TITLE II THE CRIME AND ITS COMMISSION
CHAPTER I THE CRIME
Article 23- Crimes.
(1) A crime is an act which is prohibited and made punishable by law.
In this Code, an act consists of the commission of what is prohibited or the omission of what is prescribed by law.
(2) A crime is only completed when all its legal, material and moral ingredients are present.
(3) Notwithstanding the provision of sub-article (2) of this Article, a juridical person shall be criminally liable to punishment under the conditions laid down in Article 34 of this Code.
(4) A crime is punishable where the Court has found the crime proved and deserving of punishment.
Article 24 – Relationship of Cause and Effect.
(1) In all cases where the commission of a crime requires the achievement of a given result, the crime shall not be deemed to have been committed unless the result achieved is the consequence of the act or omission with which the accused person is charged.
This relationship of cause and effect shall be presumed to exist when the act within the provisions of the law would, in the normal course of things, produce the result charged.
(2) Where there are preceding, concurrent or intervening causes, whether due to the act of a third party or to a natural or fortuitous event, which are extraneous to the act of the accused, this relationship of cause and effect shall cease to exist when the extraneous cause in itself produced the result.
If, in such a case, the act with which the accused person is charged in itself constitutes a crime he shall be liable to the punishment specified for such a crime.
(3) Relationship of cause and effect shall be presumed to exist between each cause specified under sub-article (2) above and the result achieved, when the result is the cumulative effect of these causes, even though each cause cannot independently produce the result.
Article 25- Place and Time of the Crime.
(1) A crime is committed at the place where and at the time when the criminal performed or failed to perform the act penalized by criminal law.
An attempt is committed at the place where and at the time when the criminal performed or failed to perform the preliminary acts which constitute such an attempt.
(2) With regard to non-instantaneous crimes where the act and the criminal result do not coincide the crime is deemed to have been committed both at the place of the unlawful act and that of its result.
Similarly, an attempt is deemed to have been committed both at the place where the criminal attempted the crime and the place he intended the result to be produced.
For purposes of prosecution, the jurisdiction of the place where the result was achieved is subsidiary to that of the place of commission.
(3) When a combination or repetition of criminal acts is an element of an ordinary or aggravated crime as provided under Article 61, or when the act is pursued over a period of time, the place where and the time when the crime is committed shall be the place where and the time when one of the combined or repeated acts or part of the acts pursued is committed.
CHAPTER II DEGREES IN THE COMMISSION OF THE CRIME
ARTICLE 26- Preparatory acts.
Acts which are committed to prepare or make possible a crime, particularly by procuring the means or creating the conditions for its commission are not usually punishable; however, such acts are punishable where:
(a) In themselves they constitute a crime defined by law; or
(b) They expressly constitute a special crime by law owing to their gravity or the general danger they entail.
Article 27- Attempt.
(1) Whoever intentionally begins to commit a crime and does not pursue or is unable to pursue his criminal activity to its end, or who pursues his criminal activity to its end without achieving the result necessary for the completion of the crime shall be guilty of an attempt.
The crime is deemed to be begun when the act performed clearly aims, by way of direct consequence, at its commission.
(2) An attempted crime is always punishable save as is otherwise provided by law.
A mere attempt to instigate or assist in a crime does not come within the provisions of the law unless it is expressly provided to the contrary.
(3) Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 117, in the case of an attempted crime the criminal is liable to the punishment attaching to the crime he intended to commit:
Provided that if circumstances so justify the Court may reduce the punishment within the limits provided by law (Art. 179).
Article 28- Renunciation and Active Repentance.
(1) If a criminal of his own free will renounces the pursuit of his criminal activity the Court shall reduce the punishment within the limits provided by law (Art. 179) or without restriction (Art. 180) if circumstances so justify. No punishment shall be imposed if the renunciation was prompted by reasons of honesty or high motives.
(2) If a criminal, having completed his criminal activity, of his own free will prevents, or contributes to prevent the consequent result, the Court shall without restriction reduce the punishment (Art. 180).
(3) This Article shall also apply to an instigator or an accomplice (Arts. 36 and 37) who of his own free will renounced the pursuit of his criminal activity or has done everything incumbent upon him to prevent the commission of the crime.
