclamation.

21.   Effective Date


This Proclamation shall come into force as of the date of its publication in the Federal Negarit Gazeta.

Done at Addis Ababa, this 17th day of April, 2004.




1 reply »

  1. Please tell me the conformity between the law and the practice of the pardon proc in case of ethiopia or its critisim

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