Article 29- Crime Impossible of Completion.
When a criminal has attempted to commit a crime by means or against an object of such nature that the commission of the crime was absolutely impossible, the Court shall, without restriction, reduce the punishment (Art. 180).
No punishment shall be imposed when the criminal, from superstition or owing to the simplicity of his mind acted by using means or processes which could in no case have a harmful effect.
The above provisions of this Article shall similarly apply to an instigator or an accomplice.
Article 30- Special Case of Attempt.
When the acts done in an attempt to commit a crime in themselves constitute a separate crime the punishment attaching thereto shall be applied.
Article 31- Discretionary Power of the Court.
In determining the punishment to be imposed or, where appropriate, in reducing it within the limits allowed by law, or, in special cases, in imposing no punishment where an attempt was abandoned or failed, the Court shall take into account all relevant circumstances. It shall in particular, take into consideration the stage reached in the carrying out of the attempt and the danger it represented, the reasons for which it failed, the motives which prompted the renunciation or the active repentance of the criminal, as well as his antecedents and the danger he represents to society.
CHAPTER III PARTICIPATION IN THE COMMISSION OF A CRIME
Article 32- Principal Criminal.
(1) Any person shall be regarded as having committed a crime as a principal criminal and punished as such if:
(a) he actually commits the crime either directly or indirectly, in particular by means of an animal or a natural force; or
(b) he without performing the criminal act itself fully associates himself with the commission of the crime and the intended result; or
(c) He employs an infant or a person who is mentally deficient or unaware of the circumstances, for the commission of a crime or compels another person to commit a crime.
(2) Where the crime committed goes beyond the intention of the criminal he shall be tried in accordance with Article 58(3).
(3) Where two or more persons are involved as principal criminals in the commission of a crime, each shall be liable to the punishment attaching thereto.
The Court shall take into account the provisions governing the effect of personal circumstances (Art. 41) and those governing the award of punishment according to the degree of individual guilt (Art. 88).
Article 33- Participation in Cases of Special Crimes.
An accused person may be prosecuted as a principal criminal when, by his acts, he fully participated with knowledge and intent in the commission of a crime which can be committed only by certain specified persons, in particular by a member of the Defence Forces in the case of military crimes, or by a public servant in respect of crimes against public office, or only by a male person in the case of rape.
Article 34- Participation of a Juridical Person in a Crime.
(1) A juridical person other than the administrative bodies of the State in punishable as a principal criminal, an instigator or an accomplice where it is expressly provided by law.
A juridical person shall be deemed to have committed a crime and punished as such where one of its officials or employees commits a crime as a principal criminal, an instigator or an accomplice in connection with the activity of the juridical person with the intent of promoting its interest by an unlawful means or by violating its legal duty or by unduly using the juridical person as a means.
(2) The juridical person is punishable with fine under sub-article (3) or sub-article (4) of Article 90 of this Code; and, where necessary, an additional penalty may be imposed to suspend, close or wind up the juridical person.
(3) The punishment of the juridical person shall not exclude the penalty to be imposed on its officials or employees for their personal criminal guilt.
(4) For the purpose of this Article “Juridical person” means a body which has governmental or non-governmental, public or private structure and includes any legally recognized institution or association set up for commercial, industrial, political, religious or any other purpose.
Article 35- Collective Crimes.
Where two or more persons commit a crime in concert, the person who is proved to have taken no part in the commission of the crime shall not be punished.
However, where a crime such as conspiracy or brawl is committed by a group of persons, the person whose presence in the group is proved shall be exempt from punishment only if he proves that he has taken no part in the commission of the crime.
Article 36- Incitement.
(1) Whoever intentionally induces another person whether by persuasion, promises, money, gifts, and threats or otherwise to commit a crime shall be regarded as guilty of having incited the commission of the crime.
(2) The person who incited the commission of a crime shall be liable to punishment provided the crime was at least attempted.
(3) The punishment to be imposed shall be that provided by law for the intended crime. It may be reduced within the limits specified by law if the circumstances of the case justify such a reduction (Art. 179).
(4) When the person who committed the crime went beyond what was intended by the instigator, the latter shall be liable to punishment only for the crime he intended or could foresee (Art. 58(3)).
The actual criminal shall alone be answerable for the more serious crime which he committed.
Article 37- Accomplice.
(1) An accomplice is a person who intentionally assists a principal criminal either before or during the carrying out of the criminal design, whether by information, advice, supply of means or material aid or assistance of any kind whatsoever in the commission of a crime.
(2) An accomplice in an intentional crime shall always be liable to punishment.
(3) The accomplice shall be liable to punishment provided the crime was at least attempted.
(4) The punishment to be imposed shall be the punishment for the crime in so far as such crime does not go beyond the accomplice’s intention (Art. 58(3)). The Court may, taking into account the circumstances of the case, reduce the punishment in respect to an accomplice within the limits specified by law (Art. 179).
(5) When the person who committed the crime went beyond what was intended by the accomplice the latter shall be liable to punishment only for the crime he intended or could foresee (Art. 58(3).
The actual criminal shall alone be answerable for the more serious crime which he committed.
Article 38- Criminal Conspiracy.
(1) Where two or more persons enter into an agreement to commit a crime the provisions regarding participation and aggravation of punishment due to the above-mentioned circumstances are applicable (Art. 84 (1)(d)).
(2) The foregoing provision shall, however, not affect the provisions contained in the Special Part of this Code relating to conspiracies against the essential interests of the State and its defence, the forming of unlawful associations and the participation therein, as well as to the organization of gangs or associations of wrongdoers (Art. 257, 274 300 and 478).
Article 39- Failure to Report.
(1) Failure to report the preparation, attempt or commission of a crime or of the person who committed the crime, shall not be liable to punishment as an act of an accessory after the fact or an accomplice except in the cases expressly provided by law (Art. 254 and 335).
(2) The provisions regarding the failure to report to the authorities in the cases specified under Article 443 shall apply.
(3) The above-mentioned obligations are to be construed in a restricted manner.
Article 40- Accessory After the Fact.
Whoever after a crime has been committed assists a criminal either by hiding him or helping him to escape prosecution or punishment or by receiving the proceeds of his crime, shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the Special Part of this Code dealing with such acts (Arts. 445, 460 and 682)
Article 41- Non-transmissibility of Personal Circumstances.
In case of participation whether as principal or secondary participant in a crime, each of the participants shall be punished for his own act, according to the extent of his participation, his degree of guilt and the danger which his act and his person represent to society.
Special circumstances or personal incidents or relationships which have the effect of excluding punishment or justify its reduction or increase are not transmissible to another person. They operate to the benefit or the detriment solely of the person to whom they attach.
CHAPTER IV PARTICIPATION IN CRIMES RELATING TO THE MASS MEDIA
Article 42- Principle.
(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Articles 32-41, the provisions of this Chapter shall apply in the case of crimes relating to the mass media with a view to ensuring freedom of expression while preventing abuse.
(2) Crimes relating to the mass media are those which are committed by means of newspapers, books, leaflets, journals, posters, pictures, cinemas, radio or television broadcasting or any other means of mass media.
(3) The crimes may be committed against the honour of other persons, public or private safety or any other legal right protected by criminal law, and are committed where communication is made to the public through the mass media.
Article 43- Liability for Crimes Committed through the Mass Media.
(1) Criminal liability for crimes committed through periodicals shall be as follows:
(a) a person who was registered as editor in chief or deputy editor when the periodical was published shall be liable;
(b) if no license existed when the periodical was published or if the editor-in-chief liable under sub-article (1)(a) was no longer qualified or has or has otherwise ceased to function as editor-in-chief the publisher shall be liable;
(c) the publisher shall likewise be liable in cases in which the editor-in-chief was appointed merely for the sake of appearance, or was otherwise manifestly not in a position of exercising his powers at the time the periodical was published;
(d) if a deputy acting as chief editor was not longer qualified at the time the periodical was published, or it his appointment had otherwise expired, or if he is unable to exercise his powers the editor-in-chief shall be liable:
(e) where it is impossible to establish the identity of the publisher at the time of the publication of the periodical, the printer of the periodical shall be liable in lieu of the publisher;
(f) when a person disseminated a periodical which does not indicate who the printer was, or if such a statement is known to the disseminator to be incorrect, and if the identity of the printer cannot be ascertained, the disseminator is liable in lieu of the printer;
(g) in case of periodicals published abroad, the importer other than a person who imports the products for his personal use or any person who disseminates the press product shall be liable;
(2) Criminal liability for crimes committed through non-periodical printed matters shall be as follows:
(a) When crime is committed by means of printers matter other than a periodical the author if liable, provided that he has been named as the author of the matter. The author shall not be liable if the matter was published without his consent or if his name, pen-name, or pseudonym appeared therein against his wishes;
The question who the author is may be raised in legal proceedings concerning crimes committed through publications other than periodicals.
(b) if the author under sub-article (2)(a) of this Article is not liable for matter which includes or is intended to include contributions by several authors, and if a responsible editor had been nominated in a manner prescribed by law, the responsible editor shall be liable;
(c) in the case of printed matter other than printed matter under sub-article (2)(b) of this Article, the responsible editor shall be liable only if the author was dead at the time of publication. However, the responsible editor is not liable if his name, pseudonym, or pen-name appeared against his consent;
(d) the responsible editor of printed matter other than a periodical is taken to be the person who, without knowing the author, delivers it for printing and publication;
(e) if neither the author nor the responsible editor under sub-article (2)(a), (b) and (c) of this Article is liable, or if he was dead when the matter was published, the publisher is liable;
the publisher of printed matter other than a periodical is taken to be the person who has undertaken to print and publish the writings of another;
(f) if there is no publisher, or the identity of the publisher cannot be ascertained, the printer of the material is liable in lieu of the publisher;
(g) the provision of sub-article (2) (f) of this Article shall apply also in corresponding manner to the liability of a disseminator of printed matter other than a periodical.
(3) Liability for crimes committed through broadcasting media shall rest with the person in charge of the programme; failing him, the licensee shall be liable.
(4) If the person who would have been liable under Article 43(1), (2) or (3) at the time of publication has no known place of abode in Ethiopia, and if his present whereabouts cannot be ascertained in the prosecution of the case, liability shall pass to the person next liable after him.
(5) In determining the liability of a person under this Article for the crime committed through the product of mass media, the content of the matter shall be deemed to have been inserted, published or disseminated with his full knowledge and consent.
No proof to the contrary may be admitted in such a case.
Article 44- Special Criminal Liability of the Author, Originator, or Publisher.
(1) Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 43, any person who, by contributing as author, originator or publisher, to the product published or diffused through mass media, participates in the commission of crimes: armed rising or civil war (Art 240), treason (Art. 248-250), espionage (Art. 252) attempted incitement and assistance (Art. 255), provocation and preparation (Art. 257), crimes against humanity (Art. 269-274), incitement to disregard military order (Art. 332), disclosure of military secrets (Art. 336), breaches of military and official secrecy (Art. 396 and 397), inciting the public through false rumours (Art 486(b)), or the deliberate disregard for an obligation to maintain secrecy specified by law, shall be criminally liable.
(2) In such a case the provisions of this Code concerning participation shall apply to persons who committed the crime as a principal criminal, an instigator or an accomplice.
Article 45- Secrecy of the Identity of a Source.
(1) The editor or publisher of any publication, which is not periodical, may not be compelled to disclose the name or pen-name of the author.
(2) The publisher or editor of any publication may not be compelled to disclose the source of any matter printed in publication.
(3) Notwithstanding the provision of sub-article (2) of this Article, the Court may order the publisher or editor of the publication to disclose the source of information:
(a) where a crime is committed against the Constitutional Order, National Defence Force or security of the State constituting clear and imminent danger, or
(b) in the case of proceedings of a serious crime, where such source does not have any alternative and is decisive for the outcome of the case.
Article 46- Exclusion of Double Liability.
The punishment of one of the parties responsible in the order fixed by law shall exclude liability to punishment of the other parties for the same act.
However, no juridical person shall escape criminal liability either alone or jointly with any criminal listed in the order fixed by law.
Article 47- Immunity.
The author, publisher or diffuser of a true record or representation, which is correct in form, of public debates or acts of a legislative, administrative or judicial authority the diffusion of which is not expressly prohibited by law or by a specific decision shall not be liable to punishment.